Readings on Canadian Counselling Psychology

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This section includes a collection of readings about the field of Counselling Psychology in Canada. Please follow the links below to access the texts. 


References and Abstracts 


  • Canadian Psychological Association (2017). Supply and Demand for Accredited Doctoral Internship / Residency Positions in Clinical, Counselling, and School Psychology in Canada – Report of the CPA Internship / Residency Supply and Demand Task Force. Ottawa, ON: CPA.

  • Goodyear, R., Lichtenberg, J., Hutman, H., Overland, E., Bedi, R., Christiani, K., & … Young, C. (2016). A global portrait of counselling psychologists’ characteristics, perspectives, and professional behaviors. Counselling Psychology Quarterly,29(2), 115-138. doi:10.1080/09515070.2015.112839

    Abstract:Counseling psychologists in eight countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) responded to survey questions that focused on their demographics as well as their professional identities, roles, settings, and activities. As well, they were asked about satisfaction with the specialty and the extent to which they endorsed 10 core counseling psychology values. This article reports those results, focusing both on areas in which there were between-country similarities as well as on those for which there were differences. These data provide a snapshot of counseling psychology globally and establish a foundation for the other articles in this special issue of the journal.

  • Bedi, R., Sinacore, A., & Christiani, K. (2016). Counselling Psychology in Canada. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 29(2), 150-162. doi:10.1080/09515070.2015.1128398 

    Counselling psychology in Canada has experienced tremendous growth and greater recognition within the last 30 years. However, there is little empirical research on the practice of counselling psychology in Canada and the characteristics of Canadian counselling psychologists. We administered a 74 item questionnaire to 79 counselling psychologists who were members of the Counselling Psychology Section of the Canadian Psychological Association, achieving a 35.4% response rate.The survey asked various questions organized under the headings of: Background Information, Theoretical Orientations, Professional Activities, Training and Career Experiences, and Future. Overall, these Canadian counselling psychologists seem to see the discipline as moderately different from clinical psychology and from counsellor education, and are largely satisfied with their choice of career in counselling psychology.Results further indicate that independent practice is the most common work-setting and that respondents spend a large share of their time providing individual, non-career related, counselling/psychotherapy of primarily a rehabilitative/treatment-oriented nature. A strengths-focused approach was also highly valued by the sample. The development of the field, distinctive characteristics of Canadian counselling psychology, the place of counselling psychology in the Canadian health care delivery system, credentialing, professional organizations, education and training issues, allied professions, opportunities for the field, and threats to the field are also discussed.

  • Bedi, R. P., & Domene, J. F. (2015). Counseling and psychotherapy in Canada: Kamalpreet’s story. In R. Moodley, M. Lengyell, R. Wu, U. P. Gielen, R. Moodley, M. Lengyell, … U. P. Gielen (Eds.) , International counseling case studies handbook (pp. 141-147). Alexandria, VA, US: American Counseling Association. doi:10.1002/9781119222781.ch18

    Abstract: In this chapter, we present a case where solution-focused counseling was used with a Canadian-born woman of Punjabi Asian Indian descent, who presented with academic difficulties. We describe the client Kamalpreet, focusing on her background, salient aspects of her developmental history, and the issues that led her to seek counseling with an English-speaking Canadian male counselor of European descent. We then sequence and discuss her counseling process and outcomes. The chapter is concluded by highlighting key aspects of the case and the therapeutic process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved) (chapter)   

    Harris, G., & Flood, K. A. (2015). Teaching Counselling Theory and Skills: A Scoping Review of Canadian Graduate Counselling Psychology Coursework. Canadian Journal Of Counselling & Psychotherapy / Revue Canadienne De Counseling Et De Psychothérapie, 49(3), 201-213

    Abstract: This article describes a scoping review and content analysis of Canadian counselling and counselling psychology graduate coursework focused on counselling and psychotherapy preparation. The authors explored the coursework of 24 graduate-level master’s programs and received relevant syllabi from 11 of these programs. Through a content analysis framework, multiple themes were identified, including areas such as course description, objectives, structures, expectations, readings, and evaluations/assignments. Implications for teaching and training are discussed along with considerations for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)  

  • Sinacore, A. L., & Ginsberg, F. (2015). Canadian counselling and counselling psychology in the 21st century. Montreal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press.   


  • Kennedy, B. & Arthur, N. (2014). Social Justice and Counselling Psychology: Recommitment Through Action / Justice sociale et psychologie du counseling : engagement renouvelé dans l’actionCanadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy / Revue canadienne de counseling et de psychothérapie, 48(3), 186–205.

    Abstract: Historically, social justice has been one of the core values guiding the practice of counselling psychology. There are controversies surrounding the meaning of social justice and how it can be used to guide the roles and practices of counselling psychologists. The discussion here situates social justice as a primary value for professional identity. The article considers a definition of counselling psychology in Canada and whether or not it sufficiently supports a social justice orientation. The discussion focuses on the relationships between social and systemic influences on mental health. It also focuses on how counselling psychologists and counsellors could (a) expand their practices to address the conditions that have aversive effects, and (b) focus more on health promotion and well-being. The call for counselling psychologists and counsellors to position social justice centrally in their professional identity will require a fuller scope of practice to address social inequities and to help clients overcome barriers that persistently impact their mental health. Suggestions for recommitment to social justice are examined, with selected examples for practice, education, and research to illustrate how social justice can be strengthened through action.

  • Domene, J.D ., & Bedi, R. P. (2013). Counseling and psychotherapy in Canada: Diversity and growth. In R. Moodley, U. P. Gielen, & R. Wu (Eds.), Handbook fo counseling and psychotherapy in an international context (pp. 106-116). New York: Routledge.

    Abstract: (from the introduction) This chapter discusses the historical roots, varied training and licensure requirements, and diversity of approaches in counseling and psychotherapy in English and French Canada. In response to changing cultural and political trends in Canada, counseling and psychotherapy are expanding rapidly in a context of new challenges and opportunities. Fifty years ago, the practice of counselors was primarily associated with education and guidance while the practice of psychotherapists was more closely associated with the treatment of clients with psychological and psychiatric conditions. However, this division no longer reflects the reality of practice in Canada: numerous professions that span both counseling and psychotherapy have emerged, and the scope of practice of many professions has expanded to the point that the distinction is no longer valid. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved) 

    Link: Counseling and psychotherapy in Canada: Diversity and growth.

  • Bedi, R. P., Klubben, L. M., & Barker, G. T. (2012). Counselling vs. clinical: A comparison of psychology doctoral programs in Canada. Canadian Psychology, 53, 238-253. doi: 10.1037/a0028558. 

    Abstract: AB Individuals trained in counselling psychology and clinical psychology dominate the landscape of applied, professional Canadian psychology, yet there is little consistency in understanding the similarities and differences between these two specializations. Although much research has been conducted on this topic in the United States, not all of these results generalize to Canada due to distinct characteristics in the development of the specializations within each country. The current study used a 32-page coding instrument that addressed over 300 variables to compare all CPA and/or APA-accredited PhD programs in counselling psychology (n = 4) and clinical psychology (n = 22) at the time of data collection, primarily using publically available information (e.g., Web sites, program handbooks, student manuals). Data analysis centred on parameter and inferential tests of difference and their magnitudes of effect. Results showed a large number of similarities but also many differences between the two specializations in Canada. Students seeking guidance on which of the two specializations better fits their academic/professional goals can use this information to assist with career decision-making. (C) 2012 by the American Psychological Association 

  • Bedi, R. P., Haverkamp, B. E., Beatch, R., Cave, D. G., Domene, J. J., Harris, G. E., & Mikhail, A. (2011). Counselling Psychology in a Canadian Context: Definition and Description. Canadian Psychology, 52(2),128-138. doi: 10.1037/a0023186 

    Abstract: Counselling psychology, established in 1987 as a specialization within Canadian professional psychology, has developed a distinctive identity and specific underlying approach to training and practice. To date, the field in Canada has evolved without benefit of a formal definition of the specialization. Over three years, a task force charged with development of a definition of Canadian counselling psychology engaged in a broad survey of extant literature and member consultation, and proposed a definition that was adopted by the Board of Directors of the Canadian Psychological Association in June 2009. The present work discusses the process that informed development of the definition, provides a description of the characteristics of a Canadian counselling psychology approach to research and practice, and enumerates challenges to the continued development of the specialization.

    Reconnue en 1987 a titre de domaine specialise de la psychologie professionnelle au Canada, la psychologie du counselling a acquis une identite distincte et une approche sous-jacente particuliere en matiere de formation et de pratique. A ce jour, au Canada, ce domaine a evolue sans pour autant beneficier d’une definition formelle. Pendant trois ans, un groupe de travail charge d’arreter une definition de la psychologie du counselling au Canada s’est engage dans une vaste enquete comprenant la consultation de la documentation existante et de membres du domaine. En juin 2009, il a propose une definition, qui a ete adoptee par le conseil d’administration de la Societe canadienne de psychologie. Le present article rappelle le processus utilise pour elaborer la definition, decrit les caracteristiques d’une approche en matiere de recherche et de pratique en psychologie du counselling au Canada et determine les defis inherents au developpement continu de ce domaine specialise. (C) 2011 by the American Psychological Association 

  • Gazzola N., De Stefano J., Cristelle A., Theriault A. (2011). Professional identity among counselling doctoral students: A qualitative investigationCounselling Psychology Quarterly 24(4), 257-275.doi: 10.1080/09515070.2011.630572.

    Abstract: Counselling psychology has always had an interest in exploring its professional identity. This may be due to diverse multidisciplinary influences on counselling psychology. While diversity and multiplicity can be considered a hallmark feature of the profession, it can also be a source of stress for doctoral students. This study explores counselling psychology doctoral students’ perceptions of their professional identities. It is guided by two research questions: (a) What experiences and conditions do counselling psychology doctoral students perceive as contributing to their professional identities? (b) What experiences and conditions do counselling psychology doctoral students perceive as hindering their professional identity? We developed a semi-structured interview protocol and interviewed 10 graduate students who had completed their first year of doctoral study. A variation of the consensual qualitative research method was used for data analysis. Seven categories of experiences that fostered professional identity and four categories of experiences that hindered professional identity were identified. These findings have implications for the practice of counselling psychology within the larger mental health delivery system as well as for the training of counselling psychologists, including counselling curriculum and counselling supervision. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract) 

  • Haverkamp, B. E., Robertson, S. E., Cairns, S. L., & Bedi, R. P. (2011). Professional issues in Canadian counselling psychology: Identity, education, and professional practice. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 52(4), 256-264. doi:10.1037/a0025214

    Abstract: The past decade has seen significant growth in counselling psychology’s professional identity, increased visibility of the specialization within applied psychology, and advances in doctoral training and accreditation by the Canadian Psychological Association. The current article details professional issues associated with the recent evolution of the field, including the establishment of a strong professional identity for the profession, developments and challenges associated with graduate training (e.g., the limited availability of predoctoral internships), and the implications of the dynamic, changing workplace environment for graduates affiliated with counselling psychology. Recommendations are offered for continued development of the specialization in its Canadian context.

    Au cours de la derniere decennie, le profil professionnel de la psychologie du counseling a grandement gagne en notoriete, notamment en tant que specialisation au sein de la psychologie appliquee. De plus, on note des progres aux chapitres de la formation au niveau du doctorat et de l’accreditation aupres de la Societe canadienne de psychologie. Le present article explique les questions d’ordre professionnel decoulant de la recente evolution dans le domaine, y compris l’etablissement d’un solide profil professionnel, les progres et les difficultes associes a la formation des diplomes (par ex., le nombre restreint de stages predoctoraux), ainsi que les repercussions d’un environnement dynamique et changeant sur les diplomes affilies au domaine de la psychologie du counseling. Des recommandations sont ensuite proposees en vue de favoriser le developpement soutenu de cette specialisation au Canada.
    (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

  • Hiebert, B., Domene, J. F., & Buchanan, M. (2011). The power of multiple methods and evidence sources: Raising the profile of Canadian counselling psychology research. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 52(4), 265-275. doi:10.1037/a0025364 

    Abstract: In counselling psychology, research and practice are viewed as mutually informative, and Canadian counselling psychologists conduct research in a wide range of areas, utilizing a wide range of research methods. However, there are few Canadian publications that give prominence to counselling psychology scholarly work. Over the past decade, two trends have become more prominent in the practice of counselling psychology: evidence-based practice and outcome-focused intervention. Traditionally, empirical evidence for the efficacy of practice interventions has come from randomized controlled trials. This fails to reflect the diversity of methods and practice that Canadian counselling psychologists utilize. To address this discrepancy, in this article we provide some alternate ways for obtaining empirical support for the predictive efficacy of counselling interventions. We conclude by addressing some challenges currently facing counselling psychologists in Canada (i.e., publication venues, funding for research, the connection between research and practice, preparation of students) and describing some ways for raising the profile of counselling psychology research and practice in Canada. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) 

  • Sinacore, A. L. (2011). Canadian counselling psychology coming of age: An overview of the special section. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 52(4), 245-247. doi:10.1037/a0025331

    Abstract: This paper provides a brief overview of each of the papers published in this special section on Canadian Counselling Psychology and details how the special section articles further the development of the discipline by highlighting Canadian authored scholarship, mapping out the history and current state of the discipline, and considering how the unique Canadian context shaped the literature reviewed. Specifically, this introduction outlines how the articles to follow cover the following topics: (a) the history of Canadian counselling psychology; (b) professional issues and identity; (c) counselling, training, and supervision; (d) research and scientific issues; and (e) counselling psychologists’ contribution to applied psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) 

  • Sinacore, A., Borgen, W. A., Daniluk, J., Kassan, A., Long, B. C., & Nicol, J. J. (2011). Canadian counselling psychologists’ contributions to applied psychology. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 52(4), 276-288. doi:10.1037/a0025549

    Abstract: The goal of this paper is to draw attention to the contributions of Canadian counselling psychologists in three key areas central to the discipline: (a) multiculturalism, social justice, and advocacy; (b) health, wellness, and prevention, and (c) career psychology. Accordingly, we have situated our discussion within a historical framework of the discipline followed by a discussion of the Canadian context, definitions, and specific contributions. Finally, we offer a summary of the strengths and current challenges faced by Canadian counselling psychologists. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) 

  • Young, R. A., & Lalande, V. (2011). Canadian counselling psychology: From defining moments to ways forward. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 52(4), 248-255. doi:10.1037/a0025165

    Abstract: Counselling psychology in Canada is a distinct and vibrant professional area representing the contributions of many people and events within a unique context. This article elaborates a number of defining moments or actions that reveal the distinct nature of this professional area through a recursive and interactive process with the social context. A number of ways forward are proposed as specific professional developments, as well as the resolution of a number of substantive issues identified within the recently adopted definition of counselling psychology. Moving forward as a discipline and a practice will actualize the potential of counselling psychology as both world and life enhancing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) 

  • Beatch, R., Bedi, R. P., Cave, D., Domence, F. F., Harris, G. E., Haverkamp, B.E., & Mikhail, A-M. (2009, December). Counseling psychology in a Canadian context: Final report from the Executive Committee for a Canadian Understanding of Counseling Psychology (Report). Ottawa, ON: Counseling Psychology Section of the Canadian Psychological Association.     


  • Young, R. A. (2009). Counseling in the Canadian mosaic: A cultural perspective. In L. H. Gerstein, P. P. Heppner, S. Ægisdóttir, S. A. Leung, K. L. Norsworthy, L. H. Gerstein, … K. L. Norsworthy (Eds.) , International handbook of cross-cultural counseling: Cultural assumptions and practices worldwide (pp. 359-367). Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc. doi:10.4135/.n26

    Abstract: Counseling expands the range and focus of the fields of human action. Rather than narrowly focusing on a particular ethnic, gendered, or other group, this cultural perspective is integrative and inclusive. This perspective is important because it suggests that culture is not simply the context in which counseling occurs. Counseling isn’t simply a practice that happens in this or that culture. Counseling actually helps the person discover and construct the possibilities of action within cultures. The link between counseling and culture is much more significant than is commonly believed; however, this is not a view that is espoused explicitly by Canadian counseling psychologists. Rather, it is often assumed that culture provides a backdrop for the counselingprocess. In contrast, in this chapter, culture is approached as the field of action that clients and counselors construct and create in counseling. As a field of action, the Canadian culture is multifaceted and layered, suggesting that describing counseling psychology in Canada is a complex and challenging task. The Canadian culture offers possibilities for counseling practice in various forms, modalities, agencies, programs, and policies, implemented through a variety of human agents. In turn, this practice is informed by conceptualizations, research, popular discourse, media, and human needs and wishes as constructed in this society. Ideally, one would examine the specifics of this or thatcounseling practice to see what field of human action it represents. However, in this chapter, a broadbrush approach is taken to portraycounseling psychology in Canada as cultural practice. It can be addressed by answering two questions: 1. How is counseling psychology understood as a fairly generalizable domain of professional practice applied in Canada? That is, what are the broad parameters of the culture in which it evolved and continues to evolve and what is counseling psychology’s current status and identity? 2. Can the possibilities for practice be illustrated by addressing several important issues in counseling psychology in Canada? A subquestion is, in taking up these illustrative issues, what unique contributions does Canadian counseling psychology have to offer this field, particularly in light of global developments and multicultural perspectives? (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved) (chapter) 

  • Young, R. A., & Nicol, J. J. (2007). Counselling psychology in Canada: Advancing psychology for all.Applied Psychology: An International Review, 56, 20-32.

    Abstract: Although counseling psychology is a broad-based and inclusive branch of psychology, certain themes still tend to define counseling psychology across countries where it had some time to develop and is more formally organized.  Three of these themes—the world of work, the counseling process, and human diversity—will be highlighted as examples of contributions the branch has made to the discipline and that serve as potential springboards for work in the domain of human and global sustainability. 

  • Lalande, V. (2004). Counselling psychology: A Canadian perspective. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 17, 273-286. 

    Abstract: This perspective of the field of counselling psychology in Canada provides a snapshot of the profession within the context of time and place. The field is described in terms of how it was shaped by two national organizations as well as the regional associations. Current licensing requirements, definitions, foci, and philosophies of counselling psychology in Canada are discussed. Also reviewed are the work settings, activities, and training requirements of counselling psychologists. Events that influenced the field are identified along with the opportunities and challenges these events continue to provide. Notable examples are provided of links between the field in Canada and international organizations and projects. Counselling psychology in Canada continues to be characterized by fluidity, contextualized definitions, and diverse practices. This poses some risks and opportunities for the future development of the field as a distinct Canadian profession differentiated from other fields within professional psychology in Canada. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

  • Hurley, G., & Doyle, M. S. (2003/rev.2007). Counseling psychology: From industrial societies to sustainable development. In S. Carta (Ed.), Encyclopedia of life support systems (EOLSS), Oxford, UK: EOLSS Publishers. 

    Abstract: Counselling psychology in Canada was examined using a SWOT analysis. Four strengths were identified: identity, paradigm, skill set, and education and training. Tensions within the first three of these strengths were also considered weaknesses. External opportunities for counselling psychology included changes in society, social diversity, and health. Among the threats to counselling psychology in Canada are the university context for training programmes, competition with other professional groups, and pressure from external influences on how to define counselling psychology practice. The vision for the future of counselling psychology in Canada is based on the principle of making psychology available to a wide range of the Canadian population through a variety of means. The International Association of Applied Psychology can work to enhance this area of professional psychology and can look to Canada for support and models in developing this field in other countries. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract) 


  • Sinacore-Guinn, A. L. (1995). Counselling psychology: A look at the question of identity, roles, and the future. McGill Journal of Education, 30, 257-272. 

    Abstract: This paper examines the questions, "What is counselling psychol- ogy?" and "Where is it going?" In an attempt to answer the first question, it examines the identity, roles, and values of the counselling psychologist. Second, it provides an analysis of some of the current trends in counselling psychology from the perspective of those roles, values, and identity. Finally, it analyzes the profession’s raison d’être and concludes that it is the focus on strengths and wellness that will give counselling psychology an edge in understanding the educational, social and political issues that individuals and society are struggling to address. 

  • Hiebert, B., & Uhlemann, M. R. (1993). Counselling psychology: Development, identity, and issues. In K. S. Dobson & D. J. G. Dobson (Eds.), Professional psychology in Canada (pp. 285-312). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe & Huber.

    Abstract: (from the chapter) [describe] how counselling psychology became a professional entity in Canada and how that developmental process was similar to and different from what happened in the US / describe the current Canadian scene, basing our description on a survey asking counselling psychologists to describe their profession / provide some thoughts on future directions of counselling psychology in Canada by outlining the issues and problems that remain to be addressed if counselling psychology is to continue to develop as a viable specialization within the broad field of psychology counselling psychology: the search for professional identity [areas of practice, research, theory development] / professional issues [professional standards, accreditation, professional standards and our primary affiliation, scientist-practitioner, training issues] (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) 

  • Hiebert, B., & And, O. (1992). Professional Identity and Counsellor Education. Canadian Journal Of Counselling, 26(3), 201-08.

    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to provide a perspective on the current sense of professional identity amongst counsellors and counselling psychologists in Canada, with the hope of encouraging more attention to this issue amongst counsellors, counselling psychologists, and counsellor educators. Findings from a pilot survey on professional identity suggest that the three groups agree on the definition of counselling psychology, but there are considerable discrepancies between the perceptions and practices of all three groups. As well, there is little agreement on how counselling psychology is similar to or different from other helping professions. Conclusions and implications of these findings for the development of a more clear professional identity are discussed.

  • Friesen, J. D. (1983). Counselling psychology: A discipline. Canadian Counsellor, 17, 147-15

    Abstract: Contends that counseling psychology has become a mature discipline in terms of a body of theory, research, and practice. While it has its own journals, associations, and university programs, it also needs effective research methodology and a widespread belief that it exists as a discipline. The author also examines the history of emerging disciplines, the process in becoming a discipline, and the domain of psychological knowledge in the field of counseling. (French abstract) (22 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

  • Lecomte, D., Dumont, F., & Zingle, H. W. (1981). Research in counselling psychology: Changing emphases in a Canadian perspective. Canadian Counsellor, 16, 9-20.

    Abstract: Defines counseling psychology and the factors that shaped its development. A survey of contemporary research is presented within a tripartite schema: remediation, developmental counseling, and prevention. Methodological issues are discussed in terms of designs and trends, to establish principles and formulate suggestions for future research. Within a Canadian context, operational research support is assessed, recommendations for areas of expanded research are offered, and proposals for broader operational support are presented. (75 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)