MA Counselling program clears important hurdle

Posted: April 26, 2012

The MA Marriage and Family Counselling program at Briercrest seminary has just cleared an important hurdle.

Students who graduate from the program are now eligible to apply for membership with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).

“What this means is they have reviewed our program and have recognized the academic strength and faculty qualifications and have deemed our students eligible to apply for membership and proceed toward certification with CCPA,” Tony Schnare, interim coordinator for Briercrest’s marriage and family counselling program explained.  Students in the MA Counselling program are free to apply for certification membership upon graduation.

Currently, graduates of the program enjoy a similar relationship with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) and the Professional Association for Canadian Christian Counsellors (PACCC).

Schnare is excited about the benefits this recent development could have for graduates of the program.

“CCPA’s decision provides a level of professional recognition beyond just the degree opening doors for our grads within the broader mental health community,” he explained.  “In the past students may have focused primarily on pursuing parachurch organizations, Christian counselling centres, perhaps even private practice. This allows (students) to explore other employment opportunities where they can be living out their faith in a variety of professional settings.”

Canadian counsellors who are certified with CCPA are currently employed in areas such as community-based counselling agencies, hospitals, correctional institutions, schools and rehabilitation centres.

Professional networking, continuing education, and access to professional liability insurance are key benefits of membership with CCPA, AAMFT and PACCC.

 “In the end we join these associations to hold us accountable,” Schnare said explaining how membership and certification are designed to ensure a professional level of competency and adherence to ethical principles.

The decision is effective immediately.  Graduates from the MA Marriage and Family Counselling program apply for certification by getting an application form from the CCPA website at