Counselling relationships

Order Description

Section 1

a. Summarize the research article on An evaluation of a school counselling service, which you will find at the end of this EMA. (500 words)
b. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the approach to research contained in the article. (1000 words)

Section 2

c. Discuss which understanding of the counselling relationship you feel most drawn to and why. (450 words)

Word limit: 2000 words

NOTE: This assignment has two distinct parts: Section 1 a summary and discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of a published research article, and Section 2 a discussion of your thoughts about different types of counselling relationships (often known as the therapeutic relationship). The distinct parts to this assignment are detailed below, including the way that we would like you to structure the first section into two further distinct parts.

Section 1 Understanding and evaluating research

A Summary of a published research article

For the first part of this assignment (500 words), you are asked to summarise the research paper on An evaluation of a school counselling service, which is provided at the end of this EMA. You will need to read through the article several times and make notes on the main points. Your summary should address the following:

What is the main purpose or aim of the research?
What is the methodology adopted in this study?
What are the main results?
How are the results discussed and what are the main implications and conclusions drawn from the study?

These points will help you to structure your summary. To avoid plagiarism, be careful not to copy and paste from the article, but instead describe and summarise the main information and conclusions from the research in your own words. It is important that your summary of the research article looks different and is written with a different purpose than the synopsis of the research provided by the article abstract. While an abstract usually offers a short (often less than 250 words) but concise preview for the reader of what to expect in a research article, it also aims to sell the article and to make the relevance of the research recognisable for the audience. In contrast, you are asked here to set your own course in describing the key aspects of the research in a more substantial manner (see the bullet points above). This means that your summary should not be restricted to the information provided in the article abstract, but should include issues that you think are important to understand and appraise the presented research and its implications.

Below, you will find an example of how such a summary might look in comparison to the information provided by an abstract of a research article. First, read through the abstract of the research article.

Example abstract

The present study used the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI) and the Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory (BLRI) to examine the nature of the therapeutic alliance in three treatments for depression, Focused Expressive Psychotherapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Supportive/Self-Directed Therapy. Three main findings emerged. First, although intended to measure different aspects of the therapeutic relationship, the WAI, the BLRI, and their subscales were found to intercorrelate highly, indicating that they may all measure essentially the same underlying construct, Strength of the Therapeutic Alliance. Second, as suggested by Strupp, the strength of the therapeutic alliance early in therapy was found to be a good predictor of its strength at the end of therapy. Third, no significant difference was found in the strength of therapeutic alliance among the three forms of therapy. Contrary to what might have been expected, the therapeutic alliance was no weaker in Supportive/Self-Directed Therapy than in Cognitive Therapy or Focused Expressive Psychotherapy.
Reference: Salvio, M. A. et al. (1992) The strength of the therapeutic alliance in three treatments for depression, Psychotherapy Research, vol. 2, no. 1, p. 31.

In contrast, have a look at the following summary, which you will see provides a more detailed account of the initial part of the article (introduction/study aims) and does not simply reproduce the content of the abstract. This is only the start of the summary for the article of course, as it runs to 215 words. The remaining 285 (or so) words would be used to continue the summary of the journal article until all the main elements of the article described in the list above have been covered.

Example summary

The aim of this quantitative study on the therapeutic relationship in psychotherapy for depression was threefold. The first aim was to compare findings from two instruments that are based on different theoretical conceptualisations of the relationship between client and therapist. The Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory measures the degree to which a therapist shows the core conditions from person-centred therapy (empathic understanding, unconditional regard, congruence). The Working Alliance Inventory is derived from the concept of working alliance, defined as the personal bond between client and therapist and their commitment to work together on shared goals and tasks. The second aim was to investigate how the therapeutic relationship develops in the course of the therapy. Thirdly, the study wanted to compare relationship patterns and development across three different therapy forms for depression: focused expressive psychotherapy (a Gestalt-based group therapy), cognitive therapy and supportive/self-directed therapy (with self-help elements). Having two scales in the study can help to establish the discriminatory validity of the instruments (Do they indeed measure two separate constructs? To what degree do they overlap?). However, it can be questioned whether a more open, qualitative research approach (for example, with interviews, observations, etc.) would have been more beneficial to provide insight into the nature of the therapeutic alliance (overall study aim as stated in the article abstract). etc.

B Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of a published research article

For the second part of this assignment (1000 words), you are asked to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the approach to research contained in the article; in other words, to provide some critical evaluation of the quantitative approach to research in counselling. You will see that the article is based on a quantitative approach to research. As such, it relates particularly to the material in Chapter 13 of the module book, Outcome research. Section 13.2, Types of research, provides you with a general overview of the basic characteristics of quantitative studies (in comparison with qualitative research). In discussing how quantitative research is conducted and analysed, you can draw specifically on the material in Section 13.3, Measuring anxiety and depression, Section 13.4, The role of control groups in outcome research, and Section 13.5, Analysing and presenting data. In these sections, you will also find discussions of the possible limitations of a quantitative approach to research: for example, the limited control researchers can realistically have in doing quantitative counselling research (that is, in regard to sample selection or the impact of therapist effects on study findings) or the difficulty of capturing individual meanings with standardised instruments.

In order to consider both the strengths and weaknesses of the quantitative approach, it would be useful to think about the contrast offered by a qualitative approach to research. The information box (Table 13.1) on Qualitative and quantitative research in Chapter 13 Outcome research provides an overview of the key differences between qualitative and quantitative research, and you will find more information about the qualitative approach in Chapter 14 Process research. You will find relevant discussions of the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches throughout Chapters 13 and 14, and research findings from both approaches are also discussed in audio-visual excerpt 20. Be careful not to spend too much of your time comparing and contrasting the two approaches in general keep your focus on the quantitative approach and its strengths and weaknesses.

*Do note that you should use the research article as the foundation of your critical evaluation of the value of a quantitative approach to research. You must engage in a critical discussion of the article itself. But you can and should go beyond the article to discuss broader questions of the value of quantitative versus qualitative research in this section too. *

Section 2 The therapeutic relationship

For this section of the assignment (in the remaining 450 words) you should reflect on which theoretical understanding of the relationship between client and counsellor you feel most drawn to and why. If you look back over the six main approaches to counselling that have been covered in this module, you will appreciate that the different approaches have different ways of understanding the counselling relationship. For example, the classical psychoanalytic approach would see the counselling relationship as a parentchild type relationship, enabling the client to work through early experiences in the here-and-now with the therapist, while the person-centred approach would see it much more as an adultadult relationship in which both parties work together in a relatively equal way to deal with the presenting concerns (for example, see the discussion in Chapter 12, Section 12.3, A relationship typology).

You will want to draw particularly on Chapter 12, The therapeutic relationship, but also on the material throughout the entire module that gives you insight into how different counselling approaches understand and make use of the counselling relationship (especially Chapters 4 to 9 and audio-visual excerpts 5 to 14). You might also reflect on your own practical experiences and how you relate to people, and you should refer to what you have learned throughout the module about the different ways the counselling relationship can be understood. Again, as in TMA 02 and TMA 03, it is appropriate here to use the first person (I) when saying which conceptualisation of the counselling relationship you feel most drawn to and why.

Overall, your assignment should be no more than 1950 words in length and you should structure your assignment into the three sub-sections as above, with subheadings for each section. For this assignment you should not treat it as a traditional essay and you do not need to write a separate introduction and conclusion for the assignment as a whole, just go straight into Part A and end with Part C, with no attempt needed to provide a concluding overview.


On a separate page, we would like you to write a few sentences (not more than 50 words) saying:

what you found interesting about this assignment
what you found difficult about this assignment.

These 50 words are part of the overall word count of the assignment, so make sure you leave enough of the word allocation for this. It should be written in the first person (I found this interesting and I found this difficult ).
Journal article for EMA

McKenzie, K., Murray, G. C., Prior, S. and Stark, L. (2011) An evaluation of a school counselling service with direct links to Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) services, British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 6782.
( i will upload or email you the research paper)
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