The mission statement of the Counselling Program at Acadia University was jointly created by the M.Ed. Counselling faculty. The mission statement is reviewed every 3 years. The review is conducted in consultation with the Community Advisory Committee and graduate students in the Counselling Program.
The M.Ed. Counselling Program's mission states: The Counselling Program at Acadia University is dedicated to the preparation of leaders of the counselling profession through the pursuit of disciplined inquiry, the understanding of and respect for human diversity, and the development, use, and evaluation of effective counselling practices. Counselling is a helping profession devoted to the prevention, remediation, and amelioration of emotional, cognitive, behavioural, and interpersonal difficulties and the enhancement of human potential and quality of life. These aims are sought by integrating theory and practice and with the awareness and skills to work with diverse populations from individual, social, and organizational perspectives.
Acadia’s Counselling Program provides an accredited and quality-based foundational program preparing professionals for various work settings.
The Counselling Program supports the mission of Acadia University, which is “to provide a personalized and rigorous liberal education; promote a robust and respectful scholarly community; and inspire a diversity of students to become critical thinkers, lifelong learners, engaged citizens, and responsible global leaders.”
Faculty associated with the Counselling Program provide a rigorous academic experience within a supportive environment, which contributes to personal, academic, and professional development and to the personal growth of students from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, geographical, and socio-economic backgrounds who will graduate:
- As mature counsellors with reasonable awareness of themselves and their impact on others.
- As practitioners who are knowledgeable about the profession of counselling and skilled to effectively and ethically practice as counsellors in school and community/agency settings and
- With a commitment to the scholarly and professional community of counselling and the people to whom they provide service and with whom they consult.
Orientation of the Program
The M.Ed. Counselling Program aims to educate professionals about the orientation and priorities of counsellor education, namely the personal, the academic, and the professional.
The Personal (who we are)
Counselling involves the person of the counsellor, the person of the client, and the process between them. Acadia’s Counselling Program recognizes the value of self-knowledge and self-awareness. The identity, authenticity, and integrity of the person of the counsellor are essential dimensions in the practice of counselling and, therefore, must receive emphasis in a counsellor education program. Regularly, students are encouraged to address important philosophical questions about who they are and what motivates their lives. Personal reflection can be done through journaling, shared discussion groups, class check-ins, and professional counselling or accompaniment.
The Academic (what we need to know and why)
Counsellors also need academic knowledge about the theoretical foundations of counselling and should understand how professional practice is informed by research within the profession. They must also be familiar with the contemporary issues and challenges facing counselling practitioners. It is essential to know how different theories of counselling view the nature of people and their psychological dynamics. An important part of academic knowledge is understanding human development and the personal and career issues facing people at various stages in their lives.
The Professional (how we practise)
The professional dimension encompasses the practical aspects of counselling, including the pre-practicum skills and interventions and the application of these skills and interventions in a supervised setting. The professional dimension also includes knowledge of the legal and ethical issues related to counselling and involvement in various professional associations. A professional counsellor values continual professional development to maintain high standards of practice.
The objectives of Acadia's Counselling Program correspond to the Program’s mission statement:
- To integrate the three dimensions of counselling such that students will develop an attitude toward learning that involves an appreciation for the personal, academic, and professional dimensions of counselling.
- To understand and respond appropriately to the counselling needs of others.
- To appreciate the need and commitment for ongoing professional development as counsellors.
We commit to:
- Maintaining a relatively small, high-quality program that will function to support a community of learners in a cohort environment with collegial relationships between faculty and students;
- Promoting the development of our graduate students intellectually, emotionally, and professionally;
- Maintaining a supportive environment that promotes self-examination and openness to the perspectives of others with the expectation that each student will actively engage in a process of personal and professional growth; and
- Appreciating and celebrating the diversity of our students and the rich history of experiences they bring to our program.
We commit to:
- Educating students to be highly skilled and competent counsellors who will work effectively with diverse populations;
- Ensuring high quality and up-to-date curricular experiences and competencies in all 10 core areas of CACEP: Counselling as a Profession; Ethical and Legal Issues in Counselling; Counselling and Consultation Processes; Group Counselling; Human Development and Learning; Diversity; Lifestyle and Career Development; Assessment Processes; Research Methods; and, Program Evaluation;
- Supporting the teaching of an array of theoretical approaches so that students might begin to develop their models of counselling and consultation;
- Encouraging inquisitiveness and curiosity in students so they will seek to explore and evaluate the complexity of the discipline of counselling, remain open to evolving perspectives, and attempt to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others;
- Promoting an understanding and practice of ethical and legal issues in counselling; and
- Promoting the value of continuing to seek opportunities for personal and professional growth.
We commit to:
- Graduating professional counsellors who believe in the value of all persons and who are committed to advocating for others when injustices prevail;
- Teaching the importance of advocacy and social responsibility;
- Encouraging counselling students to become actively involved in professional organizations such as the national Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and its provincial chapter (CCPA-NS), the Nova Scotia School Counsellors Association (NSSCA), and the provincial regulatory body, the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists NSCCT); and
- Faculty acting as models of leadership in local, provincial/territorial, national, and international professional associations, as well as in school and community/agency organizations
School Stream Objectives
In addition to the common program objectives outlined above, the School Counselling stream will:
- Engage students in an ongoing process of monitoring their growth and development as school counsellors through reflection and self-evaluation;
- Foster development of knowledge and skills to design, deliver, and evaluate school counselling programs; and
- Promote the development of knowledge and skills that facilitate coordinating, consulting, and designing guidance curricula and values dedicated to student advocacy.
Agency Stream Objectives
In addition to the common program objectives outlined previously, the Agency Counselling stream will:
- Provide students with a comprehensive and historical understanding of community and agency counselling;
- Prepare students for the multidimensional roles of community and agency counsellors in various settings with opportunities to consider various strategies for the development, implementation and/or evaluation of diverse community and agency counselling programs; and
- Assist students in recognizing diverse populations served in community and agency counselling settings, and prepare them to integrate assessment, diagnostic, care planning, closure, referral, and advocacy skills pertinent to client needs.