The University of Lethbridge offers the Master of Counselling as a distance education alternative for
individuals wishing to prepare for roles as either professional counsellors or counselling psychologists.
The fundamental principle on which this program is built is a desire to enhance the accessibility,
flexibility, and responsiveness of graduate counsellor education programming. The various components
of the program are offered through both on-site and distance modes of delivery.
The program is designed to complement rather than compete with the current on-campus programs in
Alberta. Our goal is to provide students who face various barriers to completing degrees through
traditional programs with the opportunity to further their education.
The program is also designed to foster the continuing professional learning of counsellors and
psychologists through access to individual graduate courses. An open registration policy will encourage
professionals to continually upgrade their knowledge and skills. Professionals may take additional
courses as Open Studies students or complete a Post-Masters Certificate in one of the areas of
It is our hope that this program will serve as a vehicle to unite faculty, professionals, and students, from
across the province of Alberta and beyond, in a continuous lifelong learning process that will ultimately
serve to enhance the professions of counselling and psychology.
The goals of the Master of Counselling Program are to:
Enhance the accessibility, flexibility, and responsiveness of graduate counsellor education
programming in the province;
Provide students who face various barriers to completing degrees through traditional programs
with the opportunity to further their education through a high quality, Alberta-based program;
Prepare students to function effectively as professional counsellors or counselling psychologists
in a wide range of work environments.
In keeping with the overall goals of the program, students in the program can expect to develop the
following core competencies:
An in-depth knowledge of the philosophical and theoretical foundations of counselling and
An understanding of ethical issues, an ability to think critically, and knowledge and skills for
An ability to identify and address the barriers to change and growth encountered at individual,
systemic, or sociopolitical levels by potential client populations;
A range of practical counselling skills and strategies essential to work with a range of clientele,
using varied intervention modalities;
An ability to integrate theory and practice in the context of work-based learning opportunities;
Specific knowledge and skills related to the particular area of specialization selected.
Masters of Counselling Program of Study
The 36-credit (12 half courses) course-based Master of Counselling Program incorporates core and
specialization courses to ensure that all students attain competency in the fundamentals of counselling
as well as a particular area of specialization. The Master of Counselling Program is completed in two
Stage I focuses on the fundamentals of counselling theory and practice. The Stage I core courses
prepare students for the focus on direct client work in the second stage of the program. Successful
completion of all components identified in Stage I of the program is a prerequisite for students to
proceed to Stage II. Five core courses are completed in this stage.
Stage I Core:
CAAP 6601: Theories of Counselling and its Application to Client Change
CAAP 6603: Professional Ethics and Conduct
CAAP 6605: Foundational Counselling and Conflict Resolution Skills
CAAP 6607: Counselling Diverse Clients
CAAP 6617: Research and Program Evaluation Skills
Stage II allows students to develop an area of counselling specialization. There are four core courses
and three option courses in Stage II.
Stage II Core:
CAAP 6613: Assessment: Processes and Application
CAAP 6615: Counselling Strategies and Interventions
CAAP 6611: General Counselling Practicum
CAAP 6619: Specialized Practicum
The General Counselling Practicum may be completed once the Stage I core and the Assessment and
Interventions courses have been completed. Students then complete three courses in their area of
Areas of Specialization:
* Master of Counselling: Counselling Psychology
* Master of Counselling: School Counselling
* Master of Counselling: Career Counselling
Stage II culminates in an advanced practicum. Students may initiate the advanced practicum upon
completion of the Stage II core courses and the three option courses in their area of specialization.
All students are required to complete a culminating experience in the Program. No course credits are
awarded for the project course.
Counselling Psychology Specialization
The Counselling Psychology Specialization is designed for students who ultimately would like to license
(charter) as Counselling Psychologists. Courses are designed to meet the graduate course
requirements for chartering with the College of Alberta Psychologists. Students from other provinces
are encouraged to check with their provincial regulatory body for course and Program requirements.
Provisions will be made for students to obtain, as additional electives, other courses required to qualify
to begin the licensing process.
School Counselling Specialization
The School Counselling Specialization is designed to serve the needs of educators in the K-12 system
who are currently working or intending to work as guidance or school counsellors or those for whom a
counselling role is incorporated into other educational roles, such as teacher advisor, special needs
consultant, or student services coordinator. Courses are designed to provide students with a breadth of
knowledge and skills for working with a range of age groups and populations. Students are encouraged
to tailor their learning to the specific nature of their professional roles through work-based assignments.
Career Counselling Specialization
In the program, career development is viewed as the lifelong process of managing learning, work, and
transitions in order to move toward a personally determined and evolving preferred future. The career
counselling specialization provides students with the specialized knowledge and skills they need to
offer quality career development services. Career counsellors help individuals, groups, or communities
achieve greater self-awareness, develop a life and work direction, increase understanding of learning
and work opportunities, and become self-directed in managing learning, work, and transitions.
Counselling Practicum Placements
Students in the Master of Counselling Program are required to complete two practica: a general
counselling practicum and an advanced practicum. The programs start in January rather than in
September of each year (for students entering prior to 2009). The earliest that students can take a
practicum course is in January of their second year (two-year plan). However, most students take their
first practicum in the fall of their second year (three-year program plan).
Practicum Courses and Placements
Counselling practicum placements take place while the students are registered and participating in one
of the following courses.
CAAP 6611: General Counselling Practicum
The first practicum provides an opportunity for professional development and supervised practice in a
general counselling context. Students will be involved in direct client work under the supervision of a
qualified professional and will engage in one-on-one and group supervision processes. The practicum
allows students to actively explore issues encountered in working with diverse client populations.
CAAP 6619: Advanced Practicum
The second practicum provides an opportunity for professional development and supervised practice in
a specialized counselling context. Students will be involved in direct client work under the supervision of
a qualified professional and will engage in one-on-one and group supervision processes. The practicum
allows students to actively explore issues encountered in working with a specialized client population or
area of practice.
Students are not allowed to participate in a practicum placement outside of registration in one of these
courses. Continuation in a practicum placement outside of the duration of a course can be organized
between the student and the practicum setting, however the role of student will change, for example to
“volunteer” or “intern” instead of “practicum student”. Organizations or agencies are responsible to
arrange for insurance coverage when students continue in supervised practice outside of the practicum
Students are responsible for selecting and organizing their own practicum placements for both CAAP
6611 General Counselling Practicum and CAAP 6619 Specialized Practicum.
Agencies that are appropriate as a practicum settings include:
educational counseling settings (secondary and post-secondary),
community counselling agencies,
government departments providing counselling services, and
private practice settings (where the student is not currently in private practice and is not in a
business partnership with the proposed supervisor).
The organization or agency should meet the following criteria:
Provide counselling services to individuals and couples, families or groups. The provision of
individual counselling is a primary service, however, services such as assessment, family and
couples’ counselling, and group counselling are also appropriate.
Have professional staff who have a Masters’ level of qualification in a counselling related area.
Have office space available for a practicum student to utilize in seeing clients and for office
Have a policy that supports the video taping of counselling for supervision purposes and will
allow students to take 2 videotapes of client work offsite. Students are required to show
videotape excerpts of their work at 2 weekend seminars. Students are required to gain informed
consent from clients prior to videotaping. Consent forms for videotaping of adults and minors
are available on our website.
Practicum placements at student’s current place of employment
Students may complete a practicum at their current place of employment, provided that suitable
arrangements for supervision can be made and appropriate counselling opportunities exist. The
following conditions apply when a student chooses a practicum at their current place of employment:
The practicum supervisor cannot be the student's direct employment supervisor.
Practicum activities primarily consist of counselling functions.
Students do not engage in counselling clients with whom they work in other workplace roles. An
example of dual roles that can be unethical is when a student is the counsellor for a client that
the student currently teaches or coaches at school.
Changing practicum settings during the term is not recommended, so students are encouraged
to anticipate and prevent any potential problems that may arise while doing the practicum in
their work settings.
Videotaping of counselling is feasible at the practicum setting.
Only one of the two 4-month practicum placements (CAAP 6611 and CAAP 6619) can take
place at the student's place of employment.
Practicum Supervisor Eligibility
Practicum supervisors normally possess one or more of the following:
Designation as a Registered Psychologist in Alberta (or other provincial equivalent);
Canadian Counsellor Certification by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association;
Completion of a graduate degree related to counselling, approved by the Practicum
Because of the distance nature of the Master of Counselling Program, the practicum supervisors will
normally meet the following criteria:
Regular access to email and Internet;
Access to a computer with certain hardware and software requirements (see our website for
Students may work with different people within a practicum setting. However, the primary responsibility
for their development will rest with one supervisor. Under the direction of the supervisor, the student
may observe or work with other members of the setting who do not possess the formal requirements of
the primary supervisor.
Collaboration in Learning
The success of the practicum placement depends on the level of collaboration between student,
practicum supervisor, and practicum instructor. Throughout the field placement, students will be
engaged in a weekly online seminar, highlighting various aspects of applied practice. They will also
attend weekend schools where an opportunity will be provided for direct faculty and peer supervision.
Supervisors are invited to interact with instructors throughout the practicum placement. Each participant
in the practicum experience has particular responsibilities. Please review the Responsibilities and
Expectations of practicum participants on our website.
Practicum Supervisor Responsibilities
Determine the appropriateness of the student’s background and training for placement at the field
Guide the student through site orientation, including familiarization with the rules, regulations, and
procedures of the placement setting.
Facilitate student progress through the stages of observation, co-facilitation (where appropriate),
and independent intervention.
Conduct regular (weekly or bi-weekly) meetings with the student for the purpose of monitoring
student progress and providing specific feedback on counselling skills development.
Monitor the student’s time and activity logs to ensure that she or he is meeting the time
Participate in formative and summative assessment of the student’s counselling competence.
Supervisors outside of the Practicum Setting
Students can have a supervisor who does not work at the organization where the student has a
practicum placement. This arrangement needs the approval of the student, supervisor, organization
and the program. In this situation, the student and supervisor must clearly describe how and when
supervision will be provided.
Practicum Supervisor Honorarium
Upon satisfactory completion of the practicum and submission of final grades by the course instructor, a
$500.00 honorarium will be paid to either the supervisor or the agency.
Required Client Contact Hours and Supervision Hours
The requirements regarding the number and timing of client contact hours during the practicum are as
Students are expected to spend approximately 10 hours per week over a 13-week period at
their practicum site. A minimum of 5 hours per week - 65 hours in total, averaged over the
semester - should be spent in direct client contact. Direct client contact includes the following:
o Individual counselling;
o Family or couples’ counselling;
o Group counselling;
o Active participation in reflection team interventions with the client;
o Co-counselling with a counsellor or supervisor as long as the student is active in the
session and is not just observing. Co-counselling is a more appropriate activity at the
beginning of a placement before students see clients by themselves.
A large proportion of the client contact hours should be individual counselling, for example 3 out
of the 5 weekly hours should be individual counselling.
Students will spend at least 2 hours per week with their supervisors in supervision, case
consultation, and other activities. At least one of these hours should be direct, individual
supervision of the student's work with clients.
Students cannot acquire all the client and supervision hours before week 12, as they are required to
have a minimum of 5 hours weekly client contact and 2 hours weekly supervision each week of the 13
Students are encouraged to book more than the minimum number of client hours each week. This will
ensure that the total required number of client hours is achieved taking into consideration cancellations,
student illness or other unexpected circumstances. During the practicum, if students are concerned that
they will not achieve the required hours of client contact and supervision by the end of the term, they
can discuss the option of extending the practicum placement with their supervisors and course
instructors. The maximum extension is normally for 30 days duration.
Procedures for Organizing a Practicum Placement
Students in the Master of Counselling program are responsible for making their own arrangements for
both practicum placements. Students usually start to organize a placement 6 – 8 months prior to the
start of the practicum. Students are encouraged to meet with potential supervisors to discuss the
possibility of a placement or supervision. Detailed guidelines for setting up a practicum are provided on
our website. A brief summary of key steps is provided below.
Approval of Supervisor and Practicum Setting
Practicum supervisors require approval by the program before they can supervise a student. You may
set up your approval at any time. If you choose, you can be listed on our website as an approved
supervisor so that students can approach you when they are seeking to set up a practicum.
Proposed supervisors are asked to complete the Approval of Practicum Supervisor Form and to submit
a curriculum vitae or a resume for approval by emailing it to email@example.com.
Each practicum setting must also be approved by the program. A representative from the organizational
should complete the Approval of Practicum Organization Form.
Note: Normally you will not submit your supervisor approval form until the organization has been
approved by the Practicum Coordinator so please make sure the organizational representative submits
the form as soon as possible.
Approval of the Practicum Proposal
Once both the supervisor and the practicum setting have been approved, students are required to
complete and submit a Practicum Proposal that indicates the approved site and approved supervisor
and start dates for the practicum.
The deadlines for supervisor and organization approval and submission of the proposal are:
For fall practicum placement May 1
For winter practicum placement October 1
Establishment of a Practicum Agreement
Once the practicum proposal has been approved, the student will provide a representative of the
organization with a copy of the Practicum Agreement to review. Students are not expected to be
involved in the completion of the agreement.
The Practicum Agreement is a contract between the organization and the Faculty of Education
regarding the terms of the practicum placement. All educational programs and organizations that have
work placements for students such as counselling practicum placements, nursing clinical placements,
and social work practicum placements commonly utilize this type of agreement. Once this contract is
signed once, it covers all practicum placements at the organization until the date that the contract
If an agreement is *not* already in effect between the program and the organization at which the
student will be placed, then an agreement needs to completed following these steps:
1. Enter the dates for the term of the agreement (Section 3.1). Although the practicum placement is
for 4 months, an organization can indicate that the term of the agreement covers a longer term
such as 3 years. This allows other students to be placed at the organization for 3 years before the
agreement expires and another agreement needs to be signed.
2. Enter the Organization name and contact information (Section 6.5).
3. Sign two copies of the agreement and submit them to the program office. Once 2 copies of the
agreement are signed by both the organization and Faculty of Education, one copy will be
returned to the organization and one will be retained by the program.
4. Finally, complete and submit Schedule A: Honorarium for each practicum student placement.
If an agreement is already in effect between the Faculty of Education and the organization at which the
student will be place, then only, Schedule A: Honorarium, should be completed for each practicum
Any questions or suggestions for revisions to this agreement should be directed to
You may also contact the program at:
Master of Counselling Program
Graduate Studies and Research in Education
Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
4401 University Drive
Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4
Phone: (403) 329-2256 or 1-800-666-3503
Fax: (403) 317-5070
After the practicum proposal has been approved the student and practicum supervisor meet to review
the expectations of the practicum and establish the goals and activities that will form the student’s
practicum experience. They complete and sign the Learning Plan. Student goals are the outcomes that
will be achieved by the end of the practicum placement and can include:
Development of specified counselling skills, strategies or interventions;
Personal learning objectives;
Acquisition of specified knowledge areas (for example, increased knowledge of addictions-
related assessment strategies); and
Acquisition of knowledge or skills related to the supervisor's area of expertise.
A sample Learning Plan is provided on our website as an example of outcomes (the number of
outcomes are usually less than the number in the sample).
The student is responsible for submitting it to the Master of Counselling Program Office. Since the
instructor may suggest some revisions please do this at least 10 days before the deadline.
The final deadline for approval of Learning Plan and receipt of the signed Practicum Agreement are:
For fall practicum placement July 1
For winter practicum placement November 1
Both the supervisor and the student will be notified of whether the Learning Plan and the Practicum
Agreement have been approved or require some revisions.
Responsibilities of Supervisors During the Practicum Placement
Communication with the program and Course Instructor
Supervisors will receive the following at the beginning of the practicum:
A letter of welcome and confirmation of the terms of the supervision agreement.
A phone call or other contact from the Practicum Course Instructor to discuss any questions,
clarify expectations, and provide information on how to contact the instructor.
Supervisors are encouraged to contact the course instructor throughout the practicum placement
regarding any questions or concerns. The course instructor may contact the supervisors at the end of
the course to discuss the students’ progress.
Record of Client Contact Hours
Students are required to submit a weekly record of their client contact hours during the practicum (A
Record of Client Contact Hours is provided on our website).
To provide a quality learning experience, students are required to see a minimum of 5 clients and
participate in 2 hours of supervision (1 hour of 1:1 supervision and 1 hour of group supervision) on a
weekly basis throughout the practicum placement. The student cannot complete the required client
contact hours and supervision hours early in the placement, then not see clients until the end of the
Students require a written mid-term evaluation and an end of term evaluation (the evaluation form is
provided on our website). Students are encouraged to complete a self-evaluation and to compare this
self-evaluation with the evaluation completed by their supervisors. This allows students to assess their
abilities to self-monitor their counselling practice and also provides a point for further discussion with
their supervisors. The supervisor’s evaluation of the student is to be signed by both the student and the
supervisor. The student is responsible for submitting each evaluation to the course instructor within 48
hours after it has been completed.
an interactive process of information feedback and exchange requiring active involvement of
both the student and supervisor
a facilitative and action-oriented process involving shared observations, communication, and
demonstrations of effective practice.
entails clear and concrete communication of what the supervisor has observed and noted
relating to student performance
promotes student development of increased initiative, awareness, growth
involves problem solving with the student
includes supervisors as demonstrators or models of effective practice.
Discuss and Clarify Expectations
It is useful to spend time initially to discuss how and when the supervision will occur. This also allows
the supervisor and student to develop some rapport and the relationship upon which effective
supervision is based. Topics of discussion in the initial meetings should include:
frequency and timing of supervisor sessions
content of supervisory sessions (e.g., will they consist of case reviews via notes or tapes;
didactic instruction in topic areas; informal personal exchanges, or some combination of
discuss working styles
negotiate student’s on-site duties and responsibilities
discuss learning goals and learning opportunities
Supervision of Counselling Practicum Students
A positive and rewarding supervision experience is the result of the combined contributions of the
student, the supervisor, the educational institution and the counselling organization. All of the involved
parties are responsible for a positive supervision outcome. Some general guidelines for supervisors are
1. Supervision starts with the formation of a trusting relationship between the student and the
supervisor. The time taken to get to know each other at the beginning creates a sound
foundation for learning and problem solving later in the relationship.
2. Both the student and the supervisor need to provide information regarding their expectations for
the practicum placement. The student can provide information regarding the course
requirements. The supervisor can ensure that the student receives an adequate orientation to
the counselling organization, office procedures and expectations prior to the commencement of
seeing clients. Both can talk about their preferred working styles and personal expectations.
3. Specific expectations regarding the timing, procedures and process of each supervision session
should be discussed and agreed upon by both the supervisor and the student. For example, will
the student present excerpts from videotapes of client work, provide case notes, discuss difficult
clients, provide an overview of the caseload, etc.?
4. Supervisors need to make notes that summarize each supervision session. The notes should
include the types of client issues the student has worked with, the student’s demonstrated skills
and knowledge, and the feedback offered by the supervisor. These notes are very useful as a
reference when completing the mid-term and final evaluations.
5. Although all students commence their placements with specific professional development goals,
these need to be reviewed at the beginning of the practicum and regularly thereafter. The
student’s goals for professional development provide a focus for supervision and evolve as they
meet with clients and receive supervision feedback.
6. Master of Counselling students are encouraged to continually reflect upon their counselling
practice so as to align it with a personally relevant theoretical approach to counselling.
Supervisors are encouraged to support the supervisee as they integrate their counselling with
7. Supervisors are encouraged to consider the stage of professional development at which the
supervisee is performing. Some students have little experience at the beginning of a practicum
placement and may benefit from co-counselling or working with less difficult client issues until
their comfort level increases.
8. Students often model their practice after that of their supervisor. Consequently, supervisors
need to be conscious of providing a positive model of a professional counsellor.
9. Supervisors will usually find it helpful to regularly ask the supervisee about how the process of
supervision is going. This allows both the supervisor and the supervisee to raise any concerns
that can be solved before they become problems, as well as celebrate the successes.
10. It is important that students are not surprised by any feedback from the supervisor during the
mid-term and final evaluations. These evaluations should summarize the work and feedback
students have received and discussed during supervision sessions. This practice contributes to
the continuation of an open and trusting supervisory relationship.
Solving Problems During the Practicum Placement
Although it is rare, some problems can emerge that are difficult to solve. If any concerns are identified
by the student, supervisor, or organization during the practicum placement, it is important to identify
and work out the concerns as early as possible.
1. The first course of action is for the person who has a concern to speak about this concern with
the appropriate party. For example, if the supervisor thinks there is a problem with the student,
the supervisor should first talk to the supervisee about this problem and try to solve it together.
Concerns identified by another member of the counselling organization should be brought to the
supervisor’s attention who can decide whether to include this person in a discussion of the
problem with the student or whether to talk with the student alone.
2. If various attempts at finding a solution have proven unsuccessful, either the student or the
supervisor should approach the Course Instructor for assistance.
3. If there is still dissatisfaction with the practicum on the part of the student, the supervisor, or the
agency, an overall review of the placement will be conducted by the Practicum Coordinator. In
consultation with the student, the supervisor, and the course instructor, the Practicum
coordinator will recommend one of the following options:
a solution is found and the student continues with the present placement;
an alternative placement is found for the student; or
the student withdraws from the course.
Supervision is a rewarding activity that counselling professionals choose to participate in for a number
of reasons. Often, supervision provides a means to give back to the counselling profession and to the
educational programs from which counsellors graduate. Although supervision provides students with
the opportunity to develop and practice skills while expanding their knowledge, it is also important as an
experience by which students develop a professional counselling identity. Supervision is a process in
which both the student and the supervisor learn from each other, providing supervisors with information
regarding up to date counselling related information. Supervision is also often the beginning of lifelong
collegial relationships that expand one’s professional network.
Being an excellent counsellor does not automatically mean that an individual is an excellent supervisor.
A few references are provided below as a starting point for those who are interested in learning more
about counselling supervision.
Delworth, U., Vespia, K., & Stone, C. (1999). Counselor supervision: A model for on-site supervisors.
Counseling and Human Development, 32, 1-12.
Goodyear, R. & Bernard, J. (1998). Clinical supervision: Lessons from the literature. Counselor
Education & Supervision, 38(1), 6-23.
Stoltenberg, C. D., McNeill, B. W., & Delworth, U. (1998). IDM Supervision: An Integrated
Developmental Model for Supervising counselors and therapists. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-