Category Archives: Evaluation

Monitoring Effectiveness

Tick boxesCounsellors may also use client satisfaction or feedback forms as a way of collecting information which can help them monitor effectiveness (McMahon, 1998).  For those involved in research the need to design questionnaires which are both Valid and Reliable is given considerable importance.  Validity means the questionnaire measures what it claims to measure and reliability means results would be consistent if the questionnaire was administered in the same circumstances to a range of individuals (Saunders, Liptrot, 1993).

In an ideal world it would be helpful if client feedback forms were always valid and reliable. However, a counsellor does not have to see their lack of understanding or skill in designing such questionnaires as an overwhelming problem. Such forms provide an opportunity for the counsellor to collect information in a reasonably consistent manner. Feedback forms and questionnaires such as these can be helpful but they should also be treated with care. It would be unhelpful if a counsellor believed the information gleaned from such a questionnaire could do more than ‘flag up’ areas for consideration. For example, satisfaction ratings have their limitations as clients may have such low expectations of the counselling process that their high rating would not truly reflect the quality of counselling or the degree of change achieved. A client may have liked their counsellor and therefore find it difficult (even after counselling) to be assertive, therefore rating the counsellor more highly.

Reflective practice can take many forms from those that are based on only monitoring the counsellor’s internal work to techniques which attempt to employ external evaluation and feedback. Whatever the techniques used, reflective and evaluative processes help the counsellor become a better practitioner, the clients receive better counselling, the counselling world learn more about the needs of individuals and the counsellor remain curious about their practice and its effects.

Previous posts in this series:

Reflective Practice and Self-Evaluation
Keeping a Professional Development Log
Reflecting Through Counselling Supervision


Sanders, P, Liptrot, D (1993), Research Methods & Data Collection for Counsellors, An Incomplete Guide Series, Manchester : PCCS Books
Bayne, R, Horton, I, Merry, T, Noyes, E, McMahon, G (1999), (2nd Ed) The Counsellor’s Handbook – A Practical A-Z Guide to Professional and Clinical Pracice, London: Chapman & Hall

Reflecting Through Counselling Supervision

The use of Counselling Supervision is another way in which counsellors reflect upon practice. Although Counselling Supervision has become a professional requirement it is welcomed by many counsellors as a rich source of support, learning, understanding and space for reflection and evaluation (Carroll, 1996).  For the purposes of this article emphasis is placed on the processes

Keeping a Professional Development Log

Most counsellor training courses require counselling students to keep a professional development log. Such a log could include details on training, aspects arising from supervision or of practice which the counsellor felt of importance.  A professional development log helps the counsellor focus on individual practitioner experiences (Wilkins, 1997).   In addition, some counsellors use audio

Reflective Practice and Self-Evaluation

Reflective practice and self-evaluation take many forms. Reflecting on work with clients directly after a session has ended, on areas of counsellor strengths and weaknesses, on personal motives for engaging in counselling (McMahon, 1994) on gender and sexuality (Davies, Neal 1996) on personal counselling philosophy and theoretical approaches and on the relevance of research and

Developing a personal passion for evaluation

Recording client work helps me to analyse the work I actually do with clients rather than the work I ‘think’ I do.  Listening to the recording as well as sharing the contents with my counselling supervisor are also ways in which evaluation takes place. Some people may wonder why I have not mentioned the need

Getting Feedback from Clients is Essential

Undertaking regular reviews with clients is another way of evaluating progress as well as our relationship.  My review usually goes along the lines of asking the client to evaluate where they started (in terms of how they felt/initial presenting problem(s)), where they feel they are now (progress to date) and where they would like to

Is Evaluation Relevant for Counsellors?

I find it hard to understand why evaluation is seen in such a negative light by so many counsellors.  Is it good enough to simply ‘be there’ for the client?  If it is, how do we know that to be true?  What mechanism(s) do we employ at a personal level to validate our work? Apart

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