Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 685

Advanced Counselling Practicum (Revision 2)


Delivery Mode: Paced Study, online and weekend seminars, and field placement (400 hours: 200 direct client hours and 200 indirect).

Credits: 6

Area of Study: Graduate Studies

Prerequisite: GCAP 631, GCAP 632, GCAP 633, GCAP 634, GCAP 635, GCAP 671

Precluded Courses: GCAP 681 and GCAP 682

This course must be taken through GCAP. Permission of the program is required. This course is not open to non-program students.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

check availability


GCAP 685: Advanced Counselling Practicum provides students with an extensive practicum experience. The initial portions of the practicum is designed to provide an introduction to counselling practice, with a specific focus on the application of counselling skills in a supervised applied practice context. As students move through the practicum, they will have an opportunity to integrate content (i.e., counselling theories, ethics, diversity) that they have already acquired into practice; learn to manage workplace demands in counselling agencies; and build the foundation for lifelong professional development and reflective practice

The practicum includes direct service experience in both individual counselling and group work. The GCAP 685 course work complements the clinical supervision provided in the practicum site by addressing a range of issues related to counselling practice. Through both field placement and course activities, students will become familiar with a variety of professional activities (e.g., record keeping, supervision, referral processes, collaboration, and professional development) and variety of professional resources (e.g., assessment and intervention processes, a wide range of professional resources, and research). Student development as a practicum student and as a professional is a primary focus throughout the course. The assignments and learning activities are designed to nudge, and even push their process of reflection and stimulate development in areas such as their theoretical orientation, ethical decision-making, and self-awareness.


The course is divided into 26 weekly lessons, spanning two semesters, and structured as follows.

Semester I

  • Lesson 1: Orientation to the Practicum
  • Lesson 2: Self-Monitoring Performance
  • Lesson 3: Common factors, Part I: Client Characteristics and Relationships Factors
  • Lesson 4: Common factors, Part II: Model and Technique and Expectancy / Hope
  • Lesson 5: Developing your Theoretical Orientation
  • Lesson 6: Utilizing Supervision
  • Lesson 7: Counsellor Professional Identity
  • Lesson 8: Risk Assessment
  • Lesson 9: Preparation for Intensive Seminar / Case Conceptualization
  • Lesson 10: Debrief from Intensive Seminar
  • Lesson 11: Clinical Record Keeping
  • Lesson 12: Dilemmas of Practice: Ruptures in the Working Alliance
  • Lesson 13: Reflections on Semester I

Semester II

  • Lesson 14: Ethical Dilemmas
  • Lesson 15: Self-care
  • Lesson 16: Secondary Traumatic Stress and Vicarious Traumatization
  • Lesson 17: Diversity in Practice
  • Lesson 18: Collaborating with Other Professionals: Navigating Larger Systems
  • Lesson 19: Dealing with Therapeutic Failure
  • Lesson 20: Learning from clients
  • Lesson 21: Stages of Counsellor Development/Preparing for Termination
  • Lesson 22: Preparation for Intensive Seminar / Case Conceptualization
  • Lesson 23: Debrief from Intensive Seminar
  • Lesson 24: Counsellor Professional Identity Revisited
  • Lesson 25: Theory Revisited
  • Lesson 26: Person of the Therapist/Next Steps

Course Evaluation

The advanced counselling practicum will be graded based on the following course activities, with the percentage weighting of each activity as indicated. Final grades for the course will be a composite mark based on student performance on these course activities. Students must obtain a grade of 70% overall on components graded by percentage. To receive credit for GCAP 685, students must also receive a pass on each of the pass/fail components of the course.

Course Assignments

The assessment structure for GCAP 685: Advanced Counselling Practicum is based on the following course activities.

Course Activity Weight
Participation in Online Discussions 20%
Assignment 1: Reflective Edublog and Portfolio 20%
Assignment 2: Case Conceptualization and Video Presentation I 20%
Assignment 3: Case Conceptualization and Video Presentation II 20%
Assignment 4: Theory of Counselling Paper 20%
Formative and Summative Practicum Evaluation P/F
Total 100%

For pass/fail components of the course, full completion of the tasks is required to obtain a pass on that component.

Course Materials

All other course materials are available online.

Other Course Requirements

Attendance at practicum intensives: Students are required to attend both 4-day intensive seminars in their entirety. Weekend seminars are scheduled from 8:30 to 4:30 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and 8:30 to 2:00 Sunday. Students are required to make travel plans so that they can attend for the entire duration of the seminar. Students who do not attend the entire seminar will be required to withdraw from the course and practicum.

Videotaping of client work: Students are required to videotape client work at their field placement. Each student must present a videotape at each weekend seminar. Students who do not present a videotape of their client work at each seminar will be required to withdraw from the course and practicum.

Client contact hours: Students are required to complete the required direct client contact hours with a satisfactory evaluation. Failure to complete the required number of client contact hours will result in a fail in the course.

Other Information

Students with a disability, who require academic accommodation, need to register with the Access to Students with Disabilities Centre at Athabasca University. Notification of the need for academic accommodation must normally be provided to the program office no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the first day of class. It is the student's responsibility to register with the Disability Centre to request academic accommodation if required and to notify the instructor that such accommodation has been requested. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual student needs. However, because GCAP courses are paced, all student are required to participate weekly in the online discussion forums. There are also several courses where online exams are required.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, September 2008.