Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

A Descriptive Examination of Canadian Counselling Psychology Doctoral Programs

Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

A Descriptive Examination of Canadian Counselling Psychology Doctoral Programs

Article excerpt

There have been rapid and dramatic developments in the field of Canadian counselling psychology over the last several years. This has included membership tripling in the Canadian Psychological Association's (CPA's) Section on Counselling Psychology in approximately six years (Bedi et al., 2011), an increasing sense of shared professional identity (Haverkamp, Robertson, Cairns, & Bedi, 2011), the first nationally endorsed definition of counselling psychology (Beatch et al., 2009), and the first national Canadian counselling psychology conference (see Sinacore, 2011). These examples are by no means comprehensive. Young and Lalande (2011) provide a listing of other key defining moments in the field. Currently, there are five counselling psychology programs in Canada (all of which are accredited by the CPA and all of which are located in primarily English-speaking institutions): the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of Alberta (UA), the University of Calgary (UC), the University of Toronto (UT), and McGill University (McGillU).

As part of the increased visibility of counselling psychology in Canada, there have been augmented efforts to differentiate it from other related areas such as clinical psychology and counsellor education (e.g., Beatch et al., 2009; Bedi et al., 2011; Bedi, Klubben, & Barker, 2012; Haverkamp et al., 2011), which has paralleled historical and current efforts in the United States (e.g., Brems & Johnson, 1997; Fitzgerald & Osipow, 1986; Morgan & Cohen, 2008; Neimeyer, Rice, & Keilin, 2009; Norcross, Sayette, Mayne, Karg, & Turkson, 1998). However, in doing so, the withinspecialty variability of counselling psychology programs in Canada has been largely neglected. The lack of a unified understanding of the field, until quite recently (Bedi et al., 2011), has compelled Canadian doctoral programs in counselling psychology to formulate their own definitions and foci that are sometimes inconsistent with one another. This has led to disparate education and training emphases and partially divergent views of scopes of practice. Although accreditation standards mandate specific minimum requirements, they allow flexibility in how these standards are met and permit programs to enhance their curriculum in whatever manner they see fit. It is reasonable to then assume that key differences among these doctoral programs would lead to somewhat distinct education and training experiences for students studying counselling psychology in Canada.

The purpose of this article is to bring to light similarities and differences among all the Canadian counselling psychology doctoral programs by (a) describing the general landscape of Canadian doctoral training in counselling psychology, and (b) comparing the programs across over 100 dimensions or variables falling under the following categories: program characteristics, program descriptors, faculty characteristics, student characteristics, student outcomes, curriculum, applied training, and admissions information. The focus in this research study is just on doctoral training. Although each of these doctoral programs are in departments that also offer master's degrees in counselling psychology or counsellor education, this latter information was not included in this study. At the time of data collection for this study, all of the Canadian doctoral programs required completion of a terminal master's degree prior to admission-that is, there did not exist integrated master's or doctoral training programs. This is different than in the United States, where students are usually expected to progress from a master's to a doctorate in the same university and department (and students are often admitted with a bachelor's degree). To substantiate this claim, one can simply review a sampling of the American Psychological Association accredited programs listed at http://www.apa.org. Given the scarcity of doctoral programs in counselling psychology, coupled with the abundance of master'slevel training in counselling psychology or counsellor education (Haverkamp et al. …

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