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Couple Counselling and Spirituality

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The Faculty of Human Sciences at Saint Paul University offers a graduate program leading to a Graduate Diploma in Couple Counselling and Spirituality. This diploma is conferred jointly by the Senates of Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa under the terms of the federation agreement between them.

Professionals who seek to update their credentials and skills in the area of couple therapy, by completing the Diploma, will have met the requirements, in the area of theory and therapy, of the marriage and family courses required towards certification by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT). AAMFT Clinical Membership pre-requisites include three master’s courses in MFT theory and three courses in MFT training.

This program is intended for professionals who are already experienced counselors and who would like to specialize in couple counselling. 

Admissions scholarships available of a value up to $1500

Admission to the graduate programs in counselling and spirituality is governed by the General Regulations of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FGPS).

Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree with honours or with a major in a related discipline such as counselling, spirituality, practical theology, health care, psychology, social work, pastoral studies or a discipline judged equivalent to these;
  • Completion of 24 credits in total in psychology and sociology;
  • Completion of 6 credits in theology or religious studies or a discipline deemed equivalent*;
  • Completion of a counselling training with clinical experience (a minimum of 120 hours of supervised direct, face-to-face, contact with clients);
  • An average of at least 70% (B) calculated in accordance with FGPS guidelines.

A maximum of three credits in equivalencies or advanced standing may be granted. To be eligible, the credits in question must not have counted towards the requirements of a previous diploma or degree. Candidates who have already successfully completed some of the compulsory credits may be allowed to replace those credits with elective credits. For details, consult section B.2.7. of the "General Regulations of the FGPS.

Transfer from Graduate Diploma to MA Degree Program

Students registered in the graduate diploma program can request to transfer to the MA in Counselling and Spirituality in accordance with regulation A. 7.1 of the "General regulations" of the FGPS.

*Students wishing to pursue their studies in counselling and spirituality at the master's level must complete an additional 6 credits in theology, religious studies or a discipline deemed equivalent (for a total of 12 credits) prior to submitting their application for admission to the master's.

Some additional documents, and in some cases specific forms, are required. For more information, please see the page Step 4: Gather the documents needed for the assessment of your application.

Graduate Diploma Requirements (18 credits)

Core Courses (12 cr.):
IPA5138 THEORIES OF FAMILY SYSTEMS AND INTERVENTION (3cr.)
IPA5144 SPIRITUALITY AND COUNSELLING (3cr.)
IPA6312 COUPLES, FAMILY DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH (3cr.)
IPA7104 THEORIES OF COUPLE COUNSELLING (3cr.)

Optional Courses (6 cr.) two from the following:
IPA5129 GROUP DYNAMICS AND COUNSELLING (3cr.)
IPA5134 PRACTICAL THEOLOGY (3cr.)
IPA5142 WORKING WITH TRAUMA AND VIOLENCE IN COUPLES AND FAMILIES (3cr.)
IPA5161 UNDERSTANDING THE TRAUMA OF SEXUAL ABUSE (3cr.)
IPA6130 COUPLES, FAMILIES AND ADDICTIONS (3cr.)
IPA7102 PHENOMENOLOGY OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS IN LOVE AND MARRIAGE (3cr.)
IPA7109 SURVEY OF SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION AND TREATMENT (3cr.)
IPA6140 INTERNAL CLINICAL PRACTICUM IN COUPLE AND FAMILY COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY (Part 1 of 2) (3cr.)
IPA6141 INTERNAL CLINICIAL PRACTICUM IN COUPLE AND FAMILY COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY (Part 2 of 2) (3cr.)

Course Sequence
The compulsory courses will be offered every year.

Minimum Standards

The passing grade in all courses is C+. Students who fail two courses (equivalent to 6 credits) or the same course twice must withdraw from the program.

Duration of the Program

The requirements of the diploma must be fulfilled within three years of initial registration in the program.

IPA 5131 - Methodology of Empirical Research

This course helps the students to develop skills for the critical evaluation of empirical research in the human sciences and the application of these skills in graduate research projects and theses. Qualitative and quantitative methods of gathering and validating scientific evidence in observation, case, evaluation, correlational and experimental studies. The formation of problems, structured questions, causal and non-causal hypotheses; operational definitions; dependent, extraneous and randomized variables; the selection of samples. Research ethics will be examined.

IPA 5134 - Practical Theology

This course presents new developments in Practical Theology with its particular interdisciplinary perspectives on faith and practice. The origins and development of Practical Theology are presented as a background to its specific methods and content. Practical Theology is situated within the modern context of theology. The course introduces the pastoral practitioner and the student of theology to theological examination of the components of ministry and of contemporary expressions of faith.

IPA 5138 - Theories of Family Systems and Interventions

This course presents a history of the family systems theories with individuals, couples, and families with a major focus on advanced family systems theories and interventions.Theories covered include Structural, Strategic, Bowen, Narrative, Solution Focused and more. Attention is paid to assessment of functional and dysfunctional family systems. The student/practitioner will learn interviewing, assessment and restructuring techniques, and how to explore family rules, systems, values and boundaries

IPA 5144 - Spirituality and Counselling

This course presents the human experience as the common bond linking theology, counselling and spirituality. A variety of approaches in theology and in counselling will be studied, including: The relationship between the stages of moral (human) development and the images of God, how psychology helps make the difference between an unhealthy theology, and a healthy one, that gives rise to a spirituality enriching us in our growth and development.

IPA 5146 - Professional Issues and Ethics in Counselling

Students are oriented to relevant professional organizations; the need for liability insurance, codes of ethics, professional standards and certification is examined. The course reviews major contemporary issues that surround the practice of pastoral counselling (e.g., confidentiality and its limits, record keeping, informed consent, the legal concerns impacting pastoral counselling) and research. The student is introduced to the processes of ethical reasoning and ethical decision-making. The need for continued training and supervised practice leading to certification will be discussed. Considerable attention is given to the role of informed judgment and peer consultation in resolving ethical dilemmas.

IPA 5149 - Professional Issues and Ethics in Spiritual Care

This course introduces the student to professional issues and ethical concerns which shape and flow from the caring context in health care services. The student is oriented to the process of ethical and professional standards and their implementation. Using case histories and ethical dilemmas the student is guided in dealing with both general and specific professional concerns such as the use of ethical frames of reference in decision making, respect for liberty in the formation of conscience, the need for and the limits of confidentiality, the use of charting research questions in health care, and the impact of teamwork in patient care. The students will also be invited to grapple with specific moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia, life prolongation, and the use of scarce resources.

IPA 6108 - Psychopathology and Treatment

Concepts such as normality and abnormality, and the inter-relationship of perceptual, cognitive and affective dimensions are discussed. Motivational, social, behavioural and inter-personal components of human functioning and reviewed. This course presents the mental disorders, distinguishing the neurotic and psychotic disorders. The neuroses, transient reactions to stress, psychological factors in physical illnesses, personality disorders and affective disorders are treated in depth. Each class of disorders is viewed from the point of view of its etiology, diagnostic indicators, assessment, research and treatment. An explanation of the factors that foster an individual’s invulnerability to stress, trauma, and genetic predispositions is presented. The interplay of stressors, interpersonal and intrapersonal resources, life history and community is emphasized in the etiology and course of the disorders and normal functioning. Disordered functioning is seen as a person’s attempt to come to terms with the demands of living.

IPA 6120 - Theories of Individual Counselling and Psychotherapy

This course provides a brief overview of the history of counselling theory and its orientations and trends. It attends to the nature of theory building and its interconnection to practice and research. It presents, critically in depth, representative theories from the current major orientations (e.g., experiential, cognitive, psychodynamic, behavioural) with a focus on the integration of understanding, assessment and treatment in the counselling process. In the presentation of theories, attention is given to the integration of theory, research and practice. Each theory is discussed with reference to its practical application, effectiveness and limitations. The manner in which one or more of these theories has been applied to pastoral counselling practice and in the development of pastoral counselling models, and in the development of a person’s spiritual and religious life is covered. 

IPA 6135 - INTERNAL CLINICAL PRACTICUM IN INDIVIDUAL COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY I (Part 1 of 2)

Theoretical study of individual counselling and individual psychotherapy; application of various psychotherapeutic situations, role plays, viewing of audiovisual recordings of experts in the field; effective use of self in counselling and psychotherapy; individual counselling and psychotherapy sessions with clients, including clinical supervision with psychologists or registered psychotherapists, at the Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre of Saint Paul University. Topics include active listening, paraphrasing, reflecting content and emotions, asking open and closed questions, summary, the intake interview, conceptualization of cases and writing reports and distinguishing a suicidal crisis and its appropriate responses, assessment of the client’s needs, personal and religious development, current capabilities, and circumstances of living, evaluation of the client’s emotional patterns, cognitive style, interpersonal patterns, and strategies for living along with ethical principles guiding professional practice. Graded S/NS.

IPA 6136 - INTERNAL CLINICAL PRACTICUM IN INDIVIDUAL COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY I (Part 2 of 2)

Challenges relating to boundary issues, client resources, psycho-spiritual assessment, relaxation and guided imagery, anxiety, depression, loss and grief, client resistance, self-disclosure, trauma, abuse, anger, diverse and multicultural populations, ending the therapeutic relationship. Graded S/NS.

Prerequisite: IPA6135.

IPA 6137 - INTERNAL CLINICAL PRACTICUM IN INDIVIDUAL COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY II

Deepening of clinical techniques and skills gained through IPA6135 and IPA6136. Graded S/NS.

Prerequisite: IPA6136.

IPA 6138 - INTERNAL CLINICAL PRACTICUM IN INDIVIDUAL COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY III (Part 1 of 2)

Theoretical study of individual counselling and individual psychotherapy; application of various psychotherapeutic situations, role plays, viewing of audiovisual recordings of experts in the field; effective use of self in counselling and psychotherapy; sessions of individual counselling and psychotherapy with clients, including clinical supervision with psychologists or registered psychotherapists, at the Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre of Saint Paul University. Topics to include professional ethics and record keeping, psychological and spiritual coping strategies, psychodynamic of clients, theories of attachment, sexual abuse, transactional analysis, drugs and addictions, conditions of post-traumatic stress. Graded S/NS.

Prerequisite: IPA6137.

IPA 6139 - INTERNAL CLINICAL PRACTICUM IN INDIVIDUAL COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY III (Part 2 of 2)

Mindfulness, search for meaning and transcendence, confidence, anger, shame and guilt, individuation, death and mourning, crisis intervention, diverse and multicultural populations. Graded S/NS.

Prerequisite: IPA6138.

IPA 6140 - INTERNAL CLINICAL PRACTICUM IN COUPLE AND FAMILY COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY (Part 1 of 2)

Theoretical study of couple and family therapy, therapy application to various situations and within role plays, and video of various expert intervention modalities, effective use of self in counselling and psychotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy sessions with clients (couples and/or families), including clinical supervision with psychologists or registered psychotherapists, at the Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre of Saint Paul University. Topics include advanced systems theory (EFT (therapy focusing on emotions); psychodynamic (imago; object relations, solution-centred); cognitive behaviour; attachment theory). Graded S/NS.

Prerequisite: IPA6137.

IPA 6141 - INTERNAL CLINICAL PRACTICUM IN COUPLE AND FAMILY COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY (Part 2 of 2)

Advanced Systemic Therapeutic Interventions: commitment and evaluation, use of self, the integration of spirituality, diverse and multicultural populations. Graded S/NS.

Prerequisite: IPA6140.

IPA 6152 - Theology and Spiritual Care

This course provides students with a critical theological understanding and means of developing the practice of pastoral ministry in the health care services. It presents an anthropological study of the human experience of health, illness, healing, suffering and dying, and a theological reflection on these in the light of the different Christian traditions. It presents the resources for care: principles of human development, principles of human helping; reflections on pastoral care practice; paradigms for care; skills for interpersonal caring; reflections on rituals used in caring; and insights into personalized religion and spirituality.

IPA 6156 - Research Seminar

IPA 6160 - Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Practicum I

This beginner practicum provides a learning situation whereby students develop personal and professional qualifications for ministry as a chaplain / spiritual care clinician. Students are systematically initiated to the functions and concerns of pastoral care services. Students are trained in the basic skills as they bear on the spiritual, emotional and religious needs of the patients, family and staff. This practicum consists of group activities, placement, written exercises and personal development seminar.

IPA 6161 - Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Practicum II

This practicum continues the experience gained in #1. Students learn more of the functions and concerns of spiritual care services; to the organization of a spiritual care department; to the practices and procedures for the implementation of spiritual care. The following methods encompass this experiential learning: supervised practice of ministry, lectures, seminars and didactics, personal development seminar, verbatim/ virtual visit reporting, individual supervision, and reflection reports.

IPA 7104 - Theories of Couple Counselling

The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the history and nature of theories of couple counselling. This course will introduce the central theories and concepts guiding couple therapy, including attachment, family systems, Emotionally Focused, experiential, and humanistic and the recent research related to couple therapy. There will be a particular focus on the skills, assessment and practice associated with Emotionally Focused therapy. Couple relationships both on the conscious and unconscious levels of functioning are examined and conceptualized.

IPA 7128 - External Clinical Practicum

In this supervised field practicum, the student offers counselling services at a community centre or an agency located outside campus. 

Prerequisite: Obtaining the grade "S" (Satisfactory) to all evaluation items in the course IPA6221.

Corequisites : IPA6321 or IPA7221 ou IPA7205

IPA 7162 - Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Practicum III

Students learn advanced skills in ministry to the sick, their families, as well as other specific settings in keeping with the students learning goals. They perfect and consolidate basic attitudes. Students are responsible for more complex ministry situations such as palliative care and mental health. They are taught to foster team work in a caring community as part of a spiritual care team.

Contact Us

Office of Admissions, Registrar and Student Services
Room 154
Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa, ON
K1S 1C4
CANADA

Telephone: 613-236-1393
Fax: 613-782-3014
admission@ustpaul.ca

Hours of Operation

August 15 to May 31

Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

June 1 to August 14

Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.




Information for future students

Saint Paul University

223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1S 1C4

maps

Toll free
1.800.637.6859


613-236-1393

613-782-3005

info@ustpaul.ca

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