Counselling Therapy involves partnering with clients to bring about positive change in a client’s thinking, feeling, behaviour and social functioning. This is accomplished using using a combination of mental health and human development principles, methods and techniques to achieve mental, emotional, physical, social, moral, educational, spiritual or career development and adjustment through their lifespan. Counselling Therapy is primarily a talk-based therapy which utilizes a variety of professional competencies to help people improve and maintain their mental health and well-being. Individual Registered Counselling Therapists inform their own practice and specialties by drawing on innovative evidence-based methods spanning the range from somatic-based mind-body work, to techniques involving art, music and animal assisted therapy. Registered Counselling Therapists provide mental health services to adults, adolescents, children, couples, families and groups. As healthcare professionals, counselling therapists work in a wide range of settings such as private practice, hospitals, clinics, care facilities, rehabilitation centres/programs, employee assistance programs, public schools, colleges, universities, and more.
Individuals typically seek counselling therapy when they have thoughts, feelings, moods and behaviour that adversely affect their day-to-day lives, relationships and the ability to enjoy life.
What is a Registered Counselling Therapist?
To be eligible for registration and licensure with the College, applicants must hold a counselling-related master’s degree, which involves academic course work and a substantial clinical practice component focusing on direct client contact.
Following graduation, applicants are eligible to be licensed as a Registered Counselling Therapist – Candidate (RCT-C). This post-graduate designation allows them to begin counselling under the oversight of an experienced counselling therapist with specialized training in supervision. The required candidacy period extends over 2-to-5-years and involves a minimum 2,000 hours of supervised practice with at least 800 hours of direct counselling experience. Following successful completion of their candidacy period they begin fully independent practice as a Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT).
To maintain licensure, Registered Counselling Therapists must renew registration annually and undertake mandatory continuing education and professional development throughout their career.
Under provincial legislation, only individuals who are registered with NSCCT are permitted to use the title “Registered Counselling Therapist.” It also prohibits anyone other than an RCT from describing the services they provide as “counselling therapy.
For your protection it is important that when seeking counselling therapy, you check the License Status Check section of our website to ensure you are getting a licensed counselling therapist.
What to Expect from a Registered Counselling Therapist
When you retain the services of a Registered Counselling Therapist, you can expect to receive competent, ethical, quality care from a qualified professional who is registered and licensed by NSCCT. Registered Counselling Therapists are accountable to the College for the quality of care they provide and for their professional conduct.
RCTs adhere to a Code of Ethics and professional Standards of Practice adopted and enforced by the College. These standards provide clear expectations for all counselling therapists to follow.
A Registered Counselling Therapist will establish a therapeutic relationship by:
- having a conversation about the benefits, risks and expected outcome(s) of counselling therapy and the opportunity to give informed consent;
- setting clearly communicated, mutually agreed upon goals for the counselling therapy;
- ensuring each therapy session has a clear beginning and a clear end where problems or concerns are presented and discussed and outcomes are explored;
- demonstrating the appropriate use of boundaries to create a safe and confidential environment.
Throughout the counselling relationship, counselling therapists are expected to:
- ensure that the client’s well-being is at the forefront of the relationship;
- work with the client(s) to gather relevant information that will support the formulation of a plan for counselling therapy;
- continuously evaluate outcomes of each session and the impact on overall treatment goal(s);
- and, adhere to the standards of practice for the profession.
Registered Counselling Therapists are competent to:
- respond to diversity and inclusiveness;
- work in the interest of individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, communities, and the public-at-large;
- work in the domains of cognition, emotion, expression, somatics, human development, behaviour, learning, and interactive systems;
- promote mental health by developing and enhancing:
- personal, relational, sexual, career, and spiritual growth and well-being,
- personal awareness and resources,
- decision-making and problem-solving;
- remediate or provide treatment for disorders in cognitive, behavioural, interpersonal, and emotional functioning;
- apply specific and recognized evaluation and assessment methods;
- participate in supervision, education, training, consultation, research, diagnosis, and referral.
NSCCT holds all Registered Counselling Therapists accountable for the quality of care that they provide and for their professional conduct.