Launch of the MACP Skills Learning Lab: Guest Post by Dr. Sarah Stewart-Spencer


August 13, 2020

The Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology (MACP) department is proud to announce a new initiative called the Skills Learning Lab, launching in fall 2020. The Skills Learning Lab is open to all active students in the MACP program from their first course to the end of practicum. 

This lab grew out of the MACP Skills-Coaching project that started in winter 2020. We saw a need for more interactive training that addressed the mechanics of specific skills. There are countless skill videos available in the counselling profession, but they often come with a hefty price-tag. This is not a financial burden that we want to place on students. Thus, the first skills-lab video was born! This quickly expanded beyond the mechanics of skills into counseling concepts and core practice tips. 

There are so many great benefits of this lab! First, it serves as a centralized location for all program-related practical application videos, resources, links and interactive practice sessions. This consistency in the curriculum enhances preparedness for practicum, as well as future work with clients. 

Second, the lab does not “close” like standard program courses. It remains open throughout the student’s program. This expands time to digest counsellor-related content at your own pace and offers more flexibility for individual learning styles. While it is open for review, this material is not “extra” for the student. These videos and resources are purposefully placed through the MACP curriculum; linked to assignments and discussion questions. Students can choose to (a) review materials prior to the course, (b) review material only when assigned in an assignment or discussion, and (c) revisit materials after a course. 

Third, this lab aligns with developmental growth cycles of beginning counsellors. Beginning counsellors can grow their theoretical understanding of the material through the course content then deepen practical application of these theories through the lab. With all of these core content areas staying open to students, it also facilitates more connection and a holistic view of these core competencies. 

Fourth, this ever-growing lab will also house other new MACP initiatives, such as our webinar series called MACP Insight and Inspiration.

Our amazing MACP faculty contribute to the lab with presentations, demonstrations and original content. 

Last, this lab serves as a communication platform for MACP. Since all students have access throughout the program, MACP-specific announcements will be shared as needed. This is the only course that all students will have access to throughout their program. A MACP Program communication forum could be included that increases visibility in important announcements and program updates as needed.

This lab was built with accessibility in mind. Each video has closed questioning, speed control and the ability to select a lower video quality (for areas of slower internet). The lab was built for accessibility across all devices! 

We hope that you enjoy this new learning lab – we have truly enjoyed creating it for you.

– Dr. Sarah Stewart-Spencer, Program Director, Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology