The Pragmatic Counselling Series (PCS)


How do you do counselling? More pointedly, how do you do excellent counselling? Despite all the important teachings delivered through degree programs, practicum clinics, and specialized modalities, many counsellors and care workers find themselves sitting with clients unsure if they know the answers to those fundamental questions. The Pragmatic Counselling Series (PCS) is a set of continuing education certificate courses that are appropriate for counsellors at any stage of their careers. The PCS is geared towards delivering a more foundational foundation to the general practice of counselling therapy. This series is rooted in the recognition that there are fundamental commonalities among clients and their problems. General Practice Counselling Therapy teaches practitioners how to attend to the ordinary suffering, illness, and distress of most clients by talking in chairs.

The GP/Pragmatic Counselling series directly addresses “the doing” of counselling therapy. The Series is designed so students can engage with the courses in no particular order, where each course is effective as a standalone, and which will leave students with new understanding/interventions towards helping clients. But the courses are also designed as an interlocking system of teachings which, taken together, provide clinicians with the ability to carry most clients through an effective counselling process and most counsellors through a stable and growing long-term career.

Fundamentally, counselling (#1) is the act of the therapist (#2), talking (#3), about problems (#4), over time (#5), with the client (#6).

  1. The Discipline: The Stance of Counselling
  2. The Counsellor: Developing the Self
  3. Talk Therapy: The Inescapability of Language
  4. The Therapeutic Problem: Common Factors
  5. The Lifespan of the Therapeutic Relationship: From Session 1 Onward
  6. The Client: Entry Points for Treating the Whole of the Client

Course Dates


Course name






The Counsellor: Developing the Self



Talk Therapy: Mastering Therapeutic Language



Therapeutic Problems: Common Factors



The Lifespan of the Therapeutic Relationship



The Client: Entry Points for the Whole of the Client


Learning Outcomes

Students of all academic stripes and practices will learn actionable takeaways in each segment of class time. In each lesson, our instructors will focus on the essential, pragmatic question: What does this information do? Every segment of each course is designed around a teaching rooted in the conditions in which counselling already exists and shows how this flows naturally into powerful interventions for both the counsellor and the client. There are minimal proprietary or specialized modalities, populations, or problems referenced to create outcomes, which are maximally productive for ordinary counsellors working with most clients. Outcomes include the following:

  • In-session client-based interventions;
  • In-session counsellor-side approaches/orientations and choices;
  • Out-of-session personal habits and processes which support in-session work;
  • Out-of-session professional strategies that establish a deliberate practice of the above.

Our Team

Nightingale is founded with a professional, clinical, and academic commitment to the power of applied philosophy to improve counselling therapy itself. Our work in the field proceeds from the following maxim: good care follows good counsellors.

Shane Trudell is a Founding Director of Nightingale Counselling. His clinical practice in session with clients and in building an organization is rooted in critical theory and an emancipatory ethic, and his aspirational vision of what counselling therapy can and should be guides his work. Shane’s work and research in his role as Director are about elevating the potential of counselling therapy, for the benefit of clients, other counsellors, and counselling therapy itself. He works as a mentor, consultant, and instructor on how to contribute to the mental health community through clinical practice grounded in deep accountability.

hart caplan is a Founding Director at Nightingale Counselling. Coming to counselling later in life, hart has experience in the fields of history, philosophy, and the theory and practice of education. His fundamental orientation to counselling is existential. At its heart, this approach does not distinguish between cognition, emotions, and bodies. Instead, he is oriented toward making contact with the whole of a client’s being. After all, we don’t refer to ourselves as “human brains” or “human bodies” or “human emotions” but as human beings.

Curriculum and Online Development:

Abigail Kinch

Abigail Kinch—After a successful career in television and radio, Vancouver-based screenwriter and story editor, Abi Kinch, joined the faculty of Capilano University’s prestigious School of Motion Picture Arts (SMPA) in 2015. During her eight-year tenure at Capilano University, Kinch discovered a passion for teaching and learning and embraced every opportunity to improve her skills and share her learning with peers. Through Capilano University’s Centre for Teaching Excellence, Kinch earned certificates in Online Teaching Fundamentals and Course (Re)Design, as well as co-creating the open-source textbook “Discussion Guide for A Mind Spread Out on the Ground”.

Isaiah’s counselling framework emphasizes collaboration, compassion and a fundamental belief in the resilience and adaptability of every person. Isaiah comes from a structured counselling background in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and has since adapted that approach to one increasingly aligned with positive client outcomes and his professional identity. Isaiah has worked on a mental health and substance use support team, youth counselling on the Six Nations reserve, and CBT counselling for adults. Isaiah maintains a career in research that has explored effectiveness of healthcare services, cultural competency, substance use counselling, and emotional intelligence. On the PCS team he will operate as a researcher and facilitator in developing and delivering course content.

Project Management and Administration

Colleen McCrann—as with all things at Nightingale Counselling and Research, Colleen provides the administrative glue that holds things together.