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Prepare for a career or upgrade your skills in the social and community services field.  The Counselling Skills Foundations: Mental Health & Addictions program prepares graduates with the knowledge and practical skills required for support counsellor positions in diverse community settings.

Start Dates
Jan, May, Sep

What you will learn


Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate empathetic approaches in working with people
  2. Explore self-awareness by acknowledging and challenging assumptions
  3. Recognize how people are treated and shaped by historic and systemic oppression, as well as inclusion and social justice
  4. Apply interpersonal skills to complex dynamics in social service agencies
  5. Develop ethical and professional practices in support positions across community settings
  6. Describe the benefits and potential limitations of a trauma-informed practice
  7. Practice effective communication skills
  8. Explain evidence-based models, tools, and interventions relevant to the field of counselling
  9. Recognize Indigenous health models and resiliency, as well as traditional and contemporary practices

What to expect


The Counselling Skills Foundations: Mental Health & Addictions Certificate curriculum is designed to provide students with practical and experiential learning that is grounded in theory and evidence-based practice. The program has a skills-based focus and emphasis is placed on integration of knowledge and practice.

Courses are delivered through a combination of instructional activities including, but not limited to, lectures, seminars, group discussion and activities, demonstrations, guest lectures, videos, clinical simulations, and field trips.

The program concludes with a practicum in which students work or volunteer in a support position within a community setting. The practicum includes on-site support and supervision from a practicum supervisor and seminars for debriefing and integration of learning.

The Counselling Skills Foundations: Mental Health & Addictions program is committed to the following embedded values:

  • Value and demonstrate inclusive practices, including policies, language, behaviour, and culturally safe practice
  • Acknowledge and appreciate our positions on unceded lands
  • Demonstrate ethical and respectful behaviour in professional settings
  • Approach our work with a trauma-informed lens
  • Agree to co-create a learning environment which supports mutual respect, accountability, and humility 

Students and instructors are expected to strive toward these values.  Students will be provided with many opportunities to build their skills and reflect on their growth, to prepare them for the life-long learning required in the field.


Admission requirements

  • English Studies 12 with a minimum 'C+' grade or English Language Proficiency at a minimum Grade 12 'C+' level, or equivalent
  • CNSK 1401 (Basic Counselling Skills) with a minimum 'C' grade or equivalent
  • VCC Counselling Skills Reference Form and Rubric from a volunteer or employment supervisor verifying the following:
    • completion of 60 hours of work or volunteer experience in the helping field (must include direct client contact), and
    • personal and professional readiness for the program


Upon Acceptance:

Criminal Record Check (CRC): Students in this program are required to complete a CRC. The CRC must be completed according to VCC's Criminal Record Check instructions. Students whose CRC results indicate they pose a risk to vulnerable populations will not be able to complete the requirements of the program (e.g. practicums) or graduate. 

Recommended Characteristics

  • Basic computer skills
  • Familiarity and comfort with basic research skills
  • Ability to give and receive feedback
  • Maturity, emotional stability and a suitability to work in a helping role
  • A sufficient level of self-awareness and personal and professional development to be able to attend to another person
  • An interest in helping people and willingness to work in support positions in community settings

Fees and other costs  

Fee description Fee Amount Notes
Application fee $36  
Tuition $7,414  
College initiative $51  
Campus resource $149  
Graduation $45  
Total $7,695  

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Additional Details

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Counselling Skills Foundation Certificate

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