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UpdateSeptember 2016 No. 56

We wish a warm welcome back to our centres and their learners, old and new. As this edition of Update leaves us on its way to you, it's a glorious early autumn day and we're hoping for more of the same before winter is upon us. We hope you've had a pleasant summer break and feel ready to take on the challenges of a new academic year. Whatever it brings, we're here to face them with you!


Two new DVDs have recently been released and are available for purchase from the CPCAB shop.

Understanding Person-Centred Counselling is introduced by Barry Kopp, whom you may know as a member of our Counselling Professional team at CPCAB. In the DVD, Barry demonstrates how he is able to develop the counselling relationship by working with the three core conditions of empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence.

Understanding Emotion-Focused Therapy features Dr Robert Elliott of Strathclyde University, who both describes, and demonstrates, some of the key elements of this contemporary, research-informed humanistic approach.

Centre complaints policies

Centres are reminded that part of the process of approval to offer CPCAB qualifications includes providing your learners with a robust complaints policy that meets CPCAB requirements. To help new centres with this, we have recently updated our guidance and we hope it will be helpful.


3.1.14 – Registered candidates are entitled to appeal against an internal assessment decision or to complain about any aspect of their learning experience. Centres must have a published appeals and complaints process which is available to learners without any additional cost to the learner. This is usually in the student handbook.

Any complaints process must be fair to the learner and involve at least one person who is independent of the complaint and competent to make a judgement. It is not acceptable to offer a process where those involved have a vested/personal interest or are too closely linked with the person being complained against. e.g. a family member, close friend or colleague.

If you are a centre that is new to CPCAB you will need a robust complaints policy which normally includes a minimum of three stages. The following suggested text may be useful when developing your own policy.


You may wish to stipulate a time frame for when a complaint can be made.

Stage 1: If possible you should resolve your complaint informally by discussing it with the person concerned.

Stage 2: If you are not satisfied with the outcome of Stage 1 or if Stage 1 is not appropriate for your circumstances, you should put your complaint in writing to (named person). Your complaint will be investigated and a response given within 28 working days.

Stage 3: If you are not satisfied with the outcome of stage 2 and want to appeal the outcome of the complaint decision you should lodge your appeal in writing with supporting evidence to substantiate your complaint within 14 working days of the outcome of Stage 2. Your complaint will be reviewed by a complaints panel made up of people not involved with the complaint including an independent person. Your appeal will be investigated and reviewed and a final response given within 28 working days. This decision is final.

CPCAB's role is confined to ensuring that centres have a robust complaints procedure in place and therefore they have no role in individual centre complaints.

Managing complaints can be very demanding physically, emotionally and financially. Providing learners with adequate course information and employing a robust selection process will ensure learners access the appropriate course with appropriate support if required. This will minimise the risk of complaints further down the line.

Existing centres are reminded that if they need to update their complaints policy at any time they should send a copy of the updated policy to CPCAB for approval and so that we have your most up-to-date policy for our records. Many thanks.

Changes to external assessment for CSK-L2 and CST-L3

A reminder that from this month there will be a minor change to the external assessment for CSK-L2 (Certificate in Counselling Skills) and CST-L3 (Certificate in Counselling Studies).

The external assessment will still consist of a DVD and a written paper. The number of questions and marking scheme also remain unchanged. But the questions will be based on the overall learning outcomes now, rather than individual assessment criteria. These learning outcomes will be the same year on year, which will allow centres to better prepare candidates for the actual external assessment. These changes will also be reflected on the mock paper for 2016-17.

As the change is minor, there will be no disruption to the usual course delivery and assessment and centres are required to take no further action.

Coming soon: CPCAB Counselling Research Award videos

You may remember that at the BACP research conference last year we launched the CPCAB Counselling Research Award in association with BACP. The aim of the Award is to assist with the dissemination of research that has important implications for counselling training or counselling practice. CPCAB produces a video about the winning research and makes it freely available online.

Pictured above are the 2015 Award winners: Jan Grove and Beverley Spalding with CPCAB's Barry Kopp. Beverley conducted the research titled An exploration of Black and Asian counsellors' experiences of working with White clients as part of her degree at Newman University. Jan and her colleague Alison Rolfe, who wasn't available at the time the picture was taken, supervised her.

In addition, a team from Lewisham Counselling and Counsellor Training Associates (LC&CTA) received a commendation for their research titled Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Trainee Counsellors' Reflections on their Training and Implications for Practice. The team, comprised of Debra Powell, Mehboob Dada and Reyhan Yaprak, conducted the research while studying for a BACP Accredited L5 HPD in Counselling at LC&CTA.

We will shortly be publishing videos about these two pieces of research. Check shortly in order to watch the videos.

How to register candidates

We've recently finished a new "how to" video for tutors and centre staff. It's a brief step-by-step guide covering candidate registration and follows our earlier videos on gaining centre approval, the CPCAB model, and how to choose the right CPCAB qualification. We aim to create more videos in future to cover other aspects of using the system as well as topics such as "how to build a candidate portfolio".

This is a busy time of year for registration of new groups but do remember that if your group is not registered within six weeks of the start date a late registration fee of £50 is payable. If you are having any difficulties registering any of your learners, do get in touch and we will help in any way we can.

We hope you find this series helpful and we'd be interested to receive your feedback, as well as suggestions for future topics when time permits.


A reminder that all tutors delivering CPCAB qualifications must attend a CPCAB standardisation training session to ensure that they are assessing to a common standard.

Tutors must attend a standardisation training day every two years and receive 'cascade' training from another team member in the intervening year. These training days are offered free in regional locations. If you are the only tutor at a centre and teach CSK-L2 and above you will need to attend every year. Centres must ensure that at least one experienced tutor and all new tutors attend a standardisation training session during the 2016/17 academic year. This is to ensure that they are assessing to a common standard.

To book your place please follow the booking form link.

Please note that the standardisation training on Friday 7th October is now fully booked. The new tutor day on Saturday 8th October in London still has places available. Please book all new tutors from your centre onto this day if possible. We have removed the Levels 5+6 exercises from the agenda on this day due to very low bookings. Level 2-4 will be covered as normal.

Downloadable agendas: New tutors, Levels 2-4

Wanted! Moderators for TCSU-L6

We are looking to recruit more moderators for our level 6 qualification to help with increasing demand. If you are experienced in teaching TCSU-L6 and would be interested in hearing more about this opportunity, please contact Marina at CPCAB without delay. We look forward to hearing from you.

Client work with Children and Young People (CYP) – a reminder

As you may know BACP's guidance on client work with children and young people when applying for accreditation has been revised this year. Since then we have received a number of enquiries about CPCAB's own requirements in terms of the Level 4 Diploma, TC-L4.

In fact our requirements have not changed - although we have recently updated our guidance in the interests of clarity.

External assessment dates

A reminder that external assessment dates are available on the CPCAB website.

Social media

CPCAB's facebook page continues to attract ever-increasing numbers of followers who are able to access a wide range of links to features that might be of interest. In the last two weeks alone updates have included Homes Not Hospitals, The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs and a link to a recent article in the Guardian about Natasha Devon, the government's schools' mental health champion, who claims the DfE has tried to silence her for her criticisms of mental health policy.

Sensitive handling of student work

Our tutors are very aware, we know, that the work in their learners' portfolios is very personal and delicate in nature.

Whilst learners are made aware that their work will be part of their overall assessment (and may be viewed by External Verifiers too) it is nonetheless a core part of the training that learners examine their feelings in depth and base their work on their experiences. It is easy to imagine, therefore, that the loss of such work can be very hurtful to the author. There is no way of avoiding human error, of course, but the purpose of this message is to ask you to carry out a simple review of your storage of student work, to assure yourself that it's as secure as possible. And if you're part of a large organisation such as an FE college, please try to get this message through to staff in other departments who may not understand the particular sensitivity of counselling training.

We hope you don't mind this gentle reminder; fortunately mishaps are very rare. Many thanks.


The arguments about the differences between counsellors and psychotherapists have raged for many years and no doubt will continue to do so for years to come! This little CPCAB video looks at the question in a rather more humorous way with homage to the original social class sketch which featured John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. We hope you like our take on this!