Using action research to develop an assessment system in a voluntary sector counselling service
Voluntary sector low and no cost counselling services very often find themselves overwhelmed by clients. This paper describes how one agency decided to deal with this problem by introducing a system of assessment for differential contracts. A piece of action research enabled the development and introduction of a model of assessment that reflected the values of the agency. The guiding principle of the assessment was that the client's way of managing in the world was the best guide to clinical need. The different lengths of contract are described, together with the criteria for deciding which might be appropriate for a client. The model was introduced on the understanding that it could and would be continuously monitored. The reactions of counsellors and clients that were gathered in a review of the working of the model a year later are described.