Oct 2007 No. 19

In this Update


A therapist suggested that an absent-minded man should take a course in memory improvement, so he learned the technique of association of mental images. He was telling a friend about the merits of a new restaurant he'd tried, recommending it highly. His friend asked, "What is the name of the restaurant?"

The man thought and thought and finally said, "What is the name of that flower you give to someone you love? You know... the one that's red and has thorns."

"Do you mean a rose?"

"Yes, that's the one," replied the man. He then turned to his wife and said, "Rose, what's the name of that new restaurant we went to?"

After many sessions the psychiatrist was able to tell his patient, "Congratulations, Sir, you are cured."

The patient was unimpressed.

"Some cure. I used to be Alexander the Great. I was Julius Caesar. I was Napoleon. Now I’m nobody."

Welcome to the new academic year

Dear tutors and colleagues,

It is already perhaps a bit late to say “welcome” to the new academic year as many of you will already feel it is well underway - but we do offer you a warm welcome for 2007-8! We have already met old friends and colleagues at our London standardisation days and are looking forward to seeing and talking with many more of you as the autumn progresses.

These are challenging times. There are almost no fixed points in the current landscape of education and counselling - with the shifting sands of the regulation debate, the transition to the new QCF framework, the sector skills reform programme and funding arrangements. You will see this reflected in some of the news items below. Change is always disruptive and frightening but it also offers opportunities and new possibilities and CPCAB is in a good solid position to take on and respond to these challenges.

“Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.”

"If we don’t change, we don’t grow.
 If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living."

Quote from Gail Sheehy

What is most important to us at CPCAB is to hold on to the heart of our work, the core values of counselling which first inspired the creation of CPCAB and to engage positively in these changes while steering a firm course through the choppy waters. Our promise to you is to keep you informed and to minimize the disruption by maintaining as much stability and continuity as is possible.

As always we welcome your thoughts and wish you a good year ahead.

Fiona and the team

What do you think of the core curriculum proposed by BACP?

CPCAB would like to draw your attention to recent key developments in the sector – especially recent moves towards regulation. The fact that the regulation debate has been rumbling on for so many years means that it is difficult not to feel jaded about it. Things have, however, moved on very rapidly in the last few months and it is important for all counselling professionals to re-engage with this process.

Significant developments in the sector include the work of a number of professional associations in relation to potential regulation with the Health Professions Council (HPC), recent approval of the new counselling National Occupational Standards (NOS), the Skills for Health (SfH) ongoing work on NOS for psychological therapy and plans for the transition from the NQF to the new Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). These developments will all have significant impacts on current qualifications and progression routes. CPCAB is actively engaged in these important debates and encourages you to be involved.

One key development is that BACP has taken on the unenviable challenge of developing a Core Curriculum for all counselling and psychotherapy training courses. CPCAB would encourage you to read the proposed curriculum which was posted on the consultation section of the BACP website with a letter (July 07) inviting members to respond.

BACP core curriculum: CPCAB’s initial response

This is a very challenging task: partly because of the richness and diversity of contemporary counselling and psychotherapy approaches and partly because of the difficulty of arriving at competencies that effectively describe the core emotional, self awareness and relational ways of knowing and working that lie at the heart of practice. CPCAB recognises the need for a framework (or frameworks) that provide a basis for common standards for the sector and welcomes the many positive elements of the BACP proposals. At the same time we have some important questions and concerns:

One key proposal in the consultation document is that an HE degree would be the only entry point to the counselling profession. This runs counter to the draft Sector Qualifications Strategy, which outlines two routes – vocational and academic. Our understanding is that regulation with HPC does not, in principle, require a HE qualification - provided that the standards are met. Additionally our understanding is that SfH is aiming for all health professions to be based on standards rather than particular qualifications and another professional association in this sector (BPS) is working towards a regulatory framework that is not based on specific HE qualifications.

An exclusive HE entry route implies a “radical surgery”: cutting out approx 2/3 of the counselling training courses according to the BACP’s own mapping exercise of current training patterns which indicates that only 1/3 of training takes place in HE. CPCAB does not believe that such radical surgery is necessary, especially with the new flexibility of the HE-equivalent vocational NQF levels 4-8 and the credit framework of the forthcoming QCF. Furthermore, despite the increasing numbers of adults accessing HE, the absence of a vocational alternative route (via FE higher level vocational qualifications) would undoubtedly exclude many current counselling students – this is fundamentally against CPCAB’s core belief in the vital importance of broad access, inclusion and diversity.

Apart from the HE entry proposal, CPCAB also has important concerns about the core curriculum itself. The direction of travel seems to be away from “counselling” – as we understand and experience it – and towards a new profession of “psychological therapy”. This is particularly evident in the language of the core curriculum document, which refers to working with psychological difficulties and psychological presentations, the formation of psychological conceptualisations and to the application of psychological theories (including of psychological development). Further, the BACP’s new mission statement reads: ‘To enable access to ethical and effective psychological therapy by setting and monitoring professional standards’.

Is psychological therapy the same as counselling? Is the core curriculum proposal going to achieve the stated aim of regulating counselling, or has it now become a process of creating a new, and somewhat different, profession of “psychological therapy”? Would Carl Rogers, or a humanistic or integrative counsellor, recognise this summary description of a competent counsellor:

“Essential aspects of a competent practitioner include the capacity to analyse complex psychological presentations, devise a strategy for therapeutic work, critically evaluate innovative research and function autonomously.” (Core Curriculum p. 14)

Undoubtedly there will always be areas of counselling practice and training in need of development but CPCAB believes that, in the UK, we have a rich, mature and diverse counselling profession, which should be valued, celebrated and defended. A profession that should have as broad an entry base as it is possible to achieve. What is needed are standards that are fit for purpose – standards that encompass the richness and diversity of contemporary counselling approaches and effectively describe the core emotional, self-awareness and relational ways of knowing & working that lie at the heart of counselling practice. Such standards should then form the basis for regulation.

We believe that, as a profession, we should accept nothing less!

CPCAB has arranged a meeting in mid-December which BACP has extended to include all counselling awarding bodies.

In the meantime we encourage you to examine the relevant reports on the BACP website, respond to the core curriculum consultation and attend the BACP conference - particularly the core curriculum seminar on Friday 19th October and the AGM later that day. We welcome the fact that, as practitioners and trainers, you may well have very different views from those outlined above and we encourage you to share them – both with ourselves and with BACP.

As the draft core curriculum consultation document is no longer on the BACP website (because the consortium are due to deliver their final work to BACP by the middle of this month) CPCAB has checked with BACP who have said that they are happy for us to circulate the document as it appeared - click here to view it. Following further advice from BACP they have asked us not to circulate the document as it is no longer current. Apologies for any confusion.

We would also encourage you to view the newly-approved National Occupational Standards for Counselling which can be viewed by visiting http://www.ukstandards.org.uk/Find_Occupational_Standards.aspx?NosFindID=4&FormMode=ViewModeSuite&SuiteID=1292.

CPCAB is the only specialised awarding body in this sector with one of the largest counselling networks in the UK: operating since the early 90’s we have over 150 approved training centres, hundreds of approved counselling tutors and over 11,000 registered students per year.

Online candidate registration system

We are pleased to announce the arrival of our online candidate registration system available at www.cpcab-registrations.co.uk. This will allow centres to register candidates online for CPCAB qualifications, although centres who wish to continue using our paper-based system can still do so.

An email has been circulated to all CPCAB-approved centres, informing them of their Centre ID and password, both of which will be needed to log-in to the system. If you have any queries regarding your log-in please contact Marina at mrichards@cpcab.co.uk or by phoning her directly on 01458 852 054.

Centres will be able to change their password at any time by logging in and clicking 'Change Password' on the main menu. Centres will be responsible for keeping their password safe and ensuring that only authorised members of staff know it.

Once logged in, you will have two menu options:

In addition, and as a forthcoming feature, you will eventually be able to record on-line your centre’s internal assessment results for each candidate, by selecting one of the following four choices from a drop-down list:

Group Registrations (Main Menu Option 1)

Selecting this gives you four options:
1. Register a new group. This is where you input the information common to all the candidates in a group, e.g. target qualification, tutor name(s), course start date etc. You will be able to review and make any needed changes to the information before confirming it.

Having defined the group’s parameters, you will then be able to add in the details of the individual candidates in the group (name, gender, date of birth etc), either manually or via batch registration (see below).
Once again you will be able to review and make any needed changes to the information before clicking on the ‘confirm’ button to submit the group to CPCAB for approval. After you have clicked ‘confirm’, a Candidate Registration List will be available for viewing and/or printing.

2. Batch registration. Batch registration is an alternative, labour-saving means of registering each group of candidates without having to manually input each candidate’s details. Provided that your centre is using its own (internal) electronic system for registering candidates, it should be possible to marry this with – and thus use – our batch registration option.

After you have manually entered the information common to all the candidates in a group (target qualification, tutor names, course start date etc) – you will be able to upload a file containing details of all the individual candidates in that group. This ‘batch file’ must be a Comma Separated Value (.csv) file, and conform to the ‘CPCAB Database File Specification’ – you will be able to view this specification from the batch registration page of our on-line system.

Once the batch file has been uploaded, it will be checked automatically, and any errors found will be reported on screen. Once the file has been processed successfully, a Candidate Registration List for the group concerned will be available for viewing and/or printing.

If you want to start using batch registrations you will need to contact your centre's IT department and ask them to set up your centre's electronic registration system so that it can export CSV files which match our database file specification as given here: www.cpcab-registrations.co.uk/filespec.htm

3. Pending registrations. This lists any groups that you have submitted, but which have not yet been approved by CPCAB.

4. Approved registrations. This lists all the groups you have already submitted which have been approved by CPCAB.

Candidates (Main Menu Option 2)

Selecting this option gives you two options:
1. Find candidate. Here you can search – by first name, surname, CPCAB Learner Number or your own centre-issued identifier (if any) – for any candidate who is, or has been, registered with CPCAB whilst at your centre.

If a match to your search criteria is found, then you can jump to the record(s) concerned and so view further relevant details about that candidate, including details of their current group (if any).

2. All candidates. This simply lists, in alphabetical order, all the candidates at your centre who are in a current CPCAB-registered group (‘current’ means up to the point where CPCAB has not yet indicated an overall assessment result for all of the candidates in a group). You can jump to the record concerned for any of the candidates listed and so view further relevant details about that candidate, including details of their current group.

We hope that you find the new registration system useful and easy to use, and we look forward to receiving your registrations. If you need any assistance, please call Marina, Trudy or Steve on 01458 852054.

Victor Rigby
Business Manager

Accreditation End Dates (AED)

We are pleased to say that all of our qualifications have been extended to August 2008. This refers to the last date on which you can register a learner for a qualification and is not the certification end date.

This may appear to be a short extension but it applies to all awarding bodies offering counselling and some other health and social care qualifications. This is because of work being done on the Sector Qualification Strategies and further work that might have to be done on the NOS.

We do have the assurance of the Sector Skills Council, Skills for Health that they will further extend the qualifications to August 2009 but we are unable to apply for these extensions until March 2008. We realise that this may present a difficulty for planning your curriculum offer for the following academic year but this is beyond our control. We will of course update you on any further developments at the first possible opportunity.

Please contact us if you have any further questions about the AED.

Maureen Moore
Director of Qualifications Development

Student of the year award

You may remember that at our standardisation days last year we asked if you would like us to instigate an annual award scheme to appoint one candidate as CPCAB’s ‘Student of the Year’.

Opinions varied considerably here. To speed things up on the day, all we asked for was a tick in one of three boxes, but some of you were kind enough to add comments as well. These varied from ‘yes please! Great idea!’ to ‘ ... think about sibling rivalry’.

Overall those in favour were fairly equally balanced by those against. We’ve decided, therefore, to put the idea on hold for the time being, but do please write to us and let us know if you’d like us to have another go at a later date. Of course all CPCAB students are Students of the Year in our eyes!