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The Competency Profile for Counselling Therapists

Introduction and acknowledgements

The Competency Profile for Counselling Therapists was first developed in British Columbia over the period May 2004 – May 2006. It was revised in 2007 following a national consultation and validation process.

Psychotherapy Trainting

This 2016 update was undertaken by the Federation of Associations of Counselling Therapists in British Columbia (FACTBC) collectively representing over 4200 counsellors and therapists who practice in British Columbia. The profile was validated through a comprehensive online survey involving the memberships of its member associations as of the date of the survey:

  • American Association of Pastoral Counsellors (B.C. chapter)
  • Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada
  • Association of Registered Clinical Hypnotherapists
  • British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors
  • British Columbia Art Therapy Association
  • British Columbia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Canadian Art Therapy Association
  • Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (B.C. chapter)
  • Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (B.C. chapter)
  • Music Therapy Association of British Columbia
  • Professional Association of Christian Counsellors and Psychotherapists (B.C. chapter)

The profile was revised by a committee of experienced counsellors, therapists and educators, assisted by a consultant in competency-based workplace standards.¹ In its work, the committee considered a wide array of available documentation² and drew heavily upon the expertise of its members.

The term “entry-to-practice” as used in this document, and the intended point of application of the competency profile, is the point of entry of a counselling therapist into independent professional practice (this follows any mandatory period of supervision that may be required by a member association prior to full registration).

Entry-Level Proficiency

The following statement characterizes the level of proficiency in the competencies expected at entry-to-practice:

When presented with commonly occurring practice situations, the entry-level Counselling Therapist applies relevant competencies in a manner consistent with generally accepted standards in the profession, independently, and within a reasonable timeframe. The entry-level Counselling Therapist selects and applies competencies in an informed manner, anticipates what outcomes to expect in a given situation, and responds appropriately.

The entry-level Counselling Therapist recognizes unusual, difficult to resolve and complex situations, and takes appropriate steps to address them based on ethics and standards of practice; this includes seeking consultation or supervision, reviewing research literature, and referring the client.

Structural Framework

The competency profile includes 125 competencies organized under functional headings within four practice areas as follows:

Area 1. Foundations
1.1 Human functioning
1.2 Theoretical framework
1.3 Mental health
1.4 Awareness of self
1.5 Diversity

Area 2. Communication and relationships
2.1 Communication
2.2 Relationships
2.3 Collaborative practice and referral

Area 3. Professionalism
3.1 Legal and regulatory compliance
3.2 Ethics
3.3 Self-care and safety
3.4 Reflective practice
3.5 Records
3.6 Business practices
3.7 Third party support
3.8 Reports to third parties
3.9 Supervision
3.10 Collegial consultation

Area 4. Counselling Therapy Process
4.1 Orientation
4.2 Assessment
4.3 Therapeutic relationship
4.4 Therapeutic process
4.5 Closure

The competencies listed in the profile should be regarded as an integrated set of abilities, each competency informing and qualifying the others; competencies are not intended to be used in isolation. They do not constitute a protocol for the practice of counselling therapy.

For detailed description of the skill sets involved in each of the above areas of competency, refer to www.FACT AB Competency Profile

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