Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

Teaching Counselling Theory and Skills: A Scoping Review of Canadian Graduate Counselling Psychology Coursework/Enseignement Théorique et Technique Du Counseling : Revue De la Portée Des Cours Universitaires Canadiens De Maîtrise En Psychologie Du Counseling

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

Teaching Counselling Theory and Skills: A Scoping Review of Canadian Graduate Counselling Psychology Coursework/Enseignement Théorique et Technique Du Counseling : Revue De la Portée Des Cours Universitaires Canadiens De Maîtrise En Psychologie Du Counseling

Article excerpt

Counselling psychology and counselling are critically important disciplines, each contributing greatly to Canadas population of professional psychologists and counsellors. Many of the country's preparation programs are located in universities at the graduate level, and tend to be within education faculties or departments. Graduates of these programs may have the option to seek certification as Certified Canadian Counsellors with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and /or become Registered or Licensed Psychologists with their provincial/territorial psychology boards/colleges. Even though there are guidelines on practitioner competency expectations and there is a high degree of consistency in where such programs are located, we know relatively little about how courses in counselling and counselling psychology are actually structured at the university level. Very few publications exist in this area. This project was developed to explore introductory graduate-level counselling theory and skills courses in counselling and counselling psychology master's programs in Canada. This information provides a partial picture of how courses designed to teach counselling theory and skills are structured in Canada.

Research on Counsellor Training

Various training programs (e.g., Carkhuff, 1969; Cohen, 2004; Cormier, Nurius, & Osborn, 2012; Hill, Stahl, & Roffman, 2007; Ivey, 1971; Kagan, 1984; Urbani, Smith, Maddux, & Crews, 2002) have been developed for instruction in microskills and basic counselling skills. Such training is often at the prepracticum or preinternship level and occurs at the earlier stages of counsellor preparation. Early research has supported elements of skills training approaches (see Hill & Lent, 2006, for reviews), but researchers have noted some methodological issues with research design in this area of research (e.g., Evans, 2011; Hill & Lent, 2006). Evans (2011) conducted a meta-analysis of 33 published studies on counselling skill training. This research found a small effect size and noted that the type of skills curricula had no impact on outcome for master's-level counsellor trainees. They also found that trainees who practiced skills with volunteer clients demonstrated greater improvement in skills versus trainees who role-played with other trainees. Some researchers have suggested that specific counsellor training models (e.g., skilled counsellor training model) can result in greater gains by trainees in skill development and even counselling self-efficacy compared to those not receiving such preparation (Urbani et ah, 2002). Regardless of curricula approach, Carkhuff (1987) noted that core microskills (e.g., attending, facilitating) are critical and serve as the foundation for more advanced skills. Many counselling preparation programs include didactic instruction on counselling and communication microskills and have opportunities for students to practice such skills under supervision (Trepal, Haberstroh, Duffey, & Evans, 2007). Related to skills training, Keats (2009) highlighted several advantages of using video demonstrations in counsellor preparation and discussed several key considerations in utilizing such video demonstrations in teaching counselling (e.g., video selection, student preparation to view the video) (see Keats, 2009, for a review).

Research (e.g., Heppner & Claiborn, 1989; Heppner & Dixon, 1981) has suggested that key counsellor skills and abilities can be enhanced by training. There has been a range of studies and opinions put forward regarding what are important skills and personal characteristics/attributes for counsellors and psychotherapists. Authors (e.g., Bedi et ah, 2011; Trepal et ah, 2007) have noted that understanding and being able to develop a therapeutic or working relationship is a core condition of counselling. Indeed, Carl Rogers (1957) talked about the core conditions of counselling, whereby a counsellor should be able to provide accurate empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuine- ness. …

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