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Course Descriptions

Official descriptions of courses are located in the Academic Calendar. While every effort is made to ensure that the list below is current, in the event of disagreement between descriptions below and those in the calendar, those in the calendar are authoritative.

The following courses are offered in the Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology program.

PSYC6104 A Biopsychosocial Approach to Counselling

The biopsychosocial approach is applicable to health/mental health disciplines including psychology, social work, nursing, and medicine. This course examines application of a biopsychosocial model to professional counselling psychology. It looks at both the need for it, and its systems and ethical foundations in the Canadian context. The course considers a biopsychosocial approach to assessment, treatment, outcomes evaluation, and prevention. To illustrate, it examines biopsychosocial factors contributing to development and treatment/management of selected counselling problems, such as anxiety and depression, with particular emphasis on neurocognitive factors often underemphasized in traditional counselling approaches to these problems.

(4 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6113 Theories of Personality

This course is a survey of the field of personality. Topics will include psychometric and assessment concerns. The course will cover the classics of personality theory such as the Psychoanalytic, Behavioural and Humanistic. This course will also cover the modern perspectives of Cognitive, Trait, and Positive Psychology.

(3 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6123 Psychological Assessment

Far beyond “test and tell,” psychological assessment within the context of counselling is a complex and integrative process. This course is grounded in a philosophical perspective that effective and ethical assessment is collaborative, ongoing, informed by multiple sources, culturally appropriate, and integrated into counselling practice. Through case studies, readings, experiential learning, and interactive discussions, formal and informal assessment principles, tools, models, and processes are introduced to support assessment of normal and abnormal functioning, educational aptitude and achievement, career and vocational decision-making, and counselling progress/client change. Integrating and effectively interpreting results from informal assessment processes as well as standardized psychometric tools will be emphasized.

(3 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6153 Counselling Methodologies – Psychodynamic and Humanistic Modalities

Counselling Methodologies: Psychodynamic and Humanistic Modalities (PSYC 6153) is a review of the most important contemporary psychodynamic and humanistic approaches of counselling and psychotherapy, focusing on: underlying philosophical assumptions, major concepts, views of personality, the therapeutic process, the counsellor's role, typical interventions, and targeted outcomes. The current approaches to counselling and psychotherapy selected for this course will also be explored with respect to the relations between theorists and their theories, as well as between counsellors and their clients. Cross-cultural and gender-related aspects will be considered for each of the counselling schools under study. Students will endeavour to recognize the links between theory and practice, between constructs and applied techniques or interventions. Students will integrate the course material from: the textbook, supplementary articles, professor's notes, and online class discussions. Students will also be encouraged to conduct their own further research on topics of interest, by accessing library resources and pertinent professional Internet sites. Students will examine the similarities and differences among approaches, and thus lay the foundation for the development of a personally meaningful approach to counselling.

(3 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6163 Counselling Methodologies – Behavioural and Cognitive Modalities

This course is a continuation of PSYC 6153, with an examination of some of the core theories and methods which influence and direct the practices of contemporary psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy, one of the most commonly utilized therapeutic models will be looked at in detail. Additionally, structured training exercises in basic interviewing/counselling skills will be presented. An overview of emerging evidence concerning factors common to all therapies will also be reviewed.

(3 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6203 Ethical Standards for Mental Health Service Providers

Course content follows the standards for ethical conduct and practice set by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. In general, topics covered include the scope of practice issues, professional responsibility, privacy and confidentiality, record keeping, appropriate relationships during and after treatment (including sexual intimacies), third party relationships and responsibilities, advertising, continuing professional education, and interruption and termination of treatment. Issues of disaster response, electronic or telephonic delivery of service, child protection, and guidelines for the treatment of gay, lesbian, and bisexual clients will also be considered.

(3 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6213 Research Methodology

This course provides students of counselling with the tools needed to critically review and evaluate scientific research and develop the basic elements of a research proposal. Students will explore the body of counselling research, critique selected studies, and develop elementary research design skills, thereby gaining a sound understanding of the scientific method and the ethical considerations bearing on the research process.

Strong familiarity with the scientific method allows professionals to understand psychological research and integrate it with daily practice. The scientific method can best be learned by studying all aspects of scientific research, including basic design, implementation, interpretation of results, and the drawing of conclusions.

(3 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6223 Group Counselling

Groups are becoming increasingly popular in counselling interventions. Although this trend is partly driven by budget restrictions, the primary advantage of group counselling is that participants get the opportunity to learn from each other. Other benefits from group counselling include that groups can more closely resemble everyday circumstances, they help to build a sense of community and belongingness, they normalize “issues” as members find commonalities with others, and, especially in working through interpersonal challenges, they can be very therapeutic. This course will take a multi-media approach to introducing group counselling skills across diverse theoretical perspectives, ages and stages of development, and types of problems. A comprehensive textbook, bundled with a DVD, presents theory, practical applications, and numerous role-played examples of group facilitation skills. Journal articles, video clips from YouTube, interactive discussion forums, and assignments, focusing on group counselling for diverse ages, issues, and specific populations will all enhance students’ learning in this course. Students will be expected to actively participate in e- groups (asynchronous and/or synchronous) during this course and critically examine their own experiences both as group members and facilitators. Through the skills practice, students are expected to demonstrate awareness of group- specific ethical concerns (e.g., limits to ensuring confidentiality) and enhance their basic group facilitation and group counselling competencies, including active listening, non-verbal communication, problem-solving, deepening focus, cutting off, drawing out, role-playing, closing, and the use of dyads and rounds.

(3 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6246 Counselling Skills and Competencies

This course provides students the opportunity to learn basic counselling skills and competencies essential to initiating and maintaining relationships with clients, regardless of specific theoretical orientation. Students engage in case conceptualization using one of four theoretical perspectives (Person-Centred Therapy; Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy; Structural Family Therapy; or Solution-Focused Therapy) and apply this theoretical approach in a counselling session with a client. By means of weekly structured practice assignments students learn how to identify and conduct competent counselling interviews. (Note: Students must earn at least 70% on each graded component of this course. Even if a student’s overall grade in the course is 70% or higher, if a grade on any component of the course is below 70%, s/he will be required to repeat the course.)

(6 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6253 Applying Cognitive-Behavioural Interventions

This course will focus on the application of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). In particular, it provides a step-by-step process for understanding CBT theory, applying that theory to practice, developing goals for therapy, and building skills in working with clients.

(3 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6263 Couples and Family Systems

This course is designed to provide the student with the skills and competencies necessary to effectively deal with the interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics of intimate relationships and family systems. Family interaction and communication patterns, conflict resolution, the impact of children on relationships, and other factors that influence family systems will be introduced. Ethical considerations regarding intimate partner violence/domestic abuse will be considered. The two major written assignments will focus in depth on one or more of the theoretical family systems frameworks covered in this course.

(3 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6273 Cultural Diversity in Counselling

The cultural differences among people must be taken into account when structuring counselling interventions. Identity formation, worldview, communication style, and acculturation will be studied from the perspective of the significant cultural minorities found in Canada. Multicultural competence does not just guide interventions, it permeates all interpersonal dynamics among individuals of different gender, age, sexual orientation, race, cultural membership, able-bodied status, etc. This course is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the role of personal, ethnic, social, and cultural factors in multicultural counselling and mental health service delivery. Multicultural competence does not just guide interventions, it permeates all interpersonal dynamics among individuals of different, gender, age, sexual orientation, race, cultural membership, able-bodied status, etc.

(3 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC6333 Psychopathology for Counsellors

Psychopathology is the study of disturbed functioning in the areas of cognition, emotion, and behaviour. It is composed of five aspects: definition of the disorder with regards to symptoms (diagnosis), description of the typical course of the disorder (prognosis), identification of the incidence of the disorder (epidemiology), understanding the origin of the disorder (etiology), and identifying appropriate treatments for the disorder. This course will focus on the major adult mental disorders. In the context of these disorders, the diathesis-stress model of etiology will be an important focus. Diathesis-stress is a dimensional approach that locates psychopathology at an extreme region on a dimension ranging from psychological health to severe illness. In the context of this model, recent developments in the fields of emotion science and emotion regulation will be emphasized as insights from these areas have major implications for the clinical work of counsellors, even where the degree of distress does not reach that of a specific disorder.

It is important to note that counsellors are not permitted to diagnose in most jurisdictions. However, a basic understanding of the major categories of disorders is essential to providing counselling and therapy as well as for treatment planning, interpretation of referrals, participation in discussions with other mental health professions, and in making referrals where appropriate.

(3 credits) (Online) Elective

PSYC6353 Addiction Counselling

This course provides an introduction to the assessment and treatment of addictions. Emphasis will be placed on examining the various methods, strategies, and techniques used to assess addictions, as well as other problem areas that may co-exist or underlie addictions. Emphasis will also be placed on examining the various psychotherapeutic modalities and approaches, as well as the various treatment setting options.

(3 credits) (Online) Elective

PSYC6373 Guidance and Counselling in School Environments

The presence of school guidance counsellors is being increasingly recognized by school boards as an integral component of the personal, social, educational, and career development of students. Promoting healthy relationships, addressing social problems, and facilitating career choices within a multi-cultural environment are central to a comprehensive guidance program. This course is designed to help students identify and prepare for the multiple roles of a school guidance counsellor in meeting the needs of a diverse population. Issues such as bullying, violence, and substance abuse will be examined as well as the roles of parents, administration, educators, and community members in the context of the school environment.

(3 credits) (Online) Elective

PSYC6383 Crisis and Trauma in Counselling

This course is designed to provide graduate students in the counselling psychology program with both a theoretical and practical understanding of issues surrounding trauma and a basic introduction into accepted approaches to working with clients who have experienced trauma in their lives. Using current available research literature, this course will introduce students to the definition and types of trauma, critical incident stress management/debriefing (CISM/CISD), client resourcing and stabilization (ethical considerations), theoretical frameworks, assessments/diagnosis, effective treatments/interventions, prevention, and therapist self-care (vicarious trauma).

Assisting students in understanding what trauma looks like, and introducing them to different approaches where they can get further training, will better equip them to recognize their own limits and help clients. This course will help them navigate the vast amount of information on the treatment of trauma, so that they can make informed ethically-sound decisions when working with clients commensurate with understanding.

(3 credits) (Online) Elective

PSYC7100 Orientation to the Practicum

In this required, non-credit course, practicum expectations will be introduced and explored. Students will self-assess their counselling skills against competency frameworks for Canadian counsellors and set specific learning goals for their practicum. They will also engage in mandatory activities to prepare for finding the right site for their practicum, including live information sessions conducted by the Field Training Team, review of narrated PowerPoints, questions submitted to the various “Ask Questions” forum and monitoring all “Course Bulletins & News” posts by the Field Training Team from Trimester 2 through to Trimester 5.

  • PSYC7100 will be presented over four trimesters, with each trimester focusing on specific themes:
  • PSYC7100a – Planning for Practicum: To be delivered and completed when students are in Trimester Two (T2) of the MACP program;
  • PSYC7100b – Professionalism in the Counselling Profession: To be delivered and completed when students are in Trimester Three (T3) of the MACP program;
  • PSYC7100c – Counselling Competencies: To be delivered and completed when students are in Trimester Four (T4) of the MACP program; and
  • PSYC7100d –Submitting a Successful Practicum Application Package: To be delivered and completed when students are in Trimester Five (T5) of the MACP program.

Students must complete each section of PSYC7100 as prescribed to ensure they will be ready to begin practicum on time. Students will not be allowed to defer any portion of PSYC7100 unless they take one full trimester of course work off.

(0 credits) (Online) Required

PSYC7106 Practicum

This course is designed to support students during their practicum placement and enrich their learning experience. It also provides an opportunity to more formally evaluate students’ counselling competencies, ensuring that graduation from the MACP program signifies readiness to work effectively as a counsellor. There will be a focus on integrating theory with practice, resolving ethical dilemmas, case conceptualization and planning, developing cultural competency, embracing diversity, working collaboratively across disciplines, accessing and maximizing the benefits of site supervision, and developing a professional identity as a counsellor. Topics and resources will be closely connected to those previously introduced throughout the program to provide opportunities to synthesize and apply students’ learning – this spiral approach will facilitate a deeper level of experiential learning and retention. (Note: Students must earn at least 70% on each graded component of this course. Even if a student’s overall grade in the course is 70% or higher, if a grade on any component of the course is below 70%, s/he will be required to repeat the course.)

(6 credits) (Onsite & Online) Required


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