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Published by McGill Career Planning Service (CaPS)
Visit us online: www.mcgill.ca/caps

Spring/Summer 2010

In This Issue:

CaPS Resource Centre

Relevant Workshops

Joining a Professional Association

Setting Up a Private Practice

My Experience in the Joint Internship at McGill: Looking Back at the Year with Fond Memories

Relevant Workshops

One Stop Shop: Everything You Need to Get Your Job Search Started

Jun 08,
9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Jul 22,
9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Aug 25,
2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

This intensive workshop covers the essentials of preparing for a career outside academia.
Topics include job search strategies, self-assessment, networking, CV writing and interviewing.

Downtown Campus, Brown building, Room 3001

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Dear Counselling Students & Recent Grads:

My name is Janice Tester, your Career Advisor at McGill CaPS.  CaPS is your Career Office where you can find help related to your career needs.  You can come and see me or another advisor to help you with you CV, cover letter, have a mock interview, or attend any of our workshops.  You will find more information on our services at www.mcgill.ca/caps.

For those of you graduating, congratulations! Did you know you are eligible to use our services for free for the next year? We hope to see you around!

CaPS Resource Centre

Whether you are looking for information on a career, scholarship information, tips on resume writing, contact information in the industries, or specifics on a program of study, the CaPS Career Resource Centre is here for you!

CaPS subscribes to a number of publications and online services that may be of interest to counselling students.  Here are some examples:


  • Planning a Career in Psychology: A Canadian Perspective for University Bound and Beginning University Students (duo-tang folder, 2009)
    Also available in PDF
    Contents: Introduction--Subfields of Psychology--Is Psychology the Right Choice for Me?--How to Become a Professional Psychology--Occupational Outlook--How to Succeed in University--Recommended Readings--References

  • Your Career in Psychology: Clinical and Counseling Psychology (2006)
    Contents: Introducing clinical and counseling psychology. Practice careers. Careers in public health and policy. Psychologists in the military. Forensic and police psychology careers. Consulting careers. Psychologists in academia. Is a career in clinical or counseling psychology for you?


Contact the CaPS Resource Consultant for further information.

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Job Search Tip from your Career Advisor:

Joining a Professional Association is a Worthwhile Investment

I am always surprised when I hear students are spending 95% of their time searching for a job on the web. But, what is the percent of jobs that can be found this way, 5%, 10% or maybe 20% depending on the field? That does not sound like a good investment of their time. It is better to spend 85% of your time networking and to find the job you love this way! A good avenue is to join CCPA (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association) and QCA (Quebec Counselling Association) so that you can mingle, network, make friends in your area of interest and you will see the results paying off in no time.

Need more tips and motivation on the your search? Come and see your Career Advisor, Janice Tester (514-398-3304), always willing to work with you on the pursuit of your dreams.

The Fees to Join CCPA (which include QCA as well) are:

  Full Member Category A Full Member Category B Student Member Associate Member
Definition Individuals with a masters degree in counselling or related field from an institution recognized by AUCC Individuals with a university degree or college diploma in counselling or related field, or equivalent experience and training Individuals presently enrolled in a counselling or a related field program at an institution recognized by AUCC or foreign equivalent Agencies or organizations not necessarily actively involved in counselling or related field but having an interest in the wellbeing, role and function of CCPA
Fees $150 $150 $75 $130
Vote Yes Yes Yes No
Eligibility for Insurance Yes No Yes (Masters & PhD for practicum only No
Eligibility for Certification Yes No No No

Please note that if you join now, as a student, your fee after one year will still be that of a student. Take advantage!

Are you thinking of moving to another province?

Find out about some of the considerations regarding certification. CCPA’s website has a section dedicated to provincial requirements: http://www.ccpa-accp.ca/en/theprofession/counsellormobility/

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Thinking of Setting Up a Private Practice?

Article Adapted by Janice Tester, Career Advisor.

“Private practice is a multifaceted career that allows a great deal of autonomy and flexibility, but requires both clinical and entrepreneurial skills.” (Stenberg, 2000). The best thing about having your private practice, as with having your own business, is that you’d be the boss and you get to determine your time, your system, etc. Plus, you’d be sure to get most of what you earn.  You are your own corporation. Isn’t that exciting?

There are downsides to setting up your private practice, however, and these include having to oversee the little details of your business, including the papers to file and the dues to be paid. Also, you’d have to work extra hard to gain a client base and to make a name for yourself, since you’d likely be starting from scratch.

Attributes for success in private practice.  In order to help you determine if you are “cut” for private practice check these:

  • Good clinical skills: warmth, empathy, listening skills, respect for clients and confidentiality, clinical knowledge base.

  • Clinical confidence, or certainty that one’s professional style will be efficacious, which is related to four factors: clarity of goals, belief that research and knowledge are available, experience up to age 50, concentration on psychotherapy.

  • Highly autonomous, often engaging in entrepreneurial activities.

  • Be extroverted enough to network and speak in public, to market your business.

  • Have good financial management skills and tolerance for financial insecurity.

  • Be organized and self-disciplined to juggle multiple demands and tasks.

  • Handle administrative tasks in a punctual manner.

  • Be flexible to serve client’s schedules and availability.

  • Be emotionally stable and well adjusted.

  • Be patient when there is slow clinical progress.

  • Have an adequate social support at home and from friends and colleagues. (Stenberg, 2000).

If you’re willing to take the risks of setting up your private practice in therapy, then here are some pointers that would definitely help you out:

Brush up on your professional training. A private practice therapist is a results-oriented business, that is, the more satisfied clients you have, the more referrals your business would have as well. That’s why it’s essential that you do indeed cater to the needs of your clients. Go the extra mile for them; be available for them whenever they need you; make sure that you are up-to-date with therapy practices that do work. The key here is to do your job well, and before you know it people would be waiting in line to see that top-of-the-line private therapist – which is you.

Attend business seminars. Apart from honing your professional and clinical skills, remember – by setting up your private practice, you’d be setting up a business too. By attending business seminars, expect to receive training for such concepts as marketing and promotional techniques, legal matters you’d have to follow, basics of financial administration and analysis, etc.

Improve your computer skills. In addition, make sure that you know software and tools that you could utilize for various business aspects, such as organizing files, auditing accounts and for promotions and marketing. Hone your Internet know-how. Be aware that the Internet is a very powerful tool for letting people know of your private therapy practice. Why not blog about your profession, or set up a free online consultation service? The possibilities are virtually endless. Reference:   Sternberg, R. (2000) Career Paths in Psychology, American Psychological Association.

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My Experience in the Joint Internship at McGill:
Looking Back at the Year with Fond Memories

By Samantha Goldberg, M.A. 2010

Last year, when I began my internship at McGill, I knew that I had lucked into a special opportunity: Working two days per week at CaPS and one day in the Counselling Service, I would have the chance to work with students in both career exploration and personal issues—an ideal opportunity to put my theoretical learning into practice.  Looking back on the experience now, however, (eight months later and starting a new job) I realize that I had no idea just how valuable the experience would be.  The diversity of the experiences and the people with whom I worked paved the way for my easy transition into the world of work as a counsellor. 

As could be expected, my experiences in the two services were quite different from each other.  In my one day per week in the Counselling Service I learned how to work individually with students, to conceptualize cases and treatment plans.  Specifically, I was invited to participate in the service’s weekly case conferencing, where I not only had the opportunity to bring in my own cases for discussion, but also learned vicariously through the cases of the seasoned counsellors.  I also had the advantage of sitting with a smaller client caseload than the full-time counselling interns.  Because I only ever saw a maximum of five counselling clients per week, I was able to ease into the counsellor role more slowly, concentrating on fewer cases at a time and building my caseload throughout the year.  As a counsellor in the Counselling Service, I took several cases and worked with them in depth.  I saw clients grow and improve over time, and witnessed the positive effect of the counsellor-client relationship, in some cases over the course of seven months. 

In my two days a week at CaPS, on the other hand, I learned how to be a multi-tasker, and a jack-of-all-trades.  I met one-on-one with students for periods of 15 minutes, half an hour, or an hour at a time; sometimes only once, and sometimes for several sessions, as needed.  I learned how to review C.V.’s, cover letters, and personal statements to make them stand out, and how to generally help students manage the anxiety involved in choosing a career path.  I ran workshops and helped with career fairs and panels, learning firsthand from speakers about how their career paths unfolded.  At CaPS, I was as much a student and teacher as I was a counsellor, learning new skills and resources and sharing them with students to help them on their way. 

Wearing two “hats” as a personal counsellor in the Counselling Service, and Career Advisor at CaPS had the obvious advantage of exposing me to a diverse range of clients with a diverse range of needs.  This clearly helped me in my job search as it provided me with a broad range of skills to transfer to my clinical work, and also helped me personally as I looked for work within the field—after mastering the art of C.V. and cover letter writing I was perfectly set to create my own job search tools!  In addition to this, there was a hidden advantage of working in the two services: The exposure I had to so many different counsellors.  Above and beyond the direct learning that took place in my shadowing their work and sharing ideas, being personally connected to more than 25 counsellors created for me an invaluable network that eventually led to my finding and securing my current position as a Career Counsellor at YES Montreal.  As an intern at CaPS I can’t even count the number of times I have told students how important a network can be in finding a good job.  I can now say that I have experienced this firsthand, as my new network of colleagues at McGill were the ones who alerted me to the position, urged me to apply and acted as references even before I had my interview. 

I am grateful to the team at McGill student services for all that they have given me: Their knowledge, their time and their support.  I know that I will carry with me all that I have learned and will always look back on this experience with fond memories.

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