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Certificate in Applied Counselling Studies Specializing in Counselling Therapy

Take your training to the next level… This advanced area of specialization is geared to post-diploma students, and professional counsellors who wish to incorporate techniques used by Counselling Therapists into their scope of practice.

Psychotherapy Trainting What is a Counselling Therapist?

An entry-level Counselling Therapist is prepared to assist clients with low to moderate levels of emotional, cognitive and behavioral distress. While similar in scope of practice to a professional counsellor, a Counselling Therapist has a broader level of training to include areas of knowledge and skills as outlined in the Competency Profile for Counselling Therapy. ( For description of the skill sets, refer to information listed here Entry to Practice Competency Profile )

Requirements to enroll in the Specialized Certificate:

Pre-requisites: Completion of KCPC’s Diploma in Applied Psychology and Counselling (or equivalent degree); or completion of additional coursework to meet the pre-requisite requirements.

Pre-requisite courses for applicants who do not have a diploma or degree in Counselling:

Required courses for the Counselling Therapy Certificate:

After the satisfying the pre-requisites, completion of the following four advanced courses, (each three weeks in length) is required.

While completing their coursework, students are required to volunteer or work in a mental health setting for 15 hours per month.

Certificate Courses in a nutshell:

Multi-Cultural Competence (MCC-400)
Discussion topics: The importance of understanding cultural diversity and barriers related to the client’s religion, race, gender, socio-economic class, and sexual preference will be addressed.
Skills: You learn to administer a cultural assessment to target areas of diversity. You explore your own cultural roots and uncover any cultural biases which impact your ability to practice as a culturally sensitive and competent counsellor.

Introduction to Clinical Psychopharmacology (ICP-600)
Discussion topics: identify scope of practice; clusters of symptoms related to DSM diagnostic criteria; neurobiology and the use of psychotropic medication related to treatment planning; and when and how to request a medication evaluation
Skills: You learn to recognize symptoms indicative of a referral for psychotropic medication; formulate speculative diagnoses and treatment plans;  compose referral letters for medication evaluation and other types of professional correspondence. 

Challenges of Clinical Practice, I ( CCP I-600)

Discussion topics: the importance of incorporating ethics, researched outcomes, multiculturalism, and social responsibility into the foundations of clinical practice.
Skills: You discover personal insights by completing a series of self-awareness exercises related to the challenges of becoming a therapist: explore your own hopes, fears, and expectations to help build a personally satisfying career plan, and counter the potential for burnout.

Challenges of Clinical Practice, II ( CCP II-600)

Thesis/Research Project: you design a thesis proposal using APA guidelines. The end result will refine your writing skills and research abilities, while establishing ‘evidence-based’ support for your own unique approach to therapy.

Skills learned in the advanced Counselling Therapy courses:

  • Determining the efficacy of your therapeutic approach
  • Applying refined assessment skills, strategic treatment planning, and knowledge of neuro biology and psychopharmacology as applied to DSM V disorders
  • Incorporating ethics and multiculturalism into methods of best practice
  • Professional writing skills based on APA guidelines
  • Applications of evidence-based research into clinical practice
  • Use of ‘self’, personality, insights, perceptions, and judgments to strengthen therapeutic alliance and efficacy of the treatment process .
  • Integrating the benefits of supervision into growth as a practitioner.
  • Dealing with the personal and professional challenges of building a therapy practice

NOTE: Provincial requirements for use of the title ‘Counsellor Therapist’ differ province by province. Please check your home province, or the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association website for restrictions that may apply. https://www.cpca-rpc.ca/regulatory-colleges~.aspx

Can I practice as a ‘professional counsellor’ in Canada without specializing in Counselling Therapy? Yes…

  • After graduation from an accredited training program, professional counsellors practicing under clinical supervision may obtain liability insurance, and apply for designation through professional associations, or a voluntary regulatory college.
  • Even though some provinces restrict use of the title ‘Counselling Therapist’ to registered practitioners only, unregistered counsellors who are members of a professional association or regulatory college may be permitted to provide certain types of mental health services that fall within their scope of training and ethical standards.

The specialization in Counselling Therapy is offered through KCPC’s Certificate in Applied Counselling Studies program. This program conforms to ethical guidelines and competency standards established by the Ministry of Advanced Education in BC; the Competency Profile for Counselling Therapists; the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association, (CPCA); Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists, (ACCT); and the Canadian College of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists (CCPCP).


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