My Clinician does a certain kind of therapy

Edmonton Psychologist, RCSW's, C.C.C.'s and other mental health therapists often supplement their foundation training with additional workshops and supervised practice in specialized areas.  For example, some may work at gaining certification in Play Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and so on.

Clinicians cannot enroll in these advanced therapeutic practice approaches unless they have completed at least Master's level training in a clinical or counselling degree, and are a member in good standing of a regulatory body.


Each therapeutic approach may offer levels of training or potential expertise (through additional coursework, supervised practice, and providing teaching or supervision to others.  Different programs use different titles to designate levels.  Most programs offer a website that describes the level requirements.  The websites often also have a page listing current members, and the member's training in that particular therapy model.

Basic Training

Many of these additional therapeutic approaches are first taught in a workshop format.  These workshops may be one day courses, or take 7-8 full days to complete.  There may be a practicum and/or supervision component to the training.  There may or may not be an exam.  Often certification in each therapeutic approach is given in levels.  The first level requires completion of a basic or introductory workshop (or series of workshops with or without practicum components). 

Some models state that clinicians can claim to advertise competency in that treatment modality once they have completed all the requirements of basic training.  Other therapy approaches require the clinician to complete more than basic training before they can promote themselves as independent practitioners in the treatment approach.

More Than Basic Training

To gain a second level of competency the practitioner often needs to demonstrate they have completed a certain number of supervised hours working directly with clients.  The number of supervised hours may vary between 10 and several hundred.  Many programs will grant the designation "certified" once the second level of competency requirements are met.

Clinical Supervisor

The third level of competency often reflects that clinicians ability to supervise other's training work.  To gain this level the clinician will have demonstrated several years of working with this approach and likely completed additional coursework and supervised practice. 


The fourth level typically indicates the clinician has worked in that treatment approach for many years.  They have demonstrated competence in teaching the model to new clinicians first by assisting in teaching basic and advanced training courses in that program, and then being the primary instructor under supervision in that model.  Most trainers have worked as a clinical supervisor in the approach for several years.

So how can I tell if my clinician can do this kind of therapy?

This is entirely up to the client to ask.  Clinicians are always given certificates upon completion of a training level.  You, as the client can ask to see these certifications.  You may also want to ask what was involved in gaining the certification.  It may also be valuable to find out if the clinician has continued to receive training and supervision in the therapy approach.  A clinician who completes a training in a therapy approach and does not use the approach regularly, or who does not obtain occasional supervision feedback or additional training may have lost some of their original competence, or may be practicing a version of the approach which is not in line with the therapeutic model, or may have no research substantiating its usefulness.