VQ03 Skills Acquisition and Practice

This is an extract of the full specification, which you can download from this page.

This unit introduces the candidate to counselling, its ethos and methodology, and enables the development of a number of fundamental counselling skills. It will help candidates to use counselling skills with the boundaries of professional guidelines on ethics and practice in counselling.

The aims of the unit are to help candidates:

  • identify and practise a defined range of counselling skills
  • understand the importance of the Therapeutic Alliance
  • understand Health and Safety issues to safeguard both the 'Counsellor' and the 'Client'.
  • demonstrate self-awareness and reflection in the use of counselling skills
  • understand the importance of using counselling skills ethically and within BACP's 'Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy' (2010)   

Learning outcomes

The learner will be able to:

Assessment criteria

The learner can:

1. Initiate a helping interaction

1.1 Appreciate the meaning of the term Counselling Skills

1.2 Know the place of skills on a helping continuum

1.3 Understand how counselling skills relate to helping as a process

1.4 Identify and demonstrate Active Listening Skills

1.5 Be aware of potential health and safety risks to counsellor and client

1.6 Describe actions necessary to safeguard self and client where potential risks to health and safety are high

2. Develop and maintain the helping relationship


2.1 Identify and describe some of the key concepts from the three 'roots' of counselling (Humanistic, Cognitive-Behavioural, Psychodynamic)

2.2 Understand the need to move helping interviews forward

2.3 Identify positive and negative ways of moving the helping relationship forward

2.4 Identify and demonstrate the skills needed to develop and maintain the helping relationship

2.5 Identify appropriate actions in maintaining the safety of both 'counsellor' and 'client'


Conclude a helping interaction using counselling skills


3.1 Understand that endings are an integral part of the helping process

3.2 Understand the significance of goal and target setting in bringing a helping interaction to a close

3.3 Demonstrate the ability to conduct an empathic interview using the appropriate helping skills required to conclude a helping interaction

3.4 Understand that endings are an opportunity for growth