How counselling theory underpins the use of counselling skills? essay example
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How counselling theory underpins the use of counselling skills?

Q5a Describe how counselling theory underpins the use of counselling skills. (2.1)
Theory underpinning use of counselling skills: role of theory in influencing practitioner’s model of health; goals and methods; style of working; type of counselling relationship
The backbone of counselling theory is developing a rapport with your client. Counselling skills that are taught relate directly to counselling theory. Counselling theory is developed by looking at many cases over a great length of time and assessing the effectiveness of the skills used in these cases.

Professional practice of guidance and counselling (i.e. using counselling skills) without theory is blind and theory without practice is sterile. Theory has many uses. It gives framework/foundation for professional practice-suggests setting of counselling goals, techniques to achieve the selected goals, and evaluative measures as to the extent the pre-set goals are met, and the efficacy of the methods and techniques used to achieve the goals. A theory when further proved through practice also suggests modification, enrichment, advancement of the counselling process in particular and the counselling profession in general.

Q5b Describe how different counselling theories underpin the use of counselling skills in different approaches. (2.1)
Theories Underpin Skills – If the counsellor is knowledgeable and capable of practising a range of theories, there is the opportunity to consider and explore the needs of the client to determine which therapeutic model would be most effective in the helping relationship.
With CBT, for example, the approach of the counsellor structuring and guiding the client through a process of improvement may be more useful in problems relating to mental health, where the guidance is necessary for the therapy to be effective.
Then taking Person-Centred Theory as an example, it helps to inform use of the following counselling skills. The counsellor is Congruent when being authentic, genuine and real and letting the client know that they are Ok to be themselves, also without façade. This is important to engender transparency so that the counsellor is less likely to be seen as superior and the client is more likely to feel empowered to change themselves.

Unconditional Positive Regard is a non-judgmental acceptance of the counsellor which enables them to explore negative feelings honestly and to feel self-acceptance. Empathic understanding is the endeavour to experience the client’s situation through their eyes and it is communicated through attention and caring, which helps the client to value themselves.
Regardless of the theoretical model being used, without a model or several models to draw upon a counsellor may be much less effective. This is because there would be no framework to guide them in the helping relationship in, for example, knowing when best to be silent, when to question and how. In other words, even with the best intentions of helping the client, they could do more harm than good from attempting to do so without a frame of reference and best practise, as relates back to the theories.
In conclusion, knowledge of the counselling theories and when and how to apply them goes hand-in-hand with effective use of the practical counselling skills, bringing theory into practical realisation in the helping relationship.

Q1 Identify an ethical framework. You should clearly state the name of the ethical framework within your answer. (1.1)
The Career Development Institute (CDI) Code of Ethics is an ethical framework.
The CDI is the single UK-wide professional body for everyone working in the fields of career education; career information, advice and guidance; career coaching, career consultancy and career management. As an Employability and Careers specialist I adhere to the CDI code of ethics.

Q2 Identify key aspects of the ethical framework. (1.2)
Adhering to a Code of Ethics is one of the cornerstones of professional practice. The CDI Code of Ethics, consisting of twelve principles, was drawn up in consultation with members and published in October 2014. The intent is for it to be used and referred to as a tool to increase and maintain a common trust and understanding of values and beliefs necessary to do our work.
To support practitioners in the application of these principles, the Professional Standards Committee has produced a Framework which can be used by practitioners as a step-by-step decision making process. This Framework was based on a review of existing ones and is offered as a guide to members in making decisions that affect their practice. The practitioner therefore needs to use it as a guide rather than a definitive answer.
The purpose of the Code of Ethics is:
• To cover the professional behaviour and practice required of all CDI members.
• To inform the public of the ethical principles to which all CDI Members adhere.
The CDI, whilst recognising the diversity of backgrounds and work settings of its members, requires all members to adhere to the highest standards of professional behaviour as set out in the twelve principles below:

  • Accountability
  • Autonomy
  • Competence
  • Confidentiality
  • Continuous Professional Development
  • Duty of Care
  • Equality, Justice, Transparency and Confidentiality – Fundamental British Values
  • Impartiality
  • Transparency and Trustworthiness

Q3 Describe how this ethical framework informs your own use of counselling skills. (1.3)
The CDI Code of Ethics covers the professional behaviour and practice required of all CDI members and informs the public of the ethical principles to which all CDI members adhere.
This Code of Ethics applies to individual career development professionals rather than organisations and all members must adhere to the highest standards of professional behaviour as set out in these principles.
Career development professionals have expertise in careers information, advice, guidance, coaching, development and education but more than this career development professionals must know how and when to apply their specialist knowledge. This Code of Ethics is not a rulebook, it does not list procedures to follow for every circumstance, but is intended as a guide to professionals in all aspects of their professional lives – especially relationships with clients, colleagues, employers and wider society.
The full CDI code of ethics can be found at: http://www.thecdi.net/write/227_BP260-X8513-Code_of_Ethics-A4-digital.pdf

Q4 Outline ways in which people experience discrimination. (2.1)

Different ways in which people experience discrimination are:

Direct discrimination
Direct discrimination is when you’re treated differently and worse than someone else for certain reasons. Direct discrimination can be because of: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation

Indirect discrimination
Indirect discrimination is when there’s a practice, policy or rule which applies to everyone in the same way, but it has a worse effect on some people than others. Something can be indirect discrimination if it has a worse effect on you because of your: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Comparators in direct discrimination cases
If you want to show you’ve suffered direct discrimination, you need to compare your treatment with the treatment of someone else who doesn’t have the same protected characteristic as you. The Equality Act calls this person a comparator. The comparator is someone who’s in the same or similar enough situation to you, but who doesn’t have the same protected characteristic. For example – If you’re directly discriminated against because of disability, the comparator is someone who doesn’t share your disability but who has the same abilities and skills as you. The comparator can be someone who’s not disabled or someone with a different disability.

Justifying discrimination
Sometimes it doesn’t count as unlawful discrimination if someone treats you unfairly because of who you are. The Equality Act 2010 says if someone has a good enough reason for treating you unfairly, they may be able to justify discriminating against you. For example – The fire service requires all job applicants to take a number of physical tests. This could be indirect discrimination because of age, as older people are less likely to pass the tests than younger applicants. But the fire service can probably justify this. Firefighting is a job which requires great physical capability. The reason for the test is to make sure candidates are fit enough to do the job and ensure the proper functioning of the fire service. This is a legitimate aim. Making candidates take physical tests is a proportionate way of achieving this aim.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination
Pregnancy and maternity discrimination is when you’re treated unfairly because you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or because you’ve recently given birth. You must suffer a disadvantage as a result of the unfair treatment.

Absence from work because of gender reassignment
You’re protected against discrimination if your absence from work is related somehow to your gender reassignment (sex change).

Discrimination connected to your disability
Discrimination arising from disability is when you’re treated unfairly because of something connected to your disability rather than the disability itself. For example – You’re blind and need a guide dog. You’re refused entry to a restaurant because the restaurant doesn’t allow dogs inside. The need for an assistance dog is connected to your disability. This would be unlawful discrimination, not because of your disability itself, but because you need an assistance dog. You’re being put at a disadvantage because you need the dog to help you. It doesn’t matter that other people can’t take their dogs into the restaurant because they don’t need a dog to help them.

Duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people
Some people or organisations like employers, shops, local authorities and schools must take positive steps to remove the barriers you face because of your disability. This is to ensure you receive the same services, as far as this is possible, as someone who’s not disabled. The Equality Act 2010 calls this the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

Harassment is when someone behaves in a way which offends you or makes you feel distressed or intimidated. This could be abusive comments or jokes, graffiti or insulting gestures. Harassment is a form of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

Sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature which:
• violates your dignity
• makes you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated
• creates a hostile or offensive environment
You don’t need to have previously objected to someone’s behaviour for it to be considered unwanted.

Making or telling someone to discriminate
It’s unlawful to make someone or tell someone to discriminate against you. It’s also unlawful to tell someone or make someone harass or victimise you. It doesn’t matter if someone actually discriminates against you or not. It’s the act of telling someone or making someone discriminate against you which is unlawful. The Equality Act calls this causing, instructing and inducing someone to discriminate.

Victimisation is when someone treats you badly or subjects you to a detriment because you complain about discrimination or help someone who has been the victim of discrimination. Because the Equality Act recognises you may be worried about complaining, you have extra legal protection when you complain about discrimination.

Q5 Describe your own experiences or observations of possible discrimination. (2.2)
In 1996 I was working in London for an organisation whose head office was in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A London based colleague and I needed to visit Belfast for work purposes. When our assignment there was completed a colleague who worked at the Belfast office offered to take us to the airport instead of us getting a taxi. We had to walk through a certain deprived area to get to his car. As the three of us walked to the car, some kids who were playing outside their houses started to throw stones at my London-based colleague and I. Our Belfast based colleague protected us as much as he could as parents and adults came out of their houses to join in the stoning of us.
I was petrified!
When we eventually got to our colleague’s car, he explained that the adults and kids were throwing stones at us simply because we were black. He explained that certain northern Irelander’s associated black people with being in the military and hence hated black people on sight!
This incident has had a profound effect on me. I couldn’t believe I was hated simply for being black. I was scared for my life. I realised that I could never change my skin colour so I had to accept that I would sometimes simply be hated because of the colour of my skin.

Q6 Describe key legal aspects of anti-discriminatory practice. (3.1)
The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to. The Act aims to ensure that all people are treated equally and protected from discrimination by having the same rights. The Human Rights Act gives you legal protection of your human rights, like your
right to life, or your right to a fair trial.
• These rights come from the European Convention on Human Rights.
• Each right is referred to as a separate article, for example, Article 2: Right to life.
You are protected under the Human Rights Act if:
• you live in the UK. This includes if you are a foreign national, detained in hospital or in prison.
The Human Rights Act is important because:
• it sets out a minimum standard of how the government should treat you. It makes sure that they think about meeting your basic rights when they do their job. This includes when they use other laws.
• Parliament must think about whether a new law follows the Human Rights Act before it comes into force.

The Equality Act 2010
Discrimination is often the underlying cause behind lack of inclusion. It means treating a person or group unfairly because of a particular characteristic, such as gender, disability, age, ethnic origin, skin colour, nationality, sexuality and/or religious belief.
Protected characteristics are the nine groups protected under the Equality Act 2010. They are:
• age
• disability
• gender reassignment
• marriage and civil partnership
• pregnancy and maternity
• race
• religion or belief
• sex
• sexual orientation
Discrimination usually results in negative consequences for the person or group, reducing their opportunities, excluding them from communities and restricting their ability to contribute to society and live their preferred life. Discrimination has been described as ‘putting prejudices into practice’.

People can suffer discrimination from individuals who abuse or insult them. But entire organisations – including those in health services – can also discriminate against people (usually unintentionally) by, for instance, having signs that are not appropriate for sight-impaired people, or printing patient information leaflets in only one language, or discriminating against women by making it difficult for mothers to attend appointments by giving them times outside school hours, or neglecting to recognise the needs of people with, for example, dementia or a learning disability by offering them only a very brief time with staff at clinical appointments.

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Discrimination isn’t just offensive – it’s also illegal. The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination from:
• employers
• businesses and organisations that provide goods or services, like banks, shops and utility companies
• health and care providers, such as hospitals and care homes
• housing associations and estate agents
• schools, colleges and other education providers
• transport services like buses, trains and taxis
• public bodies, including government departments and local authorities.

Anti-discriminatory practice therefore aims to counteract the negative effects of discrimination on patients/clients and to combat discrimination in all its forms. You must not be involved in any actions that could be seen as discriminatory or potentially insulting to any individual or group, including your colleagues.

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