Critical evaluation of skills

Overview of the assessment task

You are required to conduct and video-record a 30-minute practice counselling session in order to demonstrate a range of micro-counselling skills and your skills in managing the therapeutic process. In a 2000-word critical evaluation you will be required to watch your own video and critically evaluate your performance of your chosen skills. Both the video and the critical evaluation will be submitted for marking.

Counselling session

You are required to conduct and video-record a practice counselling session with a colleague, friend or family member who can act as your client. Advise your ‘client’ that they can talk about a real issue, but not one that is too lengthy or distressing for them. The session should be approximately 30 minutes in length and needs to be an audiovisual recording. That is, there needs to be clear sound and video.

At the start of the video counselling session state your name, the unit, the term, year and the name of your educator. The recording must be submitted for marking.

Skills to demonstrate in the counselling session

A range of micro-counselling skills and process skills will be discussed in both lectures and in synchronous sessions during the term so that students have a clear understanding of the skills they may wish to demonstrate in their videos.

It is expected that by demonstrating a range of these skills, you will also show evidence of empathy, rapport and therapeutic alliance with your client. These outcomes will be assessed in the marking criteria.

Please remember
that you do not necessarily have to demonstrate all possible skills in your video. Similarly in your evaluation you do not need to evaluate all the skills that you demonstrated in the video. Just pick a variety of skills (perhaps 3 or 4) that you can adequately evaluate in the word count provided.

Critical evaluation

After completing your video practice session you must critically evaluate the skills you used or attempted to use. This evaluation should include the following:

• reference to academic literature that introduces/describes the importance and role of the skills you have chosen to demonstrate (12 academic references minimum, not older than 14 years)

• personal reflection/evaluation of your performance in demonstrating these skills on the video (what have you done well and what can you improve on next time). Give some reasons as to why you believe you have demonstrated a skill well or not so well (e.g. was the process of therapy strengthened or weakened by the choices you made in the session?)

• when evaluating skills from the video, make reference to the time period at which the skill is demonstrated on the video. For example, if you were evaluating how you have demonstrated paraphrasing in your video you could add ‘(as demonstrated at 3:15 mins on the video)’. This will assist your educator to see the specific example to which you are referring

• if you wish to highlight something you said, provide verbatim examples as part of your evaluation. Please use ‘inverted commas’ to highlight verbatim examples, but avoid providing long transcripts of dialogue – just provide the important sentence(s)

 Structure for the critical evaluation

The critical evaluation should include:

1. an introduction that clearly outlines the aim and process of the critical evaluation

a) a body of text that provides:

b) a brief description of the client’s presenting issues (approx. one paragraph)

c) a summary of the session and a statement of your aims as the counsellor in approaching the session

d) an evaluation of the micro-skills and process management skills that you have demonstrated or attempted to demonstrate in the video

i) The evaluation should include discussion of relevant literature and theory relating to the skills under focus.

ii) The evaluation should include reflection on skill performance including verbatim examples, the time on the video when the skill is attempted/demonstrated, and suggestions for how the skill could be improved and what outcome might be expected.

2. a conclusion that summarises the main points from the assignment

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