Tyndale’s MDiv Counselling Program Sets Framework for Success

Students appreciate learning theory and practical skills from a holistic lens

By Tyndale Communications  /  Tuesday, October 19, 2021

student studying

Compassionate and qualified counsellors are needed to address the growing number of Canadians experiencing mental health issues on a daily basis. According to a recent study, one in five Canadians reported that isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic took a huge toll on their mental health.

If you are interested in entering a profession in high demand and one that can positively impact someone in need, from inside out, consider Tyndale Seminary’s MDiv Counselling program. The program provides educational preparation for students to become certified counsellors with professional counselling associations and registered psychotherapists with the CRPO (College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario). The degree equips students for employment in secular and Christian social service agencies, private practices and chaplaincy settings or in congregational church environments.

“The MDiv Counselling program at Tyndale is unique because it brings together psychological, theological and personal formation dimensions,” says Dr. Kern Stanberry, Assistant Professor of Counselling and Internship Director. “From the very first class that students take, they are essentially being prepared for their internship.

“They’re engaged in self-reflection, understanding the nature of personhood, understanding how psychology looks at people’s functionalities, and so on. Through the process, we equip students to enter the real world and work with people in a safe, ethical and effective manner.”

Dr. Stanberry graduated from the program 20 years ago and has directed the program for the past nine years. His experience has helped modify and adapt the program to suit emerging trends – something that interns have appreciated as well.

Tyndale Interns Are Ready to Serve

“The difference I find between Tyndale students interning with me and students from other schools is that Tyndale students have had a lot more time practising in the skills lab, and those kind of micro-skills have already been developed and honed in terms of listening, reflecting and paraphrasing,” says Rachel Persaud (MDiv 2021). “I would also say developing proper pacing and listening skills puts Tyndale students at an advantage.”

“One of the great assets was having teaching assistants who would help us and give us feedback each week,” says Grace Buddington (MDiv 2020). “We were able to see ourselves not only learning the theories, but integrating the theories, which was essential to both the clinical and the theological aspects.

“It was also meaningful to have professors and cohorts praying, uplifting and encouraging us and having access to our professors who were so diverse in their clinical backgrounds.”

Tyndale’s faculty equips students with the academic and applied knowledge they need to counsel clients on issues, including interpersonal conflict, couple and family problems, depression, abuse, at-risk youth, suicidal ideation, and grief. Students undergo hundreds of hours of training in lab work and in a counselling internship practicum.

“Internships give students a chance for integrating theory and practice,” says Connie DeForest, Director of Clinical Services at Thrive Counselling. “When Tyndale students have gotten a spot, it’s because they’re bringing good life experience in working with people.

“And, personally, as a Christian, I’ve always appreciated the chance as a supervisor to speak about people’s faith stance and how they integrate that into their work as well as about their clinical work. Tyndale students are a pleasure to work with and have been wonderful contributors to the organization.”

More than 60 organizations partner with Tyndale to provide internship opportunities to counselling students, and spots are often limited to one or two per organization. Looking to hire a Tyndale intern? Learn about the unique skills they will bring to your organization.

“The MDiv Counselling program has produced a strong presence of very strong, skilled and sought-after psychotherapists in Ontario, and I can speak to that not only as a private practitioner in my own practice but also in networking,” says Dr. Stanberry. “Many people want to work with someone who came through Tyndale’s program because of the wide lens and perspective they bring.”