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Making Sense of the Counselling Designations Within BC

Updated: Oct 2, 2023



In British Columbia (BC), Canada, there are several counselling designations and regulatory bodies that oversee the practice of counselling and therapy. This can be confusing, however these designations are designed to ensure that individuals seeking counselling services receive high quality, ethical and effective care. If you have extended benefits, please check with your provider in order to learn what is covered with your health plan for counselling. Here are some of the key counselling designations and regulatory bodies in BC:

  • Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC):

    • The British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC) is the regulatory body for Registered Clinical Counsellors in BC. RCCs are trained mental health professionals who provide counselling and therapy services. They are required to meet specific education, training, and ethical standards to practice.

  • Registered Social Worker (RSW):

    • The British Columbia College of Social Workers (BCCSW) is the regulatory body for Registered Social Workers in BC. Social workers often provide counselling and therapeutic services as part of their practice. They are required to meet education and professional standards set by the BCCSW.

  • Registered Psychologist (R.Psych):

    • The College of Psychologists of British Columbia (CPBC) regulates the practice of psychology in BC. Psychologists provide a range of mental health services, including counselling and therapy. To become a Registered Psychologist, individuals must meet stringent educational and training requirements.

  • Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT):

    • The British Columbia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (BCAMFT) represents Marriage and Family Therapists in BC. MFTs are trained to provide therapy and counseling services, often specializing in working with couples and families.

  • Art Therapist (AT):

    • The British Columbia Art Therapy Association (BCATA) is the professional organization representing Art Therapists in BC. Art Therapists use creative arts as a therapeutic tool to help individuals explore and express their emotions.

  • Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC):

    • The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) is a national organization, and Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC) is a designation that represents counsellors across Canada, including BC. CCCs have met specific educational and ethical requirements.

It's important to note that individuals practicing as counsellors or therapists in BC should be registered with the appropriate regulatory body or professional association. These organizations set standards for education, training, ethical conduct and ongoing professional development to ensure the highest level of care for clients.


What is the Difference Between an EMDR Therapist and a Certified EMDR Therapist?


The primary difference between an EMDR therapist and a Certified EMDR Therapist lies in their level of training and certification in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy:

  • EMDR Therapist:

    • An EMDR therapist is a mental health professional who has received training in EMDR therapy and may use EMDR techniques in their practice.

    • EMDR therapy is a specialized approach to treating trauma-related conditions, and EMDR therapists have completed basic training in this therapeutic modality.

    • EMDR therapists may be licensed psychologists, clinical social workers, registered counsellors or other mental health professionals who have taken the additional training and integrated EMDR into their treatment approach.

    • They are qualified to provide EMDR therapy to clients with trauma-related issues, but they may not have completed the additional training and certification requirements.

  • Certified EMDR Therapist:

    • A Certified EMDR Therapist is an EMDR therapist who has completed advanced training and certification in EMDR therapy.

    • Certification typically involves completing additional training, supervision, and a specified number of clinical hours using EMDR therapy techniques.

    • Certified EMDR Therapists have demonstrated a higher level of competence and expertise in the application of EMDR therapy.

    • They have met specific requirements set forth by organizations like the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) or other relevant certifying bodies.

In summary, while both EMDR therapists and Certified EMDR Therapists are trained to use EMDR techniques in their practice, the key difference is the level of training and certification. Certified EMDR Therapists have undergone additional training and supervision to achieve a recognized level of expertise and competence in EMDR therapy. When seeking EMDR therapy, individuals may choose to work with either an EMDR therapist or a Certified EMDR Therapist based on their specific needs and preferences. It's important to inquire about a therapist's qualifications and training to ensure that they have the appropriate expertise in EMDR therapy.


If you have any questions, please feel free to email Sally-Anne here. We look forward to hearing from you.

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