By Nicole Imgrund (Nicole is a United Church minister who is also a Counselling Therapist in Edmonton)
I am writing to you on behalf of over 3500 Counselling Therapists in Alberta. We have been working with the government for years to regulate the profession of Counselling Therapy in our province. Counselling is regulated in all 50 States in the United States and four provinces in Canada. People are often shocked to learn that anyone can call themselves a counsellor or therapist in Alberta, regardless of whether they have any education or training. This leads to devastating consequences for vulnerable people, of all ages, seeking help for mental health and addictions in our province. There is almost no cost to regulating Counselling Therapy and there is unprecedented political and public support for it.
So what is the problem? The problem is that while the government continues to express support for regulating Counselling Therapists under the Health Professionals Act, it has stated that it is not a priority for legislative resources in the next year. As a matter of public safety, this is not acceptable to us. We have done the necessary work over the last decade to ensure regulation happens for Albertans and we will be ready for legislation this year.
We need your help in sending a message to government that this is a priority for Albertans. Regulation of Counselling Therapy will cause widespread positive, systemic change to mental health services in Alberta. Dr. David Swann agrees that it will help to achieve many of the recommendations of the Valuing Mental Health report of the Alberta Mental Health Review Committee.
Time is running out, as the window closes for the NDP to add regulation to their legislative agenda for this year.
ANW Conference could immediately support our efforts to regulate Counselling Therapy in Alberta in the following ways:
- forwarding our campaign link to conference personnel – with a request that they consider forwarding it to their congregations
- following us on Twitter and Facebook and sharing our updates
- in addition to the individual messages sent through clicking in the campaign below, the conference may send a letter or make a phone call to government
It is important to note that this legislation would include Spiritual Care providers, as the Canadian Association of Spiritual Care (CASC) is a member organization.
This is a way for Ministry personnel in the province to advocate directly for increased access to safe, effective and affordable Counselling Therapy services for all! It is also a way to support our spiritual care providers, as they seek to put the necessary safeguards in place to protect people seeking spiritual care services.
A summary fact sheet about regulation of Counselling Therapy:FACT-AB Application for Regulation Summary (August 2017)_digital