Indigenous counsellor training program coming to Yellowknife

Left: Jean and Roy Erasmus of the Dene Wellness Warriors. Jean and Roy have organized a program to train 25 Indigenous students to be fully trained counsellors in September. Photo courtesy of Jean Erasmus

A new training program will be launched in Yellowknife this September in an effort to increase the number of Indigenous counsellors in the Northwest Territories.

The Northern Indigenous Counsellor Training program (NICT) was organized by a partnership between the Dene Wellness Warriors and Rhodes Wellness College, with some help from  the Government of the Northwest Territories.

The Rhodes Wellness College has operated in Vancouver for around 25 years. This will be the first year a program will be offered in Yellowknife, where 25 Indigenous students will receive a Professional Counsellor Diploma.

Jean and her husband Roy Erasmus, of the Dene Wellness Warriors, are both graduates of Rhodes Wellness College. Jean said in an email the two approached Rhodes with the idea of offering the program in Yellowknife with a northern focus.

Roy said in a press release, students are given the opportunity to learn in “an experiential way.”

“We are excited that Indigenous people wanting to be counsellors are ready to help Indigenous people with urgent needs in mental and emotional health, addiction recovery, relationships, and self-worth,” Roy said.

Graduates will receive a professional designation through the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association, Wellness Counsellor Diploma and a Life Coach Certificate after completing the program.

The approximately two-year program includes four semesters in Yellowknife and the final two semesters in Vancouver. Students who take the program in Yellowknife are eligible for Student Financial Assistance.

Further information on the program will be provided in an online Open House Wednesday May 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. and anyone interested in more information can contact the Coordinator of the Northern Indigenous Counsellor Training initiative at or 867-444-8625.

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Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at