• Angela Allen

    Forming Her Foundation

    Portrait of Angela Allen.
    Angela Allen
    Counselling Fundamentals Certificate* Graduate
    *formerly Basic Counselling Skills Certificate

    Counsellor’s practical George Brown education informs all aspects of her work

    Angela Allen’s career in helping others has led her in many different, yet related, directions. She has provided counselling to clients with mental health issues, worked as an advocate for students in distress and taught counselling courses at the college level. But no matter how her career evolves, Angela always relies on the knowledge and practical experience she gained through George Brown College’s Counselling Fundamentals Certificate.

    “I still use the skills I gained in the program almost every day, whether I’m doing advocacy work or teaching,” says Angela. “I have to know how to be compassionate, employ conflict resolution, de-escalate and mediate, and these are all skills you pick up in the program. The interpersonal skills learned from the certificate are useful in everyday life as well, and they have helped me to communicate and deal with conflict more effectively.”

    Having completed an undergraduate degree in psychology before taking our Continuing Education certificate, Angela was looking for a program that would help her gain the real-life, hands-on skills that were important to both clients and employers. She says George Brown’s certificate appealed to her for many reasons.

    “It was a college whose reputation I trusted,” she notes. “I know people who pursued education at George Brown and gained invaluable skills during their time there. George Brown also seemed to understand the needs of people in my field and was one of the few colleges offering relevant courses. As well, the evening courses worked with my job schedule, and the downtown location was very convenient.”

    With courses ranging from Counselling Interviewing Skills and Counselling Methods to Ethics and Professionalism in Counselling, Angela found that what she had heard about our certificate proved to be true. Small class sizes allowed for peer-to-peer learning, which, Angela says, was an effective way to apply practical skills and promote a supportive learning environment.

    “Because classes have 15 to 20 people and most go through all the classes together, you’re really able to get to know people, and it allows for relationships to develop,” she says. “I find that when studying something like counselling methodology, that’s really important, because if you’re going to be pairing up with someone to practice, there does need to be some trust. The atmosphere was friendly and comfortable, which is definitely important for this subject matter.”

    “I think with every job I have gotten so far, I have been able to market myself as more appealing to employers because of those practical skills I gained from George Brown’s certificate program.”

    With a solid foundation to build on after completing the certificate in 2010, Angela continued on to George Brown’s full-time Social Service Worker diploma program and then pursed a Master of Social Work degree at York University. She soon recognized that the skills and knowledge provided by our certificate were also beneficial to the next phase of her education.

    “The Social Service Worker program was also pretty practical, which was great, but by having that base, I was able to apply the learning to things like case scenarios,” she says. “But particularly, when I went back to a more theoretical degree, having practical knowledge and skills helped me make those more general ideas more concrete.”

    Whether working as a front-line counsellor or teaching courses at George Brown in the very same certificate program she completed, Angela believes that her Continuing Education experience has made her more marketable. “I think with every job I have gotten so far, I have been able to market myself as more appealing to employers because of those practical skills I gained from George Brown’s certificate program.”

    Having been both a student and a teacher, Angela also understands the value of lifelong learning. “I think the best students are always learning. There’s nothing wrong with updating your knowledge because things change all the time. And when you’re on the job for years, it can be easy to get into your own way of doing things, but when you go back to school, it can be really beneficial to shake things up and get perspectives that you may not hear in the workplace.”