Success College, Counselling Skills Program

Learning how to help people in need, from theory to practise.

Alex MacDonnell
I'm Executive Director for the Hepatitis Outreach Society of Nova Scotia.

What was it that made you interested in becoming a councillor?
I've always had an interest in counselling, specifically addictions counselling. I'm the kind of person who loves to listen to people's stories, and that's a big part of it. Before coming to Success College I did an undergraduate in sociology and psychology, and that came out of a place of wanting to understand people better. I feel like I've always been a person who people feel comfortable talking about their problems to, and that definitely led me to where I am now.

What about the program at Success College drew you to it?
The Counselling Skills program has a solid focus on the kind of counselling I was interested in doing. In addition to the core program, the school also offers a lot certifications. These include CPR training, suicide intervention, self-defense, non-violent intervention and many more. They added a dimension to my training that made me feel very prepared to enter a counselling position.

What was your experience with the program?
I really enjoyed the work that we did there. The main instructor, James Ingram, was great. He's very knowledgeable, knows the field very well and has trained in a variety of industry certifications. He will forever be a mentor to me. We worked on addictions counselling, learned psychology and studied how to speak to people with mental health issues. We worked on a lot of counselling theory and how to put that into practice, which gives you a lot of options on how to counsel.

How has your education at Success College applied to your work life?
I think it prepared me for a counselling position as much as classwork possible could. I now work as Executive Director for the Hepatitis Outreach Society of Nova Scotia. Prior to that I worked with Feed Nova Scotia's crisis helpline. In my job now, I do a lot counselling with people diagnosed with Hepatitis C, which is connected to IV drug use. I talk to them about their disease and giving them someone who will listen to them. As well, I help create awareness about the disease.

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