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spike bullet April 2015 ~ Helpful Conversations - Part 6

Chapter 13:  Professional Competences
Chapter 14: The Core Competence - Reflective Practice (in PDF)
Chapter 15: Developing Reflective Practice - The Professional Log (in PDF)
Appendix: Explanations to the Professional Log (in PDF)
Resources (links, books, articles, the lighter side)

color bulletApril 2015 ~ Helpful Conversations - Part 6

In November 2014, we are started a series called Helpful Conversations, based on the work of Regina Wright, a chartered psychologist in Europe.  This series of newsletter articles is based on a one-year university-accredited training program that Regina created for the National School of Government to teach reflective skills and individual feedback.  Her background work for the training is based on the work of John Heron, Carl Rogers and Gerard Egan.  Regina may be contacted at HelpfulConversations [at] or by phone in the UK at 0044 1293 518815 (from the US 011-44-1293-518815)

The training was originally created for counselors and has been adapted for our newsletter series.  Since good  communications skills are important for anyone in business, we are pleased to be able to offer this series for our readers with Regina's permission.  Your feedback is welcome. 

Regina is also offering to give feedback on those who would like to use the newsletter series as an online course and do the exercises in each chapter.  Send your results and comments directly to Regina via email to HelpfulConversations [at] using the chapter task list for each part (downloadable Word document).  Regina has graciously offered to review results at no charge to our readers.   

CHAPTER 13:  Professional Competences

So far, we’ve thought about the range of helpful conversations and set out a framework that helps us understand and evaluate them in detail.  How then do we set about acquiring all these competences ourselves?  Well, the first step is identifying the individual competences practitioners need to do the job.  They follow below.  It seemed helpful to list them in a chapter of their own for easy reference.  Of these, the core competences are those toward the end, which concern issues of reflective practice.  More about this in the next chapter.

Individual Competences

  • Be aware of and follow current legal requirements for professional practice.
  • Work to professional, ethical and best practice guidelines and, where appropriate internal guidelines.
  • Competence in support employees and the organization is linked to an appreciation of the demands of working with other people and within organizational systems. 
  • Demonstrate the ability to be able to reflect on their individual practice in relation to the context of the system within which they operate. 
  • Consider the objectives of your organization and adapt their work accordingly.
  • Appreciate the organization’s structures, culture and dynamics and the impact this has on (a) individual (b) teams (c) managers and (d) the provision of the service offered
  • Be familiar with organizational and departmental policies, procedures and protocols, conventions and customs and where appropriate implement or work within them.  Use systems feedback mechanism as appropriate.
  • Deliver and evaluate support services with a realistic understanding and representation of strengths, abilities and resources.
  • Be clear on their own role(s) and remit(s) and manage multiple roles, role conflicts, and multi-cornered client contracts. 
  • Maintain appropriate levels of confidentiality within overlapping systems of information.
  • Work effectively in formal and informal teams in a variety of roles demonstrating an awareness of attitudes and expectation of others an ability to communicate effectively and get on well with colleagues.
  • Collaborate appropriately with internal and external colleagues and specialists, taking into account the need for written and verbal communication to be clear and comprehensive with the aims and nature of the purpose clearly expressed with no careless mistakes and evidence that the outcome has been given careful consideration.
  • Identify social trends relevant to their work and respond without prejudice.
  • Advocate and encourage the wider acceptance of equality management.  Activities may include role modeling non-judgment behavior, coaching, mentoring and awareness raising.
  • Work with a broad range of client issues without social prejudice, ethnocentrism and authoritarianism
  • Support managers and employees during periods of absence from work
  • Work within the equal opportunity legislative framework
  • Awareness of organization’s policy and practice on diversity and ensuring adherence to its principles in the context of employee and organization support work.
  • Support both perpetrator and victim in situations of alleged harassment and bullying.
  • Promote useful and productive relationships within teams, enhancing the quality of relationships between people. 
  • Identify the barriers to effective communication within the organization and team and implement appropriate strategies for resolution (e.g. coaching, facilitation and/or mediation).
  • Support and suggest strategies for resolving conflict in teams, demonstrating sensitivity to the overall needs and expectations with an awareness of team member feelings and the ability to handle difficulties in relationships constructively.
  • Deal with and provide ongoing support for the emotional impact of change (e.g. organization restructuring, downsizing, re-deployment, and changes in work practice or layoffs).
  • Form appropriate professional / helping relationships demonstrating the ability to be: sensitive to the values held by the client and self; the capacity to accept others with the absence of social prejudice, ethnocentrism and authoritarianism; the capacity to tolerate strong or uncomfortable feelings in relation to the client without being personally diminished.
  • Contract appropriately with clients, colleagues, and managers demonstrating secure personal boundaries.
  • Use communication and helping skills as appropriate to the nature of the interaction, in accordance with professional standards as they apply to: client note taking, report writing, interviewing, information gathering, advice and guidance, counseling, feedback, presentations, coaching, mediating and conflict resolution.
  • Work effectively with a range of communication modalities: face-to-face, telephone, written work, emails, reports, forms and questionnaires.
  • Work with a range of constellations of clients, colleagues and managers, (e.g. individuals, couples, family members, groups, teams and in multi-disciplinary ad hoc meetings, internal and external specialist and agencies). 
  • Assess and work with a range of client issues, including those of: work pressure or difficulties, personal problems, partner/marital, family, emotional, health & medical, financial, debt, legal — taking into account factors such as psychopathology, psychological development, clients at risk, focusing in depth on stress, loss & bereavement, anxiety and depression, substance abuse. 
  • Intervene differentially, referring as needed.
  • Manage working from a range of physical settings (e.g. own office, 3rd party office).
  • Be familiar with a range of theoretical approaches to practice
  • Conceptualize practice (e.g. demonstrate the ability to understand and assess: the client’s problems; anticipate future consequences of actions; make sense of immediate problems in terms of a wider conceptual scheme; remember information about the client; cognitive flexibility and skills in problem-solving). 
  • Keep the client, the organization, and themselves legally, ethically, physically and psychologically safe — demonstrating the ability to monitor and maintain their fitness to practice ensuring work is undertaken safely and seeking appropriate professional support as the need arises.
  • Observe evidenced-based best practice. 
  • Be aware of and describe their personal and interpersonal approach to employee & organization support work.
  • Manage their continued personal and interpersonal professional development according to need; linking to relevant theory. 
  • Manage the ongoing emotional demands of client work and maintain psychological well-being — demonstrating the capacity to use support networks and supervision
  • Function appropriately and effectively within the organization.  The effects of employee & organization support work on self-management, interpersonal and organizational skills (e.g. stress and time management).
  • Personal and moral qualities: the concept of skills captures only one component of competence.  Practitioners are also required to demonstrate the following:
    • Empathy: the ability to communicate understanding of another person’s experiences from that person’s perspective.
    • Sincerity: a personal commitment to consistency between what is professed and what is done.
    • Integrity: commitment to being moral in dealings with others, personal straightforwardness, honesty and coherence.
    • Resilience: the capacity to work with the client’s concerns without being personally diminished.
    • Respect: showing appropriate esteem to others and their understanding of themselves.
    • Humility: the ability to assess accurately and acknowledge one’s own strengths and weaknesses.
    • Competence: the effective deployment of the skills and knowledge to do what is required.
    • Fairness: the consistent application of appropriate criteria to inform decisions and actions.
    • Wisdom: possession of sound judgment that informs practice.
    • Courage: the capacity to act in spite of known fears, risks and uncertainty.

from: BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counseling and Psychotherapy p. 2ff

. . . 

Part 6 is continued in the full Chapters 13, 14, 15 and Appendix for download (as a PDF file).  The Chapter 13, 14, 15 Task List (Word document) is available for download if you would like feedback from Regina (at no charge to you). 

November 2014 was Part 1 of the series and includes the Glossary. 

Helpful Conversations series ... to be continued and concluded next month.  May 2014 will be the last chapter in this series.   

  Internet Resources

book graphic  Books  Disclosure: We get a small commission for purchases made via links to Amazon. 

  • Helping the Client: A Creative Practical Guide.  John Heron.  Sage Publications, 2001.  ISBN: 978-0761972884
  • On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy.  Carl Rogers.  Mariner Books, 1995.  ISBN: 978-0395755310
  • Client-Centered Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications and Theory.  Carl Rogers.  Robinson Publishing, 2003.  ISBN: 978-1841198408
  • The Skilled Helper: A Problem-Management and Opportunity-Development Approach to Helping.  Gerard Egan. Cengage Learning (2013). ISBN: 978-1285065717
  • Income Without a Job: Living Well Without a Paycheck.  Michael Jay Anthony, Barbara J. Taylor., 2008  ISBN-13: 978-0-557-00377-8.  Website:  Tap into your own creativity and use  your full potential.  Learn how to see opportunities that others miss.   

world wide web - articles  Articles

Related newsletter articles:
    August 1997 - Improving verbal communications
    April 2001 - Consulting Skills for Managers
    November 2007 - True Community
    March 2005 - Male/Female Communication at Work
    April 2000 - The Art of Listening

smiley graphic  The Lighter Side  

The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.
―  Thich Nhat Hanh

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said.  The art of reading between the lines is a life long quest of the wise.
― Shannon L. Alder

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.  The best way to understand people is to listen to them.
― Ralph G. Nichols

Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request.
— Phillip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say 
― Bryant H. McGill

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
― Leo Buscaglia

About our resource links:  We do not endorse or agree with all the beliefs in these links.   We do keep an open mind about different viewpoints and respect the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what is useful.

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