My Journey Toward Becoming a Counsellor  

I was born and raised in small town Southern Alberta by a single mother, Jane. Growing up my family struggled financially. My mom used to tell us when we asked if we were poor, "we aren't poor, we just don't have much money". It wasn't until recently that I realized how much that saying shaped who I am as a person.

Academics and education were never areas I was particularly passionate about.  I wasn't a strong student and believed for a long time that I was stupid. Academically, I excelled once I entered university. Working toward my goal of teaching and connecting with youth engaged me on a level I hadn't previously experienced in school. In 2009, I Graduated with Great Distinction from the University of Lethbridge Education program. After leaving university I was hired as a full time middle school art and humanities teacher with Rockyview School Division. Teaching was both challenging and fulfilling. However, I noticed I was most drawn to students who needed more of my compassion and empathy. I ran a Breakfast Club and Indoor Recess program to better connect with these types of students and create spaces where everyone felt welcome. While teaching middle school, I also spent a lot of time working with the school counsellor. I was forever interested in her work with students and their families. I began to consider if I was working in the wrong field. My curiosity prompted me to change my focus and I applied for a teaching position in Lethbridge. I was hired as the Teacher Specialist for the Grade 9 Alternate Program. It was a program designed to meet the dynamic needs of young people who struggled to connect and achieve success in traditional programming. Teaching this program affirmed my desire to move toward counselling and away from teaching.  

Once again, I became a student at the University of Lethbridge, this time in the Masters of Counselling program. My journey through the masters program connected me with a group of individuals who shared a passion similar to my own. Together we gained skills and knowledge to continue our ongoing journeys to work with the human condition and help in the best way we know how. As a counsellor, I connect most with theories that highlight authenticity, client empowerment, client self-exploration, and process oriented work. I continue to be passionate about working with youth and helping them navigate their unique paths toward self-betterment. 

 ~ Professional Ethics and Conduct
 ~ Foundational Counselling and Conflict Resolution Skills  
 ~ Theories of Counselling and their Application to Client Change 
 ~ Counselling Diverse Clients 
 ~ Assessment Processes and Application 
 ~ Counselling Strategies and Interventions
 ~ Research and Program Evaluation
 ~ Cognitive and Affect Bases of Behaviour 
 ~Biosocial Foundations of Health Psychology 
 ~ Group Counselling and Process Skills
 ~ General Counselling Practicum 
 ~ Professional Portfolio 1
 ~ Specialized Counselling Practicum 

Looking Ahead...

Five Year Professional Learning Plan 

Next 

Gain proficiency in the utilization of existential analysis and questioning in my counselling practice. 

Existential Analysis and Questioning Seminar

Resources: http://www.rochellechapman.com/

Timeline: Spring/Summer 2017

Actively engage in the school counselling community. Seek out and take on leadership and psychoeducational sharing roles when/where applicable.

LGBTQ* youth Conference Committee Member

School Counsellor Conference Committee Member

Host professional learning sessions

Timeline: 2017 – Ongoing

Enhance my competency in administering the VTRA in a school setting. Moving toward the final goal of conducting training session of the VTRA.

Violent Threat Risk Assessment Level II Certification

Resources: http://www.lethsd.ab.ca/Violence%20Threat%20Risk%20Assessment.php

http://www.cctatr.com/training

Timeline: Fall 2017

Engage with the greater counselling and psychotherapy community. Stay current and relevant in counselling research, interventions, and innovative practice.

Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference

Resources: http://www.evolutionofpsychotherapy.com/

Timeline: December 2017

Learn Expressive Arts Interventions to be used at an introductory level. 

One Day Expressive Arts Threapy Workshop
Resources: http://pieat.ca/training-infodesktop.html 
Timeline: 2018

Gain certification in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing 

Institution to be determined

Resources: https://emdrcanada.org/

http://www.emdr.com/

http://www.emdria.org/default.asp?page=23

Timeline: 2018-2019

Achieve certification to Train-the-Trainer in VTRA Level 1. Allowing me to conduct training sessions within the school district and deepen my understanding of the VTRA process.

Level I Train-the-Trainer, VTRA Training: Theory and Practice

Resources: http://www.cctatr.com/training

Timeline: 2019-2020

Build off of my Fine Arts training in a counselling capacity. Learn to use therapeutic art interventions in my counselling practice. 

Expressive Arts Training Level I Certification

Resources: http://pieat.ca/training-infodesktop.html

Timeline: 2021

Engage with the greater counselling and psychotherapy community. Stay current and relevant in counselling research, interventions, and innovative practice.

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association Annual Conference

Resources: https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/continuing-education/annual-conference/

Timeline: Spring 2021

Explore the application of Psychodrama in group work in school settings. Gain professional training in psychodrama.

Psychodrama Training 
Resources: https://www.onsiteworkshops.com/programs/professional-training/psychodrama-training/ 
Timeline: 2022