247 – Counselling for Adoption

247 – Counselling for Adoption

Petruska Clarkson’s 7 Level Model - Building a Referral Network for Counsellors

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In Episode 247 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, your hosts Rory Lees-Oakes and Ken Kelly are back with this week’s three topics:

  • First in ‘Theory in Practice’ we’ll look at Petruska Clarkson’s 7-level model.
  • Then in ‘Practice Partner’ Rory and Ken discuss how you can begin to build yourself a referral network.
  • And finally in ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with Sam Shiel about counselling for adoption.

Petruska Clarkson’s 7 Level Model [starts at 01:32 mins]

This segment of the Counselling Tutor Podcast is sponsored by


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Petruska Clarkson’s 7 level model is not a hierarchy, but 7 things to keep in mind equally when working with a client.

The key points of this section include:

  • The 7 levels are:
    • Physiological position – how a client feels, their temperament, their temperature etc.
    • Preverbal experience and activity – the client’s attachment style or any emotional gaps.
    • Nominative – labeling experiences and emotions.
    • Normative – collective views and experiences.
    • Rational – examining cause and effect.
    • Theoretical – human beings as storytellers, sharing things.
    • Transpersonal – dreams, faith, and beliefs.
  • When working with base emotions, it's helpful to think of them as emotions you can see even in a baby – is there a repression of these base emotions within your client?
  • These levels speak to the different levels of being a human being.
  • What the client is feeling is engrained into them as part of their physiology.
  • Examples of the normative may be recovery circles – we need to make sure we don’t collide with this scaffolding, instead working to weave into and strengthen this with our therapy.
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Building a Referral Network for Counsellors [starts at 13:19 mins]

A great long-term way to gain clients is through referrals. In this section, Rory and Ken will discuss the ways you may go about building a referral network, and some important things to remember during the process.

The main points of this discussion include:

  • Some of the people you communicate with for referrals may be your past peers who have turned into qualified colleagues, or you may meet fellow counsellors at CPD events – this is all about networking.
  • A referral network is a long-term venture – it requires built up trust from fellow practitioners. It is based upon know, like and trust.
  • This process also requires you to refer out – it is a reciprocal process.
  • You may look to local organisations and agencies – making yourself known, asking about their referral service.
  • Make sure to let people know if you have a specialism.
  • When it comes to a referral from a fellow professional, the client is much more likely to follow through on this referral.
  • Beware of over dependence on one referral source.
  • In order to maintain these relationships, make sure you're making an effort to stay in touch, pick people who have similar values to your own. Find what their preferred method of communication is, be active in the relationship and try remembering things that are important to them.
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Counselling for Adoption [starts at 33:28 mins]

In this week’s ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with Sam Shiel on working with adoption in the therapy room.

The key points of this discussion are:

  • Sam studied DDP training and an adoption support certificate.
  • It is important when counselling an adopted client to be aware of attachment and developmental trauma – most of this trauma happens during the non-verbal stage.
  • Even with happy adoption, the damage could’ve happened beforehand – the maternal bond is broken very early.
  • To provide counselling for adoption, OFSTED registration is required – this is currently not easily available for private practitioners, and you would need to join an organisation.
  • Find yourself a clinical supervisor who is also an adoption support therapist.
  • If a client you are working with reveals they are adopted, you should get in contact with your supervisor or ethical body on what to do next.
  • There are unfortunately a lot of grey areas when it comes to counselling for adoption.

The National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society is proud to sponsor Practice Matters.

NCPS (formerly NCS) are really excited to have launched their Children and Young People Therapist Register for counsellors working with the younger age group.

To find out more, visit nationalcounsellingsociety.org or simply click the button below.

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Petruska Clarkson’s Seven-Level Model

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