Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality (MPS)

MPS ImageThe Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality (MPS) program develops spiritually-informed counselors, psychotherapists, and art therapists who are well grounded in the integration of psychological and spiritual knowledge as a holistic foundation for effective therapeutic practice. The MPS degree has been developed in response to an expressed need for formal graduate counselling training that integrates psychology and spirituality.

As with all St. Stephen’s programs, the MPS is openly accessible to people from any faith tradition. Most courses are offered in convenient week-long intensive formats, while other program elements are conducted online.

MPS Core Stream

All MPS students complete a core curriculum that prepares them for credentialing in several counselling associations. This academic program blends theoretical knowledge and clinical skills with particular emphasis on the individual student’s ability to integrate diverse learning perspectives with their personal growth, and to implement this integration into effective clinical practice. The MPS program has been designed for those who see counselling as both an aptitude and calling, and who want to include spiritual awareness and perspectives in their therapeutic understanding as well as their skills development.

The MPS Core program offers a blend of academic coursework with supervised clinical experience in community settings. The MPS program coursework is equivalent to three years of full-time study, not including Thesis/Capstone/practicum variables. Most students complete the degree in four to seven years. Master’s students must complete all the requirements within seven years from the date on which the student registers in the program. With regard to clinical experience in community settings, MPS students complete a minimum of 300 hours of supervised counselling training. Personal therapy and/or Spiritual Direction is also a component of the program to allow for students’ exploration of their professional and spiritual development, and of personal issues that may arise.

MPS Specialization in Art Therapy

MPS-AT ImageIn addition to the core stream, students may choose to specialize in the field of Art Therapy. MPS-AT students additionally strive to develop competence in the delivery of art therapy as well as recognize the inherently spiritual nature of creative practice. Application and program requirements for the specialization differ from the Core MPS.  However, both programs blend theoretical knowledge and clinical skills with particular emphasis on the individual student’s ability to integrate diverse learning perspectives with their personal growth, and to implement this integration into effective clinical practice. For those choosing the Specialization in Art Therapy, the MPS-AT program of studies is an approved training program with the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA).

The MPS Specialization in Art Therapy offers a blend of academic course work, arts-based course work, and experience in community settings. The MPS-AT program coursework is equivalent to four years of full-time study, not including Thesis/Capstone/practicum variables. Most students complete the degree in four to seven years. Master’s students must complete all the requirements within seven years from the date on which the student registers in the program. With regard to clinical experience in community settings, MPS Specialization in Art Therapy students complete a minimum of 350 hours of supervised counselling training. Clinical supervision fees will apply. These fees will vary depending on required supervisory credentials. While every effort will be made to provide cost equity in terms of supervision fees, those in the specialization may incur additional costs.  Personal therapy and/or Spiritual Direction is also a component of the program to allow for students’ exploration of their professional and spiritual development, and of personal issues that may arise.

After Graduation

Graduates of the MPS program go on to work in contexts of professional counselling, psychotherapy, and/or art therapy, spiritual care, chaplaincy, pastoral counselling, and other therapeutic and ministry contexts. Graduates may apply to become professional, certified and registered members of many professional counselling, psychotherapy, and art therapy associations (including CCPA and CATA) and are prepared to qualify for provincial regulatory colleges including the CRPO (College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario).

 

St. Stephen’s has designed the MPS degree program so that it can assist students in acquiring professional counselling credentials. Although the MPS degree curriculum is designed to prepare students for professional registration/licensing, please note that students are not guaranteed licensure or professional registration upon graduation. It is the student's responsibility, in consultation with MPS department staff and faculty, to ensure that their course and practicum work meets the requirements for the licensing or registration body relevant to the jurisdiction in which they intend to practice.The program does not, however, meet requirements to pursue registration as a psychologist in Alberta.

General Program Information

Incoming students can expect to take their first course in early June of their starting year. 

  • MPS Admission Requirements
    1. Baccalaureate Degree from an institution of higher education approved by a Canadian provincial authority, or the demonstrated educational equivalent, in the area of theology, psychology, fine arts, counselling, social work, or the humanities and human sciences. Applicants who possess a Baccalaureate Degree in an unrelated area should consult with the Department/Associate Chair. Grade average minimum must be 72%/B/3.0 during last 60 credits of course weight.
    2. The academic ability to engage in graduate education; academic background in counselling and/or some experience in a helping role are desirable. 
    3. Those wishing to pursue the art therapy specialization will need background experience in the fine arts, studio art, and the artistic creative process. 
    4. Evidence of commitment and ability to integrate spiritually-informed training into professional practice.
    5. Upon successful admission to the Program, students will be required to produce a Security Clearance/Vulnerable Sector Check.

    Application deadline:

    Applications can be submitted throughout the year, with an annual application deadline of February 1 for Canadian and Permanent Resident applicants and November 1 for international applicants (next business day if date falls on a weekend). Applicants who do not possess a Baccalaureate Degree and who are applying for an evaluation of academic equivalency (‘Baccalaureate Equivalent’, or ‘Special Admission’ status) must submit their completed application to the College by December 1 for Canadian and Permanent Resident applicants and September 1 for international applicants (equivalency fee $225). If equivalency is granted, applicants then pay the normal application fee.

    Interview:

    Applicants will attend an admission interview as part of the application process. Intake interviews will reflect on the applicant’s learning goals and determine the applicant’s appropriateness for admission to the program.

    Orientation and first core course:

    Upon admission, students are expected to register for the St. Stephen’s College Orientation Day (in early June). One of the required courses, Intro to Psychotherapy and Spirituality, takes place Monday through Friday immediately following Orientation Day.

  • MPS Core Stream Program Requirements

    REQUIRED COURSES (36 credits)
    Choice of: SS071V Academic Writing, or SS074V Academic Skills (0cr graduate online course; should be taken in first year)
    PPSYC581 Intro to Psychotherapy and Spirituality (3cr)
    PPSYC585 Basic Psychotherapy Skills (3cr)
    PPSYC583 Professional Ethics for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Care (3cr)
    Research course: choice of SSC5710 Inquiry, Research and Evaluation (3cr) or SSC571 Research Methods (3cr)
    PPSYC584V Theories of Counselling and Psychotherapy (online) (3cr)
    PPSYC5869 Systems Psychotherapy Skills (3cr)
    Theology course: choice of: SSC511 Intro to Theology (3cr), or SSC5540 Spirituality: From Contemplation to Action (3cr)
    SSC589 Theological Reflection in Professional Practice (3cr)
    Development course: choice of: PPSYC587 Life Span Development (3cr), or PPSYC5896 Spiritually-Informed Developmental Psychology (3cr)
    PPSYC5812 Abnormal Psychology (3cr)
    PPSYC5870 *Counselling Practicum (6cr)
    *Counselling Practica consist of 600 hours in total, 300 of which are direct client contact, plus 60 hours of clinical supervision. See Counselling Practicum course description for details. Assignments include a progress report and integrative paper. The counselling practica should be arranged so as to meet the student's desired Professional Association requirements.

    ELECTIVES (6 credits)
    Two 3-credit counselling electives in areas of student interest or as required by the student's desired
    Professional Association. Elective courses are to be selected in consultation with a Department Associate Chair.


    THESIS or CAPSTONE PROJECT (9 credits)

    THESIS

    Prerequisite: ‘Thesis or Capstone’ Seminar, and permission of Department Associate Chair The thesis is an option for students who can demonstrate their readiness and ability to work independently after advisement. The thesis is an extended piece of scholarly research, largely conducted independently, along with an appropriately credentialed supervisor. It is usually between 100-150 pages in length, and summarizes a student’s research of a stated question. The thesis integrates an introduction, a thorough literature review, explication of methodology, data presentation and analysis, and a summary of findings, conclusions, and recommendations. It is intended to address not only the candidate’s research interest, but to make a contribution to the body of knowledge in that field. Research must be within the field of a student’s professional interest. Students must attend the ‘Thesis or Capstone’ seminar (non-credit, half-day) prior to considering the thesis option. Upon approval of the thesis proposal, students will pay the thesis fee.


    CAPSTONE PROJECT

    Prerequisite: ‘Thesis or Capstone’ Seminar MPS students have the option of completing a capstone project instead of a thesis. See Capstone Project in Psychotherapy [PPSYC5892] course description for pre-requisites and details. Students must attend the ‘Thesis or Capstone’ seminar (noncredit, half-day) prior to considering the capstone project option. Students meeting the prerequisites register and pay a 9-credit course fee. [Students retaking the Capstone Project course pay tuition equivalent to 6 credits if they did not receive a refund for the previous session.]


    THERAPY (0 credit, co-requisite)

    40 hours of personal therapy with an approved certified counsellor or psychotherapist is considered a minimum during training in order to provide an opportunity for students to address personal issues as they relate to their professional development as a counselor or art therapist. A letter from the therapist is required, stating dates the therapy took place, whether this was individual or group therapy, and the number of hours provided.

    OPTIONS EQUIVALENT TO CREDIT

    The following options are considered equivalent to credit in the MPS Core Program. Students must consult with a Department Associate Chair prior to applying for equivalency; acceptance of equivalencies will be in accordance with program and course requirements, and will be at the discretion of the Department Associate Chair. Equivalencies granted for work done prior to entry into the MPS program will apply to work no older than five years. Original certificate of completion must be presented to the Registrar’s Office.

    Academic Work
    Equivalency
    One Unit Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
    6 Credits [one MPS elective and one of: SSC511 Intro Theology, or SSC5540 Spirituality]
    Canadian Foundation for Trauma Research and Education (CFTRE) certificates in Self-Regulation Therapy® (SRT)
    SRT Foundation Level Certificate: 6 Credits [electives]; SRT Advanced Level Certificate: 6 Credits [electives]; Options for Practicum Supervision and Personal Therapy are also available; consult with Department Associate Chair
    Taking Flight International Corporation certificates in Trauma Recovery and Grief Support

    Trauma Recovery Certificate=6 credits [electives] & 20 hours personal therapy

    Grief Support Certificate=3 credits [electives] & 10 hours personal therapy

    Practicum may be arranged [requires Associate Chair’s approval and enrollment in PPSYC5870/5878]

    Spiritual Direction Programs (I & II) (eg. Jubilee Programs, Presence Program at PRC)
    3 Credits [elective]

     

  • MPS Art Therapy Specialization Program Requirements

    REQUIRED COURSES (36 credits)

    SS071V Academic Writing, or SS074V Academic Skills (0cr graduate online course; should be taken in first year)
    PPSYC581 Intro to Psychotherapy and Spirituality (3cr)
    PPSYC585 Basic Psychotherapy Skills (3cr)
    PPSYC583 Professional Ethics for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Care (3cr)
    Research course: choice of SSC5710 Inquiry, Research and Evaluation (3cr), or SSC571 Research Methods (3cr)
    PPSYC584V Theories of Counselling and Psychotherapy (online) (3cr)
    PPSYC5869 Systems Psychotherapy Skills (3cr)
    Theology course: choice of: SSC511 Intro to Theology (3cr), or SSC5540 Spirituality: From Contemplation to Action (3cr)
    SSC589 Theological Reflection in Professional Practice (3cr)
    Development coures: choice of: PPSYC587 Life Span Development (3cr), or PPSYC5896 Spiritually-Informed Developmental Psychology (3cr)
    PPSYC5812 Abnormal Psychology (3cr)
    PPSYC5878*Counselling Practicum (Art Therapy) (6cr)
    *Counselling Practica consist of 700 hours, 350 of which are direct client contact, plus 60 hours of clinical supervision. See Counselling Practicum course description for details. Assignments include a progress report and integrative paper. The counselling practica should be arranged so as to meet the student's desired Professional Association requirements.
    ART THERAPY COURSES (21 credits)
    PPSYC5841 Introduction to Art Therapy: Historical and Theoretical Foundations (3cr)
    PPSYC5830 Theories and Art Therapy Studio Training Group One (3cr)
    PPSYC5833 Theories and Art Therapy Studio Training Group Two (3cr)
    PPSYC5879 Issues of Professional Practice and Interventions in Art Therapy One (3cr)
    PPSYC5880 Issues of Professional Practice and Interventions in Art Therapy Two (3cr)
    PPSYC5890 Special Topics in Art Therapy (3cr)
    PPSYC5881 Art Therapy History and Theoretical Foundations (3cr)
    ELECTIVE (3 credits)
    One 3-credit elective in Studio Art Therapy or Expressive Art Therapy; course may be at graduate or undergraduate level. Elective course to be selected in consultation with Department Associate Chair.


    THESIS or CAPSTONE PROJECT (9 credits)

    THESIS

    Prerequisite: ‘Thesis or Capstone’ Seminar, and permission of Department Associate Chair The thesis is an option for students who can demonstrate their readiness and ability to work independently after advisement. The thesis is an extended piece of scholarly research, largely conducted independently, along with an appropriately credentialed supervisor. It is usually between 100-150 pages in length, and summarizes a student’s research of a stated question. The thesis integrates an introduction, a thorough literature review, explication of methodology, data presentation and analysis, and a summary of findings, conclusions, and recommendations. It is intended to address not only the candidate’s research interest, but to make a contribution to the body of knowledge in that field. Research must be within the field of a student’s professional interest. Students must attend the ‘Thesis or Capstone’ seminar (non-credit, half-day) prior to considering the thesis option. Upon approval of the thesis proposal, students will pay a thesis fee.


    CAPSTONE PROJECT

    Prerequisite: ‘Thesis or Capstone’ Seminar MPS-AT students have the option of completing a capstone project instead of a thesis. See Capstone Project in Psychotherapy (Art Therapy) [PPSYC5893] course description for pre-requisites and details. Students must attend the ‘Thesis or Capstone’ seminar (non-credit, half-day) prior to considering the capstone project option. Students meeting the prerequisites register and pay a 9-credit course fee. [Students retaking the Capstone Project course pay tuition equivalent to 6 credits if they did not receive a refund for the previous session.]


    THERAPY (0 credit, co-requisite)

    40 hours of personal therapy with an approved certified counselor or psychotherapist is considered a minimum during training in order to provide an opportunity for students to address personal issues as they relate to their professional development as a counselor or art therapist. A letter from the therapist is required, stating dates the therapy took place, whether this was individual or group therapy, and the number of hours provided.

  • Examples of Practicum Partners

    The following are examples of sites in which St. Stephen's students have secured practicum placements in the past.  Please note that sites change over time and are subject to placement availability:

     

    Non-Profit Organization 
    Description
    Actionmarguerite (St. Boniface) - Manitoba
    A community-based, non-profit corporation dedicated to serving the elderly and persons with complex care needs by delivering care and programs in the Winnipeg area.              
    Body and Soul Counselling and Consulting Services Ltd. Counselling and consulting services specializing in drama-therapy.
    Boyle Street Community Centre (ArtSpace)

    A non-profit Edmonton agency which assists individuals and families challenged by homelessness and poverty.

    Calgary Catholic School Board 

    Canadian Mental Health Association (Kootenays) - British Columbia A nation-wide, voluntary organization that promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness. 
    CASA Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Delivers innovative mental health services for infants, children, adolescents and their families and is an effective advocate for children's mental health.
    Chrysalis Provides personalized services to assist individuals with disabilities achieve their employment, volunteer and recreation goals. 
    Community Counselling Centre Guides and facilitates clients through the process of healthy healing and growth, specializing in a relational, client focused approach to counselling. 
    Cornerstone Counselling Provides professional counselling services to children, families, and individuals in Edmonton believing that all those who need help, irrespective of faith, cree, race, gender, lifestyle, or financial ability have access to that help. 
    Creative Works Studio (St. Michael's Hospital) - Ontario Provides a fully-equipped, safe and accepting community-based arts studio for people living with sever and persistent mental illness and/or addictions.
    EDSNA: Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta  Provides a network of effective and meaningful support initiatives for individuals affected by Eating Disorders in Alberta.
    The Pride Centre of Edmonton Offering a wide range of programs such as support groups, social events, and educational seminars to help improve the social, mental, and physical health of the LGBTQ community. 
    Family and Community Services Spruce Grove Providing locally-driven, preventative, social initiatives to enhance the well-being of individuals, families and the community. The programs enable people of all ages to improve their quality of life and their ability to prevent and/or deal with crisis situations should they arise. 
    Fraser Health Authority (South Fraser Eating Disorder Clinic) - British Columbia Providing a range of services in a safe and supportive environment to both youth and adults, and their families, who are dealing with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. 
    Fresh Start - Edmonton Catholic School Board Student centered programs for high school students who are not attending a regular high school and may need a smaller site, flexible schedule with a self-directed delivery. 
    Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital  A health-care facility unique to Alberta, devoted primarily to high-level rehabilitation care of both adults (including the elderly) and children. 
    Excel Society - Grand Manor Supporting and advocates for people with mental, physical and developmental disabilities in both Edmonton and Calgary. Grand Manor supports clients with health care needs with a risk of homelessness.  
    Families First Society - Fort Saskatchewan  Serving families through early childhood development, parenting programs and family support. 
    HIV Edmonton  Dedicated to making life better for people living with, or affected by HIV and AIDS. 
    iHuman Youth Society  Working with traumatized youth who exhibit high-risk lifestyles; promoting their reintegration in the community through social support, engagement and outreach programs. 
    Jericho Counselling - British Columbia  Providing counselling services that establishes warm, compassionate, and therapeutic relationship in which the client's experience is understood, respected, and validated.  
    Jewish Family Services  Providing various services including counselling, to all people regardless of culture or faith 
    King Edward School  Combines academic focus with arts enrichment to encourage students to be critical thinkers in a diverse learning environment 
    L'Arche  A community of people with and without disabilities committed to building mutual relationships, celebrating the unique gifts of each person and developing relationship beyond our community
    Lurana Shelter Society  Offering services including safe refuge and life changing services to women and children who were victims of domestic violence in the community.
    Matheson Seniors Housing  Providing affordable housing to low income seniors who are capable of independent living.
    Mustard Seed  Helping to meet the basic needs of shelter, food, clothing and acceptance for men and women experiencing poverty, and works with them to find sustainable housing and employment.
    Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre  Working with families to help them reach their full potential and to make Edmonton's communities stronger and more vibrant.
    Our Place Community of Hope - Ontario  Providing a ministry of hospitality and presence to people experiencing mental health issues, through a community which seeks to include all people by affirming and empowering them toward personal and communal responsibility. 
    Parkinson Alberta  Helping to support Albertans affected by Parkinson disease through support services, education, advocacy and funds for research.
    Pilgrim's Hospice Society Providing supportive and compassionate family centred care to enhance the quality and dignity of life for those diagnosed with a progressive, life-threatening illness as well as solace to those who are bereaved. 
    Providence Renewal Centre An ecumenical retreat and conference centre. 
    River's Edge Counselling Centre Committed to providing counselling and psychological services to individuals, couples and families from a holistic perspective that helps people live their lives with a greater sense of purpose, peace, connection to others and understanding of self.
    Robertson Wesley United Church Providing art therapy to the congregation and surrounding community.
    Saffron Centre Providing counselling services to persons who have suffered from sexual assault, abuse and sexual violence, as well as advocacy and education regarding sexual assault, abuse and sexual violence.
    Schizophrenia Society of Alberta Working towards improving the quality of life for those affected by schizophrenia and psychosis through education, support programs, public policy and research.
    St Basil / St Boniface / St Theresa School Providing support to students through Art Therapy.
    Taking Flight International Providing support for those that have suffered trauma, inclusive of generational trauma for those that have been affected by colonization. In addition to serving clients, they provide training workshops and certification in Grief and Trauma counselling.
    Terra Centre A non-profit organization that provides pregnant and parenting teens with options and support.
    The Africa Centre Strives to create opportunities for educational, cultural, social and economic endeavors that ultimately contribute to the holistic development and wellness of the African individual, family and community.
    The Cross Cancer Institute  Is the comprehensive cancer centre for northern Alberta.
    The Family Centre Believes that, with the right opportunities and tools, people can make choices that lead to success. They work to strengthen family wellness and build community capacity through innovative services and collaborative partnerships to engage the communities most vulnerable families in caring for their children.
    The Salvation Army Provides life-changing social services and programs to those in need.
    The Tom Baker Clinic - Calgary Is the comprehensive cancer centre for southern Alberta.
    Victoria School of the Arts Providing support to the students through Art Therapy.
    Walk-In Counselling Society of Edmonton (WICSOE) Walk in counselling services whose goal is to empower the client to connect with their strengths and formal and informal supports to transform their lives, one hour at a time.
    Winnifred Stewart Association Helping to facilitate meaningful relationships in order to build natural supports for individuals with disabilities so they can actualize their goals and dreams.
**Note: Students in the MPS program do not qualify for government student loans. For more information, see the SSC Academic Calendar.

**Note: The Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality degree is conferred by St. Stephen's College, not by the University of Alberta. For more information, see our About Graduate Studies at SSC and Institutional Charter pages.