Tele-mental Health Training Preps Students Amid Social Restrictions


March 31, 2021

Yorkville University Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology students now have access to custom tele-mental health training modules to instruct them on providing support services to clients remotely.

With the widespread use of virtual meetings due in part to evolving technology and the social restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the time was right to redevelop this important training component.

“Just as other professions have evolved, the pandemic helped us in some ways to evolve into a virtual platform to offer new ways to meet clients and a new way to provide for our communities,” says Dr. Sarah Stewart-Spencer, Yorkville University’s Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences. 

Students now have a valuable new in-house training module to assist them as they prepare for their practicum placement near the completion of their program and well into their professional careers. These training modules are part of the Skills Learning Lab that MACP launched in September 2020.

Sarah Stewart-Spencer photo

Preparing Students For Virtual Space

Through this training, students will learn to apply their area of study in a virtual setting, making it safe and convenient to deliver therapy, counselling or support to clients.

“The reality is with the pandemic, we will never be in a place where virtual tele-mental health is not an option,” says Stewart-Spencer. “We are purposeful in making sure students are prepared for possible virtual practicum placements and for offering virtual services in the future.” 

A total of 19 tele-mental health modules are available for students to access and Stewart-Spencer sees more opportunities for this training. 

“Clients in the community can benefit from the fact that now a counsellor doesn’t just have the competencies but they have the delivery expertise to offer in a virtual way,” she says. 

Adapting To Change

The modules were updated as part of the ever-growing needs of the community, a process that is ongoing at Yorkville, added Stewart-Spencer.

“Any program that is based in counselling should mirror the field,” says Stewart-Spencer. “Whether it’s fresh material or working on new demonstrations (we’re) trying to support our students to be successful not only in their practicum but in their professional lives as a whole.”