Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Counselling, Support, and Education Services (CA-CSE) 4: Counselling and Support Services

The organization provides individuals and families with educational, supportive, and preventive services that:
  1. recognize individual and family values and goals;
  2. accommodate differences in lifestyles;
  3. emphasize personal growth, development, and situational change; and
  4. offer guidance, coaching, and community support.
NA The organization does not provide counselling and support services.
2020 Edition




Individuals and families who participate in Counseling, Support, and Education Services identify and build on strengths, develop skills to manage situational change, access appropriate community support and resources, and improve functioning in daily activities at home, at work, and in the community.
Examples: Counselling and support services may be designed and delivered by peers, examples of which include peer-to-peer counselling, peer mentoring/coaching, and parent and family support services. 
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for providing necessary care to trauma survivors or individuals at risk of suicide
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Individuals or families served
  • Review logs, progress notes, or case records for documentation of services provided, as applicable

CA-CSE 4.01

Services have an educational, supportive, or preventive focus to help individuals and families:
  1. cope with life transitions;
  2. develop life skills and problem-solving techniques;
  3. better understand the patterns of community and family living;
  4. anticipate and manage stresses of daily living; or
  5. improve role competency and family and social functioning.

CA-CSE 4.02

Personnel assist individuals and families to:
  1. explore and clarify the reason for accessing services;
  2. voice service goals;
  3. identify successful coping or problem solving strategies based on identified strengths, formal and informal supports, and preferred solutions;
  4. establish and evaluate progress towards achieving identified goals; and
  5. realize ways of maintaining and generalizing gains.
Examples: The organization can encourage active participation of individuals and families by demonstrating:
  1. sensitivity to the needs and personal goals of the individual or family;
  2. a receptive manner;
  3. respect for the person’s autonomy, confidentiality, socio-cultural values, lifestyle choices, and complex family interactions;
  4. flexibility; and
  5. appropriate boundaries.

Fundamental Practice

CA-CSE 4.03

When the individual is a victim of abuse, neglect, violence, or other known trauma, or at risk for suicide, the organization provides:
  1. trauma-informed care;
  2. education about the impact of trauma;
  3. an appropriate safety plan;
  4. resources to report domestic violence, sexual assault, abuse, or neglect if the individual elects to do so;
  5. information on service options so the individual can actively participate in developing service goals and objectives;
  6. frequent monitoring of progress toward service goals; and/or
  7. access to intensive services.
Example: Organizational self-assessment is one way to evaluate the extent to which an organizations’s policies and practices are trauma-informed, as well as identify strengths and barriers in regards to trauma-informed service delivery. For example, organizations can evaluate staff training and professional development opportunities and review supervision ratios to assess whether personnel are trained and supported on trauma-informed care practices. Organizations can also conduct an internal review of their service delivery processes to ensure that services are being delivered in a trauma-informed manner.