What I Learned From Going to the CCPA Conference | Ep 119

Have you ever been to a counselling conference? Are you considering going to one this year for the first time, or are you a regular attendee? 

Whether you are more introverted or an extrovert, conferences offer spaces for both! Not just quiet workshops or long tables filled with fascinating people, but also where you can learn and develop your skills as a professional while enjoying time spent with other interesting therapists. 

I got out of my comfort zone a bit and went to a CCPA conference last year, and it was great! Going forward, I know what I’m looking for now, and how to find other great therapists. If you’re interested in finding out how, listen in!

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In This Episode

  • What is the CCPA?
  • Conferences can be a lot of fun!
  • Choosing conferences going forward

What is the CCPA?

‘If you don’t know, CCPA stands for Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, and usually the conference that they have each year is in the springtime, but last year in 2023 they had it in October in Toronto.’ – Julia Smith 

Usually, going to a conference for me is nerve wracking on a couple of levels! I was going alone to this conference, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it or not. However, I was able to select the speakers that I was interested in, but it can be a hit-and-miss! 

‘It was definitely a choice of getting outside of my comfort zone in the hopes that it would pay off!’ – Julia Smith 

However, going to conferences also contributes to your CEC credits that all members of the CCPA need to get each year. So, keeping all this in mind, I pushed myself to go!

Conferences can be a lot of fun!

‘With the CCPA conferences, you’re expected to network. It is encouraged to talk to other counsellors. You don’t look silly going up to people and starting conversations … Once I got into the swing of things, it was really fun to have conversations with counsellors from all over Canada!’ – Julia Smith 

If you felt like you were getting a little over socialized, you could go see some of the workshops and talks that were happening around at any given time. 

I really liked that there were options to be silent and listen, or to put yourself out there and socialize! Even during lunches, it felt comfortable to sit down at a table with people that I didn’t know and to strike up a conversation, since this is encouraged by the CCPA conference guidelines. Everyone’s in the same boat!

‘I think sometimes we can forget to branch out or it can feel a bit difficult or expensive to do, but I found it was so worth it! The networking, getting some CECs, I learned a lot, and connecting with the broader community of therapists in Canada. It made me feel part of something, it made me feel connected.’ – Julia Smith

Choosing conferences going forward 

Despite the great time I had, I know that I want to be intentional about choosing the future conferences I’ll go to. Specifically, I want to be mindful about going to conferences which will give certain information that I want to learn about. 

The CCPA conference is great for learning about many different things in the counselling world, from research to different types of therapy techniques to private practice information. Although, I know what I love! And so I would love to go to a conference on narrative therapy for therapists, because that is what I want to learn more about. 

‘So for you, as you’re considering your budget for this year, I’d highly recommend budgeting some money for going to a conference, and honestly I’d really just start with the CCPA conference! The workshops are so diverse, everybody is a Canadian counsellor, and you get CECs for going!’ – Julia Smith

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Resources Mentioned and Useful Links:

Ep 118: Brittany Wells-Pantaleo: Growing a Group Practice Virtually and Ethically | EP 118 

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Article: How to Set Up a Canadian Private Practice Website  

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About Julia

Julia Smith, MEd, RCT, CCC is a registered Counselling Therapist who owns a group private practice in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is also the owner of Fearless Practice Consulting and hosts the Fearless Practice podcast. Through the Fearless Practice podcast, she provides invaluable insights and practical advice on starting and growing a successful Canadian private practice. Julia’s wealth of knowledge also extends beyond the podcast, as she provides personalized one-on-one consulting to therapists who are feeling burnt out and overwhelmed with their solo or group private practices. With Julia’s expertise, therapists can confidently navigate the complexities of owning a private practice and find work life – balance. 

Julia also has written articles for the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy association. You can learn more at www.ccpa-accp.ca/blog/.