Book: Assessment Procedures for Counsellors and Helping Professionals

Book Title:

Assessment Procedures for Counsellors and Helping Professionals.

Author(s): Carl Sheperis, Robert Drummond, and Karyn Jones.

Year: 2019.

Edition: Ninth (9th).

Publisher: Pearson.

Type(s): Paperback.


A classic textbook for aspiring counsellors, now updated and expanded to improve its usefulness and relevance for practicing counsellors.

Since its first publication in 1988, Assessment Procedures for Counsellors and Helping Professionals has become a classic among assessment textbooks designed specifically for aspiring counsellors. Now in its 9th Edition, the text includes extensive changes to content and updating throughout, while maintaining its popular, easy-to-read format and continuing emphasis on assessment information that is most useful and relevant for school counsellors, marriage and family therapists, mental health counsellors, and other helping professionals. Throughout the text, readers get invaluable information and examples about widely used assessment instruments in order to become familiar with these well-known tests.


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Peer Support Training Completed

Happy to report that I have completed my Peer Support Training with FVA (Fife Voluntary Action) and LA Co-reflection.

A big thank you to Lisa Archibald (LA) and Trish O’Brien (FVA).


We learned about and discussed the following:

  • Session 01, Introduction:
    • History of peer support and where it came from.
    • Peer support values.
  • Session 02, Relationships:
    • Relational dynamics, and how we might get stuck.
    • What do positive relationships feel like?
  • Session 03, What Do We Fell and Need:
    • Mutuality in relationships.
    • Having intentional conversations.
    • What parts of my life story do I want to share.
  • Session 04, Connections and Endings:
    • Forming connections and commonalities.
    • How do you move forwards from a disconnection?
    • Reconnection.
    • Endings in relationships.


The course was delivered over a total of 10 hours (4 x 2.5 hours sessions on separate days).


The course was delivered via zoom with tutor-led theory and discussions, as well as group-led small group work (2-3 persons).

What Did I Learn

Things I learned during the course include:

  • The importance of building a connection within a peer support relationship, and understanding how commonalities can aid this.
  • Understand and appreciate that some relationships are not meant to be, and how to communicate this.
  • Peer support is a negotiation and two-way process, both the helper and helpee get something out of the relationship.
  • How to reconnect if there is disconnect.
  • Ensuring that the helpee has the opportunity to expression what they hope to achieve from peer support.
  • Periodic review of the peer support relationship – to ensure it is progressing towards its stated aims (see point above).
  • Peer support should be honest and open.
  • Discuss boundaries and limits at the start of the relationship.
  • Negotiate what is comfortable and why (e.g. comfortable with a hand shake but not a hug) (see point above).
  • How to reframe questions or statements, and why we do this.

What is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology?

The degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy/DClinPsych/ClinPsyD) is a professional doctorate in clinical psychology, awarded mainly in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The degree has both clinical and research components, and qualifies the holder to practice as a clinical psychologist in Britain’s National Health Service and other clinical settings.

It bears some similarities to the Doctor of Psychology degree in the United States.


In Denmark the corresponding degree is called “specialpsykolog” (Special Psychologist) or “specialist i **” (Specialist Psychologist in **).

In the Netherlands the corresponding degree is “gezondheidszorgpsycholoog” (Healthcare Psychologist).

In Spain, the postgraduate training in Clinical Psychology is carried out as 4 years intern residence within the National Health System and the title obtained is “Especialista en Psicología Clínica [Specialist in Clinical Psychology]”, usually abbreviated “EPC”.

In Italy, postgraduate training leading to the professional licence to practice as a psychotherapist is carried out as a 5-year programme involving 400 hours of theoretical training and 400 hours of clinical practicum every year. Trainees are attached to clinical units of the Italian national health system and are required to spend part of their training carrying out research and defend their specialization thesis before an academic board, which will consider the conferment of the title of “specialista” in psychotherapy. Four different specialist degrees lead to the license as a psychotherapist: Specialist in Clinical Psychology, Specialist in Health Psychology, Specialist in Lifespan Psychology and Specialist in Neuropsychology.

In Ireland doctoral programmes in Clinical Psychology are accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland. Irish universities offering professional doctoral programmes in Clinical Psychology include Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, and University College Cork,

In the United Kingdom, doctoral programmes in Clinical Psychology are accredited by the British Psychological Society and approved by the Health and Care Professions Council, the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists and courses in the UK. The doctorate in clinical psychology programme normally lasts three years, and funding is provided by the National Health Service. A Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is necessary to register as a practitioner clinical psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council.

British universities offering professional doctoral programmes in Clinical Psychology include the University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of Hertfordshire, Lancaster University, University of East London, University of Sheffield, University of Liverpool, University College London, Newcastle University, Queen’s University Belfast, and the University of Oxford. There is a central clearinghouse for applications to Doctor of Clinical Psychology programmes, hosted by the University of Leeds. Information and discussion about the UK system of training in clinical psychology, the typical requirements needed to gain a place on a doctoral training course, and what the doctorate allows graduates to do can be found on the ClinPsy website and forum.

What is a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)?


The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) is a professional doctoral degree intended to prepare graduates for careers that apply scientific knowledge of psychology and deliver empirically based service to individuals, groups and organisations.

Earning the degree was originally completed through one of two established training models for clinical psychology. However, Psy.D. programmes are no longer limited to Clinical Psychology as several universities and professional schools have begun to award professional doctorates in Business Psychology, Organisational Development, Forensic Psychology, Counselling Psychology, and School Psychology.

It bears some similarities to the Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree in the United Kingdom.

Refer to Bachelor of Psychology and Master of Psychology.


The initial guidelines for the education and training of clinical psychologists were established in 1949 at an American Psychological Association (APA)-sponsored Conference on Training in Clinical Psychology in Boulder, Colorado. Students would be prepared both to conduct experimental research and apply knowledge for clinical practice. This approach became known as the scientist-practitioner model, although it is often referred to as the Boulder model since the conference was held in Boulder, Colorado.

The difficulty integrating the education and training for both research and practice within the same degree has been long recognised. While the scientist-practitioner model ostensibly included clinical training, many argued that preparation for practice was often neglected. Some also argued that in trying to train students in both research and practice, not enough emphasis was placed on either. In regard to research, the most common number of publications by graduates of PhD. programmes was zero. In regard to practice, students were not being trained effectively for the needs of people seeking services.

While the scientist-practitioner model “stood intransigent and impervious through the 1950s and 60s”, the APA attempted to respond to pressure for more and better clinical training by forming the Committee on the Scientific and Professional Aims of Psychology in 1963. The Committee concluded that the scientist-practitioner model failed to do either of the jobs for which it was designed and recommended several important changes, including: establishing separate practice-oriented programmes, potentially in locations other than university psychology departments; developing a practice-oriented training model; and using the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) degree to designate preparation for clinical practice. The Committee’s conclusions and recommendations met with controversy. In particular, opponents said a different degree would impact the field’s prestige and ignore science. Proponents, however, argued it would be informed by science and that other practice-oriented healthcare disciplines, such as medicine, had well-respected professional degrees.

In 1973, the APA sponsored the Conference on Levels and Patterns of Training in Vail, Colorado. Conference members concluded that psychological knowledge had matured sufficiently to warrant creating distinct practice-oriented programmes. Members also concluded that if the education and training for practice differs from research, then different degrees should reflect that: when emphasis is on preparing students for providing clinical services, the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) degree should be awarded; when the focus is on preparing students for conducting experimental research, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree should be awarded. This approach became known as the practitioner-scholar model, also known as the Vail model. Graduates of both training models would be eligible for licensure in all jurisdictions in the United States, and the licensing exams and renewal requirements would be the same for both degrees.

With the creation of the Doctor of Psychology degree, the APA confirmed that the Psy.D. is a credential that certifies attainment of the knowledge and skill required to establish clinical psychology as a profession. Furthermore, it follows the policies of both the Association of American Universities, and the Council of Graduate Schools: a professional doctorate (e.g., M.D., DDS, DVM) is awarded in recognition of preparation for professional practice, whereas the PhD. is awarded in recognition of preparation for research.

Education and Clinical Training

The practice of clinical psychology is based on an understanding of the scientific method and behavioural science. The focus of the Doctor of Psychology training model is on the application of this knowledge for direct clinical intervention. This includes the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, as well as cognitive and emotional impairments in which psychological approaches may be of use. Compared to PhD., the doctor of psychology is focused toward more clinical work as opposed to the research focus of a doctor of philosophy in psychology.

Doctor of Psychology programmes take four to seven years to complete. Students in these programmes receive a broad and general education in scientific psychology and evidence-based treatment. Course work includes: Biological bases of behaviour; cognitive-affective bases of behaviour; social-cultural bases of behaviour; lifespan development; assessment and diagnosis; treatment and intervention; research methods and statistics; and ethical and professional standards. Specialised training (e.g. neuropsychology, forensic psychology, psychodynamic psychology) is also available in some programmes.

Students in doctoral psychology programmes receive extensive clinical training through placements in various settings (e.g. community mental health centres, hospitals, juvenile hall, college counselling centres). These placements provide direct patient contact that is supervised by a licensed psychologist. Clinical training culminates in a 1,750-2,000 hour (1-year full-time or 2-year half-time) supervised internship.

In order to complete the Psy.D. degree, students typically must demonstrate several competencies:

  • Knowledge mastery through passing comprehensive exams;
  • Clinical skill through successful completion of a pre-doctoral internship; and
  • Scholarship through a doctoral research project.

Regional accreditation is available to doctoral programmes in clinical psychology.

The doctoral degree allows for a broader range of career options in schools, private or independent practice, clinics, hospitals, or research/academia. Individuals with doctoral degrees may experience greater eligibility for various credentials.

As stated above, there are three different doctoral degrees for school psychology, PhD., Psy.D., and Ed.D. Career options for those with a PhD. may include being a school psychologist with a license at any level (preschool, primary, secondary or after), a professor for school psychology graduate students and/or screening for possible recruits for a school psychology programme or a postdoctoral resident. Overall, those with a PhD. have more opportunities for leadership positions. Those with this degree can work in settings other than schools. Those with a PhD. are more likely to create student development workgroups and review proposals for conventions. They have been known to become editors for Best Practices, work with the editors in chief of journals, members of the NASP Communique Editorial Board, reviewers for the National School Psychology Certification Board and part of NASP’s Social Justice Committee. Some school psychologists choose to continue practicing in a K-12 setting but encourage more trained school staff for professional development, i.e. for functional behavioural assessments and behaviour intervention plans. Those who have obtained a PhD. have a greater opportunity to conduct comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations for educational and forensic purposes, review medical/legal records for forensic evaluations, and see clients for therapy. These individuals may even develop new rating scales to the field. Those with this degree have the opportunity to be recognised as a member of the American Psychological Association.

Career options for those who attain an Ed.D. may include becoming a university professor, creating school policy, focusing on administration, educational technology and district-wide leadership, and assisting in adult education, curriculum and instruction. Overall these areas can be broken up into three subgroups; research and academia, management and influence. If the individual chose to be involved in research and academia they could teach at public/private universities and conduct/publish research. The knowledge and experience gained through the doctorate program is imperative in having a successful career in academia. A doctorate is not required for management in some school districts; however, the degree, experience, and education can help in competitive positions. All of the experience and knowledge acquired helps with understanding education from a different perspective.

Psy.D. training has a clinical emphasis compared to PhD., and focusing on delivering psychological services directly to individuals or groups. This allows school psychologists to learn more about mental health. This degree usually takes four to six years to attain. Once the Psy.D. is earned the school psychologist becomes eligible for licensure as a psychologist from an APA approved programme. Psy.D. career options may include private practice, working in university based settings (undergraduate teaching or other practitioner scholar Psy.D programmes), working in community based mental health centres (i.e. behavioural health, disorders), working in outpatient settings- clinics for individual or group therapy, or working for juvenile justice programmes (work with incarcerated youth). It is recommended to work in the field before pursuing a school psychology doctoral degree.

Doctoral training programmes may be approved by NASP and/or accredited by the American Psychological Association. In 2007, approximately 125 programmes were approved by NASP, and 58 programmes were accredited by APA. Another 11 APA-accredited programmes were combined (clinical/counselling/school, clinical/school, or counselling/school).


A license to practice as a clinical psychologist is required in the United States. While specific requirements vary by jurisdiction, every state mandates:

  • Successful completion of either a 1-year full-time or 2-year half-time supervised clinical internship totalling 1,750-2,000 hours; and
  • Passing the national and state licensing exams.

Most states also require an additional postdoctoral year of supervised training after earning the doctorate, in order to become eligible to take the national and state licensing exams.

Maryland and Washington have removed the one year postdoctoral experience in place of requiring two years of supervised experience, both of which can be completed prior to graduation. In February 2006, the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives adopted a statement recommending that this change also be made to the licensing requirements of other states since the nature of training has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. Previously, doctoral-level students accrued most of their clinical hours during internship and postdoctoral fellowships. Now, students accrue most of their clinical hours in the course of their training and internship. Thus, they are ready to begin practice upon graduation. Next, there are considerably fewer positions available for recent graduates and providing the training before graduation facilitates early career psychologists.

Licensing Exam

In the United States, a doctoral degree from a programme acceptable to the licensing board is required, including the PhD., Psy.D., and Ed.D. are among the doctorate degrees that make individuals eligible to sit for the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP; CA Board of Psychology). The EPPP is the national licensing examination and its completion is required in order for one to obtain a license to practice psychology.

While there is an increasing number of university-based Psy.D. programmes, many Psy.D. programmes are at newer professional schools of psychology.

Certificate: Level 3 in Understanding Mental Health

This qualification will:

  • Focus on the study of mental health and mental well-being to support different occupational areas; and
  • Offer breadth and depth of study, incorporating a key core of knowledge and understanding.

The objectives of this qualification are to help learners to understand:

  • Mental health legislation, services and public attitudes and how these have evolved;
  • How to support mental well-being through various stages of life;
  • Mental ill health, treatment options available and the potential consequences of mental ill health; and
  • The skills required to work in a mental health service.

I actually completed the course in November 2019 but coronavirus delayed external moderation!

You read more about the qualification here.

Book: Becoming an Addictions Counselor


Book Title:

Becoming an Addictions Counselor: A Comprehensive Text.

Author(s): Peter L. Myers and Norman R. Salt.

Year: 2018.

Edition: Fourth (4th).

Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.


Becoming an Addictions Counselor, Fourth Edition provides evidence-based findings, cutting-edge treatment techniques, and a focus on critical thinking to show future counsellors how to respond to clients’ needs rather than impose “cookie-cutter” routines.

Completed my Level 2 Certificate in Information, Advice or Guidance


The Level 2 Information, Advice or Guidance (IAG) qualification has been developed for learners working in this field to share good practice and build confidence in their ability to effectively fulfil their role as providers of advice and guidance.

What is the Level 2 Certificate in Information Advice or Guidance?

UK employers are often interested in candidates who can demonstrate an understanding of the importance of interacting appropriately with customers, clients and colleagues.

By studying the level 2 Information, Advice or Guidance (IAG) course, individuals will gain an in-depth understanding of the key areas associated with providing effective IAG, including signposting, referrals, record keeping, confidentiality and communication/listening techniques.


The IAG qualification will help learners to develop an understanding of the requirements of the IAG practice and aid them in guiding those that they are supporting to make informed choices.

  • Unit 1: IAG in Practice:
    • In this unit, individuals will learn about the various differences between IAG and the requirements of different clients and how these are best met.
    • It will also help individuals to gain in-depth knowledge of the boundaries and responsibilities present when offering IAG, including signposting, referrals and record keeping.
  • Unit 2: Developing Interaction Skills for IAG:
    • Within this unit, individuals will discover how to interact with clients, executing appropriate and effective questioning techniques, listening skills and non-verbal communication.
    • They will also gain knowledge of the impact of values, beliefs and attitudes on any interactions individuals may encounter, as well as the importance of confidentiality and impartiality.
  • Unit 3: Signposting and Referral in IAG:
    • In this unit, individuals will gain an understanding of the difference between signposting and referrals – when it is appropriate to refer or signpost an individual organisation’s procedures.
    • Employees will also gain knowledge of good practice when signposting and referring, including recording, monitoring and evaluating.
  • Unit 4: IAG in Context:
    • Within this unit, individuals will gain an understanding of IAG in the context of their own practice and a specific group of clients – exploring different ways of assisting clients to explore and make choices.
    • Knowledge on discriminatory practices and behaviours affecting specific client groups, as well as potential barriers and how to overcome them, are explored within this unit.
  • Unit 5: Skills for Advice Providers:
    • This unit provides individuals with an understanding of the purpose and process of an advice interview, examining the relationship between client and advisor, the advisor’s role, stages of the advice interview and how to ensure client confidentiality.
    • A key part of this section is gaining knowledge of social policy in advice work, negotiating effectively on a client’s behalf and support and action planning.

Learning Methods

This course will take approximately twenty (20) weeks to complete and consists of five (5) written assessments.

Each individual is required to give written responses to an assessment booklet. This can be either handwritten in the booklet itself or completed using an electronic template of the booklet.

Individuals will be required to submit five (5) assessments each taking approximately four (4) weeks to complete.