070 – Contracting in Counselling

Counselling Tutor Podcast 070 – Recording and Transcribing Sessions – Contracting in Counselling – Philosophy of the Cognitive-Behavioural Approach

070 – Transcribing Sessions - Contracting in Counselling - Cognitive-Behavioural Approach

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In episode 70 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes offer tips on recording and transcribing counselling sessions. ‘Practice Matters’ discusses the important contents of a counselling contract. Last, the presenters discuss the philosophy that underlies cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT).

Recording and Transcribing Sessions (starts at 2.05 mins)

Students of counselling and psychotherapy are often required to record and transcribe skills sessions – and to add a commentary that explains your rationale for each response, whether the response was effective, and how you could improve it (if relevant). The task of transcribing can be very long-winded and time-consuming.

Rory and Ken offer various tips on recording and transcribing counselling sessions:

  • Make sure you use a reliable recording device; a solid-state recorder (such as a Zoom H1 or H2) is better than a dictaphone.
  • Before you start transcribing, check your criteria carefully to make sure that you do exactly what’s required for the relevant assignment.
  • You may be able to save time on transcription by using either an online service (e.g. Trint, which is done by machine; or Speechpad, which uses human transcribers) or software (e.g. Dragon).
  • If you do use a transcribing service, think carefully about how this might jeopardise client confidentiality, and ensure you have addressed this fully in your contract.
  • Bear in mind too that transcripts may be inaccurate, so you’ll still need to spend time going through them to make sure they’re right.


Contracting in Counselling (starts at 13.42 mins)

Clause 32 of the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions, published by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (2015), states: ‘We will give careful consideration to how we reach agreement with clients and contract with them about the terms on which our services will be provided.’

It is important to have a contract so that the client has the information they need to make an informed choice, and to help balance the power dynamic in the therapist–client relationship. It is good practice for the contract to be in writing, and to give the client a copy of this to take away with them.

Rory recommends that the contract should cover:

  • modality to be used
  • number of sessions on offer
  • who you will discuss client work with
  • limits of legal and agency confidentiality
  • how to make a complaint if something goes wrong
  • terms and conditions for payment (if relevant)
  • cancellation policy.

You can download Rory’s handout on this topic here, or it is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR).

Free Handout Download

Contracting in Counselling

Philosophy of the Cognitive-Behavioural Approach (starts at 25.50 mins)

It was Albert Ellis who originally developed rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT), which was a precursor of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), developed later by Aaron Beck.

Ellis was strongly influenced by the Greek Stoic philosophers. One of these, Epictetus, was a Greek-born slave of Rome in the first century. He became a great philosopher and teacher, and was eventually granted his freedom. Although he didn’t write down his teachings, which are based in Stoic philosophy, others did. Epictetus is reported as having said: ‘Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.’ This quote appeared (initially in Greek, then later in Latin) in the Enchiridion, which was written by Lucius Flavius Arrianus, a student of Epictetus.

Stoicism taught the development of self-control and fortitude as a way of overcoming destructive emotions; the philosophy held that becoming a clear and unbiased thinker allowed people to understand universal reason. For the Stoic philosophers, ‘reason’ meant not only using logic, but also understanding natural processes. They believed that living according to reason and virtue was living in harmony with the divine order of the universe, in recognition of common reason and everyone’s essential value.



Links and Resources

Counselling Tutor Facebook group

Counselling Tutor website

Counselling Study Resource

Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault

Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide

Free Handout Download

Contracting in Counselling