CPCAB Model of Counselling Practice

“Counselling was originally founded in the 1940’s as a direct challenge to the traditional medical model – a model that reduces client problems to specific symptoms, each requiring specific treatments. This ‘reductionist’ approach necessarily excludes the context of client problems together with a range of contextual factors that have been shown to be critically important elements of the counselling process.”

CPCAB – the UK’s largest awarding body in the field of counselling and psychotherapy – has developed (starting in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s) a model of helping work and counselling practice. It’s a generic model that underpins most of the qualifications that CPCAB provides and is applicable to all theoretical approaches.

The model integrates key contemporary research from both the counselling field and from other disciplines. Importantly, it focuses on clients and their problems, rather than the different counselling approaches. It also aims to be as student-friendly as possible, whilst still describing the complexity of helping work and counselling practice.





The model has three parts:

  1. Three levels of client problems. This defines the broad categories of client problems for which counselling has proved helpful.
  2. Three dimensions of client problems. This describes how client problems can be best understood, and worked with, in the context within which they arise.
  3. Seven helping and counselling processes. This describes how the process of supporting client change is associated with a range of contextual factors – including those concerning the client, the counsellor and the relationship that they form.

You can find out more about the model in detail from here (download a pdf).

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