Montage of CPCAB logo and photographs of counselling studentsMontage of CPCAB logo and photographs of counselling studentsCPCAB, the only awarding body run by counsellors for counsellorsStudent Update

Psychiatrist to the receptionist on the hospital ward ... ‘Just say we’re very busy. Don’t keep saying ‘it’s a madhouse’ ...’

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The benefits of counselling skills training

We have created a slideshow presentation (in PowerPoint format) about counselling skills and the associated CPCAB qualification. It includes two short videos and aims to help prospective students:

  • Discover what is meant by "counselling skills", what they're used for and why their use is not the same as counselling.
  • Get a sense of what happens on a counselling skills course.
  • Find out the benefits of this training.
  • Learn more about the qualification.

Download the slideshow here and click 'save' or 'save as' when prompted.

If you don't have PowerPoint you can download a free PowerPoint viewer.

Well done Jan!

Our congratulations go to our very special Principal Verifier, Jan Mojsa, who on 1st October successfully completed the Cologne marathon. This was the fourth marathan Jan has completed within a 12-month period and it was certainly the hottest, thanks to the unseasonable fine weather! She’s planning to finish off her five-a-year version of the five-a-day most of us aim for, by completing the New York marathon next month. Jan - we salute you!

The picture shows Jan running in the Barcelona marathon earlier in the year. Run, Jan, run!

Candidate guides

We are no longer sending out individual CDs with candidate information on them. Instead, candidate documents will now be available directly from our website. This introduction was in response to feedback from candidates and tutors who felt that downloadable documents would be more convenient, as well as impossible to lose! We hope you will appreciate the change. See

Welcome to Jason

Website development is an important part of CPCAB’s work at the moment, with IT-based systems taking more and more prominence in the modern marketplace. With this in mind, we are delighted to introduce our newest member of the CPCAB team, Website Developer Jason Hayes, who joined us at head office during the summer. Jason has two young children and has a background in programming, search engine optimisation as well as, of course, web development. At the same time as working his way through a mammoth amount of jobs for CPCAB, he’s also in the process of setting up his own company. He’s a very busy man! (And a modest one, so we’ll whisper this bit ... he’s a talented guitarist too ...)

Higher Level QCF qualifications gain credit recognition with the Open University

There have been some changes recently in the way that the Open University recognises the credits linked to QCF qualifications.  Please note that this recognition does not at present extend to the SCQF (Scotland).

The Open University has been following the progress of the QCF since it was first launched in November 2008.  As a result, in June 2011 the Credit Rating Panel of the Open University decided to recognise, for the purposes of specific credit transfer, qualifications accredited within the QCF and included on the Register of Regulated Qualifications at Level 4 and above.

In practice this means that students with CPCAB qualifications will be able to apply for OU transferred credit on the basis of their completed QCF unit credit at Level 4 and above, subject to the usual regulations, including those units within the three qualifications that can count towards the OU/CPCAB Foundation Degree in Counselling.

Further details are available on the Credit Transfer website.

Working with dyslexia- external assessment papers

Recent feedback from a candidate with dyslexia has prompted us to seek guidance from Sophie, a friend of the company who suffers with dyslexia herself. From a choice of three very different typefaces (selected following internet research) Sophie found Lucida Sans to be easier to read because of the variation between individual characters, which seemed to make them jump around and merge into each other less. There is also greater space between characters than with our current Times New Roman papers, which she found helpful. We’ll use this typeface for all future papers. Some dyslexics may also benefit from asking their tutor to pre-order one of the larger font papers that we already produce for candidates with visual difficulties - these will also be printed in Lucida Sans.

Thank you Sophie!

Sophie also liked having print on one side of the page only as it took away the temptation to look ahead at other questions. Unfortunately our resources don’t allow for single-sided print at the moment but a useful suggestion was to fold the paper so that only one side is visible at any time. Some candidates may also find it helpful to view the paper through a coloured filter - this is something that candidates can provide for themselves and they could experiment in advance with different colours (stationery shops sell tinted plastic document covers at a very reasonable price) to see which, if any, help with their difficulties.

We are always grateful for constructive suggestions from tutors and candidates and hope you find these changes helpful.

UKCP Conference report – June 2011

The UKCP Conference ‘Effectiveness in Psychotherapy’ was held in June this year. It focused on research and clinical evidence which underlines effective therapeutic practice. Professor John Norcross delivered a stimulating paper on psychotherapy relationships that work: a review of the research compiled by the most recent APA interdivisional task force. Although we all know and hopefully accept that the therapeutic relationship accounts for a major part of the outcome of counselling or psychotherapy, the evidence is needed to influence policy makers and funding providers and to inform practitioners about the most significant elements of that relationship. Professor Norcross summarised the evidence based findings which demonstrated that there were specific effective elements which contributed to the successful development and maintenance of this peculiar and personal of relationships. He illustrated the success to be gained from knowing and adopting particular relational attitudes and practices. For example, there is now irrefutable evidence to prove the positive importance of empathy, of developing a good working and therapeutic alliance, of working to establish cohesion in group therapy and of collecting feedback from clients about their ongoing experience in therapy.

In a later workshop, Professor Norcross highlighted certain treatments, relationship behaviours and interventions which could destroy the therapeutic process. This latter workshop was interactive and was a source of much humour as various “treatments” were identified and summarily discredited by lack of evidence or clear evidence of unethical or inappropriate claims of efficacy.

The range of workshops included a particularly interesting talk by Dr Roxane Agnew-Davis in which she reflected on the work she has done with clients who have experienced abuse or trauma. Roxane included a very pertinent reminder of the fact that the therapist is equally in need of care when working with traumatised clients.

The action research method and outcomes of working with the process of change in psychoanalytic parent-infant psychotherapy was sensitively delivered by Amanda Jones. Her doctoral research at the Tavistock/UEL investigated how the use of ‘projective identification’ can derail a baby’s development. This was a fascinating and very stimulating presentation and a real reminder of the hidden power of projective identification and other interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics.

Unfortunately, I could not attend all the workshops and had to be selective. However, what was made clear by the nature of the presentations is that there is enormous value in individual case study research and that shared knowledge, however small, will stimulate and promote reflective and improved effectiveness in clinical practice.

Maureen Moore