Methodology: Summary

The methodology taught at Lifespace has Humanistic Counselling and Psychotherapy processes as its foundation. Into this foundation are integrated a number of transformational tools and processes to address areas where therapy can fall short or get stuck and to help move the process forward.

Some Qualities of the Lifespace Approach

Focusing on building inner resources and strengths. A respect for the inner resources that a client has or is capable of developing. The focus is on bringing forth and enhancing these inner resources, plus processing and transforming anything that is blocking the full expression of a person’s potential.

Respectful collaborative relationship. The therapist brings facilitative processes and skilled guidance to the session, while checking in with and working together with the client to find the pathway to healing that fits for him or her. Therapists respect clients’ inner qualities and potential, and welcome clients’ input and feedback on the process.

Empowerment. Handing on the skills: teaching clients how to maintain and carry on transformational inner processes in both their sessions and their lives, as well as how to take constructive action in their lives.

Confidence building. Students are empowered and respected as well. Graduates know what they are doing. They have a specific set of skills and have had guidance and experience in how and when to apply them for different client issues.

Integrative. The processes taught at Lifespace work together as a synergistic set of tools, and address all levels of functioning: the somatic (body), emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and spiritual, and meaningful life action.

Students can develop their own style. The Lifespace 7-step system of process steps allows for students to integrate any past or future learning into whatever step applies. To be responsible therapists, students are required to study and demonstrate facility with key pathways of transformation, learning tools that address an essential range of client issues. However, they are also supported in finding their own unique styles of being facilitators.

Focus on practical skills trainingExceptional quality of skillsHighly specific guidance in learning the skills. Students are given step-by-step training manuals, demonstrations, personal experiences of the steps, and feedback on recordings of themselves as counsellors. Mastery—like learning to drive a car—first involves learning specific steps, principles and processes that point you in a productive direction. After sufficient practice, there is a shift into flow and flexibility—the facilitation skills seem more naturally there, and students are better able to flexibly respond to their clients’ needs in the moment.

Exposure to exquisite modeling. A key aspect of learning is being exposed to masterful modeling of the process. Barbara Forest brings many decades of experience as a Trainer and a Therapist. Students are immersed in finely attuned facilitation, both in personal sessions and in experiencing demonstrations of the work with others.

Safety plus depth. The first thing that student counsellors learn is how to keep themselves, and their clients, safely centred in a strong inner Core of resource (connected with love, peace, intuitive wisdom, etc.). This helps the client hold steady while working with deep issues. Students, of course, also learn how to do this for themselves as counsellors.

Transformational. Clients are not left stuck in their heads or in their pain, but are gently and consistently guided through healing transformational steps. (Click on The Process for a summary of the 7-step system of Life-Centred Transformational CounsellingTM and how these steps relate to the various Pathways of Transformation.)

Personal development. Students go on their own transformational healing journey. They also develop their self-care and their ability to use self as a facilitative element in their sessions with clients.

Caring community.




This is the heart of the Lifespace Transformational Counsellor Training Program, and is the Module that provides the practical counsellor skills training.

Barbara explains some process steps to the class
Barbara explains some process steps to the class.

CORE COURSES (210 hours over 2 years)

The 4 Core Courses (15 days per year) focus rigorously and intensively on the learning of a well-founded set of practical counselling skills. Attendance is required. If a student unavoidably has to miss any class, then they do a make-up: listening to a recording of the class and doing extra practice counselling sessions both as a counsellor and a client. The courses follow a certain sequence, starting with an essential base of Foundational Skills, and building from there. (Click on Courses for the detailed Core Course Descriptions.)

PRACTICA (over 2 years)

1. Counselling Skills Practicum (minimum 60-90 hours as a counsellor, 60-90 hours as a client) Students practice the counselling skills learned in the Core Courses with Lifespace students as clients, and, as they are ready, apply them to their work with the people that they serve. Students tape-record these sessions and bring them in for feedback in group and individual Consultation Practica.

Students are required to complete a minimum total of 120-180 hours practising the skill sets for the Core Courses, 60-90 hours as a counsellor and 60-90 hours as a client. Students learn both by practicing the skills as a counsellor and by going on a healing journey themselves.

2. Group Consultation Practicum (45 hours over 2 years) combined with Clinical Applications Course (45 hours over 2 years)

Monthly classes (90 hours over 2 years): Group Consultation and Clinical Applications combined: further assistance in the application of the skills being taught in the Core Courses. The time is divided between consultation and discussing issues of clinical application.

The monthly meetings are 3 hours October to June, and 6 hours July to September. The 3 summer months in the first year focus on integrating all the skills of that year; the second summer focuses on integrating all the skills of the 2-year Program.

The Consultation part consists of students presenting excerpts of recordings of their sessions as the counsellor, utilizing the skills under study in the current Core Course. The Instructor gives feedback and also provides review, answers questions, and assists in the fine-tuning and integration of these skills. If students seem unclear on a particular skill, the Instructor will devise mini practice exercises for the students to further consolidate this skill.

Learning is greatly accelerated by this consultation method, because the Instructor can stop the tape and give very specific feedback on the section just heard. The feedback includes encouragement and support for what the student is doing well, plus nonjudgmental but clear suggestions for taking the process to the next level, strengthening it, deepening it, adding relevant tools & treatment options, improving the fundamental facilitation skills, etc. Everyone learns from everyone’s feedback.

Interwoven with the above is the Clinical Applications part. (See topics covered listed in Module 2, below.)

3. Immersion Course (minimum 104 hours over 2 years)

This course consists of further exposure to the concepts & processes under study, to consultation feedback, and to Clinical Applications pointers, such as constructive use of self. Immersing students in the processes and principles under study is invaluable. For this course, students are required to spend a minimum number of hours attending (or listening to recordings of) other students’ individual consultation sessions (see below), given by the Instructor. Students can also listen to class recordings of former years and additional Instructor demos of the skills they are currently studying. About half these hours relate to further group consultation learning (hearing feedback given to other students), and half to course learning (clinical applications and study of the methods).

4. Individual Consultation Practicum (minimum 30 hours, over 2 years) In addition to the Group Consultation Practicum, students must complete a minimum number of hours of individual consultations with the Instructor (or other Counsellor/Trainer skilled in the processes taught at Lifespace).

To obtain a Certificate for a particular Core Course, students must demonstrate a basic proficiency in and understanding of the skills taught in that course. To this end, students bring in additional recordings of their sessions, for individual feedback on their skills as a counsellor.

They also receive 1-to-1 tutorials where they are personally guided through the steps, with discussion of the process steps used. These sessions also advance their personal healing. Students also learn how to develop their own inner transformational guide, and, hence, how to teach their clients to do the same.

Minimum total hours required for Core Course Certificates: 15 hours of 1-to-1 tutorials and 15 hours of consultations on recordings of themselves as counsellors.

If their Module 1 Certificate practicum requirements are not met by the end of their 2 years, then students can continue working on them during their Module 2 group and individual consultations. Sometimes a student needs more consultation hours to complete their Module 1 Certificates, and therefore can accumulate credit for more practicum hours. Some students choose to have more hours just to further deepen their healing and learning.

Because of the mature nature of the students and the highly specific nature of the training and feedback, a total of 30 hours of consultations is usually enough to demonstrate acquisition of the key skills in the Core Courses. However, the number of hours required to obtain each Certificate depends upon how long it takes a particular student to demonstrate skills acquisition. All of these practicum hours go on their Transcript as hours spent counselling clients and in supervision.

Class demo by Barbara of a counselling session.
Class demo by Barbara of a counselling session.


4 Course-by-Course CERTIFICATES OF SKILLS ACQUISITION are awarded for completing the courses, practica and hours, and demonstrating basic skills proficiency and understanding relating to each Core Course. To obtain the Certificate for each course, students need to complete the individual and group practica associated with each course. (Click on Fees & Certificates for tuition fees.)

Minimum Core Course Certificate Requirements—Total Hours for the 2 Years

 Course/Practicum Title Instructional HoursPracticum Hours
 Core Courses 210 
 Counselling Skills Practicum (as a counsellor)  60-90
 Counselling Skills Practicum (as a client)  60-90
 Group Consultation Practicum  45
 Clinical Applications Course 45 
 Immersion Course 5252
 Individual Consultation Practicum with Lifespace Trainer 30
 Total Hours for Courses307 
 Total Practicum Hours 247-307

When all of their Core Course Certificates have been completed and integration and flow have been demonstrated, then students are awarded a CERTIFICATE IN TRANSFORMATIONAL COUNSELLING. Obtaining this Certificate requires an additional 20-30 hours (10-15 as counsellor, 10-15 as client) in the Counselling Skills Practicum to practice this integration (in addition to the minimum 120-180 hours), and an additional 3 hours (or more, as needed) in Individual Consultations with a Lifespace Trainer to demonstrate this integration (in addition to the minimum 30 hours with a Lifespace Trainer). There are also additional textbooks required for this Certificate.

The last 3 months of the 2-Year Core Program (July to September) focuses on integrating all of the skills taught.

Students, who have not completed all their Certificate requirements by the end of their 2 years in Module 1, can continue working on these requirements within the Module 2 Practica and courses.

A TRANSCRIPT is also issued upon request documenting hours of training and practice accomplished in the various categories.

Trainee Tape Consultation with Barbara-2


This module is usually mainly done with Lifespace faculty, though students have the option of supplementing/replacing this with approved supervisors from outside of Lifespace. This module can be done for 1-2 years, depending on the needs of each student. It is also available in future years for ongoing support and consultation (to whatever extent is desired).

Module 2 provides support and consultation in making the transition from being a student (working with Lifespace students as clients) to working with one’s own client base. In Module 2, students can also complete their Module 1 Certificate requirements, if they have not already done so.

CPRO Online Jurisprudence Course (required before a trainee begins working with outside clients)

Advanced Group Consultation Practicum/Advanced Clinical Applications Course Advanced Immersion Course

The frequency of meeting is flexible, and is adjusted according to the needs of each particular group. Students are also encouraged to set up their own mutual consultation groups with each other, as their skills advance.

Advanced Counselling Skills Practicum

Continuing on from however many direct client contact hours a student completed in Module 1.

Advanced Individual Consultation Practicum

Continued consultations with a Lifespace Trainer to continue deepening students’ application of their counselling skills and personal healing journeys.

Additional Clinical Applications Course(s) These topics have been covered in the Module 1 two-year course. However, additional training in clinical applications areas is always valuable and recommended. Topics include:

  • Safe and effective use of self in the therapeutic relationship.
  • Care of self to prevent burnout and to be healthy and fully present for clients.
  • Having ongoing consultations in place, keeping current both with one’s own personal issues and with one’s counselling work.
  • Stages in working with clients, including the first session, possible subsequent sessions for sequencing the different levels of work, and closing.
  • Integration of the various therapeutic tools & processes, and responsiveness to particular client needs in the moment: able to call on an appropriate treatment modality.
  • Following the moment plus holding an overall picture of therapeutic goals and of what has been happening with this client.
  • Setting up a private practice.
  • Tips for obtaining referrals.
  • Relational Immediacy: How to use what arises in the client/therapist relationship to enhance awareness of misaligned patterns and how to use these patterns as inroads for accomplishing therapeutic goals, as opposed to getting drawn into these patterns (e.g., a therapist preening himself when a client gives excessive appreciation), or avoiding or rejecting them (e.g., blaming the client for “resisting”). Transference, countertransference, and resistance are addressed, as well as other patterns or issues that could arise.
  • Ethical decision-making. Knowledge of legalities.
  • When to refer. A working definition of serious disorder and seriously impaired function.
  • Discerning if a client has adequate support or lack of interference from the key people in their lives, to be able to undergo individual outpatient therapy work.
  • Assisting with developing home support networks for clients.


Currently, when students have completed the Module 1 (Core Curriculum) requirements for all their Core Course Certificates and for their Certificate in Transformational Counselling, and the minimum hour and skills acquisition requirements for one year of Module 2 (Advanced Counselling Skills Integration & Mastery), they are given a CERTIFICATE IN ADVANCED TRANSFORMATIONAL COUNSELLING.

If students have worked entirely with outside approved supervisors, and they wish to obtain this Certificate from Lifespace, they will need to demonstrate advanced and integrated skills attainment via some consultations with Lifespace faculty where they present recordings of their work as counsellors. Or, if the approved outside supervisors are familiar with the processes taught at Lifespace, then they can attest to a student’s readiness to be granted this Advanced Certificate.

Certificates are also issued for any Additional Clinical Applications Courses obtained (along with an acknowledgement of total training hours). A TRANSCRIPT is also issued upon request documenting hours of training accomplished in the various categories.


These courses may be taken under the umbrella of Lifespace or from an approved program elsewhere. Students need to check regarding which courses are being currently offered at Lifespace.

Many of these Module 3 & 4 courses have been given at Lifespace in the past, but can be arranged anew if there is sufficient student interest. Students can also broaden their experience by taking courses with another approved program.

Courses in Module 3 can be taken concurrently with Module 1, or whenever a student has the available time. Courses in Module 4 are best taken after at least 1 year in Module 1.


The elements of Theory & Research in the Field, Ethics, and Diversity & Multiculturalism are interwoven into the Core Courses, and the detailed textbooks associated with them are required reading for the Core Program. However, students may wish to expand their consideration and exploration of these areas with additional theoretical courses or study groups. These theoretical courses can be done at any time in a student’s program.

Theory and Research in the Field of Psychotherapy/Counselling: the Four Forces
Ethical Issues in Psychotherapy/Counselling

Diversity, Multiculturalism, and Psychotherapy/Counselling

Personality Theory


This Module includes skills-training courses that go into further exploration of an area already covered in the Core Curriculum, plus courses that add to the Core Curriculum. These courses allow students to expand their training in their area(s) of interest and with specific client populations and client issues with which they wish to work. Some examples include:

Additional Certificates within the Lifespace Program (always available):

Relationship Counselling Certificate Program (after completing Module 1 Certificates)
Trainer Certificate Programs (must also complete Advanced Module 2 Certificate)

Expanding a Certain Element from the Lifespace Program for Additional Training:

Foundation Skills: extending the practice of these, including inner resource building, focusing, and empathic listening. And how to transition into Transformational Focusing and Transformational Empathy.
Setting Up Mutual-Help Network Groups: support in assisting the setting up of supportive self-help groups, including training the group in the Foundation Skills. Helping front-line professionals, such as Social Workers, set these up with their clients can also be a valuable aspect of this. (Some of the day-to-day facilitative listening and support can then be done by the group members, giving the Social Worker more time to do in-depth therapeutic work.)
Working with Inner Parts: From Inner Conflict to Wholeness
Expressive Arts Therapy
Drama Therapy

Body-Centred Therapy

Somatic Awareness & Integration Methods

Methods for Healing Past History

Transforming Limiting Beliefs

Further Training Relating to Working with Specific Client Populations & Issues:

Personality Disorders/Styles and Seriously Dysfunctional States
Dissociation, including DID
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Trauma and Abuse

Working with _____ (a specific client population or issue)

Elements Added to the Lifespace Program:

Group Therapy (BF prefers a training mode, where participants receive training in communication & personal healing skills) Play Therapy with Children


In the past, students were given a Certificate in Counselling for completing Module 1. Extra courses from the additional Modules, taught by additional Lifespace faculty, were also included in the requirements for this Certificate in Counselling. Credit for these additional courses and the hours of training were noted on the overall transcript.

Currently, to keep things clear, credit for courses from the additional Modules will be designated by their own separate Certificates (including noting the hours of training).



In addition to Barbara Forest, PhD, the Core Faculty member, other Faculty Resources are available to teach Module 3 and 4 courses, with sufficient student interest, and to offer support to the Module 1 & 2 programs.

(Click on Faculty for more details.)

The opportunity is available to Lifespace Graduates and Advanced Students to train as Trainers and to assist with the Core Program and supplementary courses.

For the Application Procedure, click on Admission. See also Fees & Certificates.