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

Transformational Leaders in the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association: An Interview with Blythe Shepard

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

Transformational Leaders in the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association: An Interview with Blythe Shepard

Article excerpt

Lindsay Morgan Kozak (LMK): Hi, Dr. Shepard. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. To start, could you share some of the background of your training and career with us?

"I was an elementary teacher for 15 years before entering a graduate program in counselling at the University of Victoria in 1995. I had an undergraduate degree in psychology, which allowed me to work with mental health services in a small community as well. I finished my doctoral work in educational psychology (counselling stream) in 2002. I completed two counselling practica at the masters' level, one in a school setting and the other at the university counselling centre. The doctoral internship took place with Child and Youth Mental Health and School District #61 in Victoria, BC, under the supervision of a school psychologist. Since graduation, my clinical work has included counselling youth and women in rural communities, working with adults exiting the sex trade, and career counselling with unemployed loggers.

"I became a counsellor educator in 2000 when I was hired as a visiting professor on a one-year contract with the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies, University of Victoria. Upon graduation, I obtained a tenure-track position at the same university. In 2008, I moved to the University of Lethbridge to teach in two programs-the Masters of Counselling blended program and the on-campus Masters of Education program (Counselling Psychology)."

Neal D. Gray (NDG): How did your involvement with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association begin and in what ways have you contributed to the advocacy of the profession?

"As a graduate student in counselling, I served as vice-president of the Career Development Chapter of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) for two years. Upon graduation from my doctoral program, I was elected British Columbia/Yukon National Director. I became involved in efforts to have the counselling profession regulated in the province and joined the BC Task Group for Regulation where I helped to develop the first entry to practice competencies for the profession from 2004 to 2006. This profile was revised in 2007 following a national consultation and validation process. The Entry-to-Practice Competency Profile for Counselling Therapists was taken up by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) with some revisions and used as part of the registration process. I continue to work in BC with the Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in British Columbia (FACT-BC) as an observer at the Board table, as a member of the Registration Process Working Group to draft a registration process for the proposed regulatory college, and as a member of the Competency Profile Committee that has revised the 2006 profile. The competency profiles are utilized in the Canadian Professional Standard for Counselling and Psychotherapy (CPSCP): Entry to Practice Competency Assessment, a computer-based simulation-style competency assessment currently used by CRPO in assessing applicants.

"I co-chaired the Inter-Provincial Mobility for the Counselling Profession projects for two years (2009-2011), which was funded by the government of Canada with the aim of developing occupational standards in a manner conducive to labour mobility. The projects brought together stewards of the profession from across Canada to develop scopes of practice and definitions of counselling, and to survey members of the profession about key issues facing the profession regarding recognition.

"When I moved to Alberta in 2008, I took on the position of the Alberta/ NWT National Director and the National Treasurer of CCPA. During that time, I formed the Alberta/Northwest Territories Chapter with the aim of advancing the profession and promoting the identity of those in the counselling field in the province and territory. In early 2016, I played a role in assisting the Chapter to form a federation of13 counselling associations, namely the Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists (FACT-AB), to develop competencies, bylaws, standards of practice, a definition of counselling and counselling-related activities so that an application for recognition and regulation could be presented to the current government in late 2016. …

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