Core Competency Glossary

Core Competency Glossary
Definitions have been taken from Sperry, L. (2010). Core competencies in counseling and
psychotherapy: Becoming ahighly competent and effective therapist. New York: Routledge.
Competence: The consistent and judicious use of knowledge, technical skills, clinical
reasoning, emotions, values and reflection in clinical practice.
Competency: The capacity for critical thinking, analysis, and professional judgment in
assessing a situation and making clinical decisions based on that assessment. Furthermore, it is
the capacity to integrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes and apply these capacities in clinical
practice. Competency can be evaluated by professional standards and developed through
training and reflection.
Clinical Competencies: Are composed of 3 interrelated components—knowledge, skills and
attitudes—which are essential for effective professional practice.
Knowledge: Conceptual, technical and interpersonal information largely facilitated by lectures,
presentation, discussion and reading.
Skills: A capability that has been acquired through training but does not have knowledge or
attitudinal components. It is procedural knowledge where the application of declarative
knowledge to the clinical practice and is largely facilitated by clinical experiences and
consultation. It occurs when declarative knowledge becomes actualized in practice and refined.
Attitudes: This component refers to an attitude of benevolence and a desire to promote the
client’s well-being. It involves reflecting on declarative and procedural knowledge and coming to
a decision about a course of action. Various processes are involved: analyzing experience,
comparing them with others, identifying a plan of action as necessary and possibly changing
previous information and insight in the light of the analysis. This learning is facilitated by client
and supervisor feedback of therapist’s performance in addition to their self-evaluation during
training. This is essential to becoming a highly proficiently therapist or an expert.
I. Conceptual Foundation:
Conceptual Foundation: A systematic framework for understanding and guiding the treatment
II. Relationship Building and Maintenance
Therapeutic Alliance: The bond between client and clinician and the mutual agreement upon
goals and tasks.
Readiness: Client’s preparedness, motivation and willingness for change
Treatment-Promoting Factors: Factors that will promote and facilitate the treatment process
Resistance or Noncompliance: This is understood as ambivalence and when it happens in
the therapeutic setting, the therapist must be mindful this is a temporary state rather than a
personality trait
Ambivalence: Is usually manifested as defensive avoidance or a repetitive pattern of negative
interpersonal behaviors.
Transference: The client’s inaccurate transfer of thoughts, feelings, and expectations
about past interpersonal experiences onto the current relationship with the therapist.
Countertransference: The therapist’s inaccurate transfer of thoughts, feelings and
expectations from past experiences onto the current relationship with the client.
Therapeutic Alliance Ruptures: Alliance ruptures are tensions or breakdowns in the
collaborative relationship between client and clinician. It is an interactive process between client
and clinician, and must be distinguished from clinical impasses that emphasize either client
characteristics such as resistance or negative transference, or therapist characteristics such as
empathic failure or countertransference.
III. Intervention Planning
Case Conceptualization: “A clinical strategy for obtaining and organizing information about a
client, explaining the client’s situation and maladaptive patterns, guiding and focusing treatment,
anticipating challenges and roadblocks, and preparing for successful termination (Sperry, 2010,
p. 84).”
Comprehensive Assessment: Obtaining and organizing information about the client’s
problems, goals, and resources.
Diagnostic Formulation: A focused descriptive appraisal of the nature and severity of the
client’s presenting symptoms and current functioning.
Clinical Formulation: A compelling explanation for the client’s presenting problems and
maladaptive patterns.
Treatment Formulation: A statement of treatment goals and focus.
Case Report: A compelling and coherent clinical report that accurately describes the client’s
presentation and case conceptualization along with treatment considerations. The report is a
summary of the information gleaned from the Comprehensive Assessment, Diagnostic
Formulations, Clinical Formulation and Treatment Formulation.
IV. Intervention Implementation
Treatment Focus: The central therapeutic emphasis of a given therapeutic approach. In
EMDR therapy, “to reprocess disturbing life experiences to an adaptive resolution utilizing
Bilateral Stimulation, thereby integrating unassimilated negative information together with
positive information to empower a whole human capable of love and service.” (EMDRIA, 2012)
Treatment Goals: The specific outcomes clients wish to achieve in psychotherapy.
Treatment Strategy: A plan of action specifying methods to achieve the treatment goals.
Therapy-Interfering Factors: Various client, therapist, client-therapist relationship, and
treatment factors that are impediments to treatment progress. Therapy-interfering factors cover
a broad range and may be operative both within and between therapy sessions
V. Intervention Evaluation and Termination
Consultation: The setting or context facilitated by a seasoned, highly effective EMDR therapist
to supplement and enhance the candidate’s learning of knowledge, skills and attitudes
necessary for EMDR therapy treatment. In these sessions the candidate will share information
and receive feedback on a client’s progress in treatment. They will then appropriately modify
the treatment focus and direction based on that feedback [*Note: The term “consultation” will be
used by EMDRIA rather than the term “supervision.”]
VI. Cultural and Ethical Sensitivity
Cultural Formulations: a compelling explanation for the client’s presenting problem and
maladaptive pattern based on a client’s cultural identity and level of acculturation; the level of
impact of cultural factors on client’s personality, functioning and relationships, as well as
determine cultural or culturally sensitive interventions.
Ethically Sound Decisions: Clinical decisions that are based on sound professional, ethical,
and legal criteria. These decisions involves problem identification, information gathering,
analysis, decision-making, and implementation of the ethical decision.
Ethically Sensitive Practice: Involves the ability to perform competently, to ensure
confidentiality, to ensure informed consent, and to minimize conflicts of interest while engaging
in professional services with clients and others.