OPC’ s model of learning is built on the following principles.
The model is based on the assumption that the learner’s active involvement in the learning process is essential to good learning and good practice. Thus, OPC approaches (experiential learning groups, residencies, special lectures, clinical practice) are intended to provide dynamic learning spaces where student Associates engage in active and participatory learning. The Faculty of OPC serve as facilitators of learning who manage the learning process by engaging learners in a variety of learning approaches and activities. Each process, assignment and learning strategy is intended to lead students to an increased level of understanding the theory and practice of psychotherapy and counseling. By involving students in a variety of learning activities, respect is demonstrated for diverse ways of learning and knowing. Interaction and participation in classes, groups, project teams and individual assignments are expected and required.
The effectiveness of cooperation and collaboration in enhancing learning is well and widely documented. Structures that encourage and facilitate collaboration are central to this teaching/learning model. OPC holds that students themselves can be invaluable resources in enhancing their own and others’ learning. More traditional educational models emphasize a top-down, vertical transfer of information. Adult students with rich and varied experience find benefit in instructional practices that encourage collaboration. This approach adds a robust “horizontal” dimension to the learning exchange as OPC students teach and learn from one another.
The program is based on the belief that therapy and counseling that are holistic in nature and dealing with the whole person is most effective. The curriculum is also based on a holistic approach to learning with learning objectives and outcomes evident in all 3 domains of learning: cognitive learning is related to what the learner needs to know, understand and comprehend. behavioural learning is related to what skills the learner needs to be able to practice, perform and demonstrate and; affective learning is related to empathy, caring, emotions and relational capacities they need to be able to feel and express. Creating learning opportunities and feedback that utilizes all 3 domains enables adult learners to make the integrated connections between the holistic thinking, doing and feeling required to be a holistic psychotherapist or counselor. How a person learns provides a holistic model for how they might work with clients in a holistic manner in their future practice.
OPC does not operate according to a traditional academic calendar. New student cohorts can begin at any time and classes are held throughout the year without traditional quarter or semester breaks. Our groups, residencies and lectures are offered at times and in places that are convenient to working adults. Classes are held primarily in the evening and on weekends when working adults are most likely to be able to access the learning.
OPC students study the nature and importance of professional ethics. Students are required to sign a Code of Ethics and confidentiality agreement and agree that: