Learning about CO-OP

Learning about CO-OP

Becoming educated in the CO-OP Approach
Approved CO-OP Course or Workshop
Who May Attend a CO-OP Course or Workshop?
Who May Become a Certified CO-OP Therapist?
Who May Become a Certified CO-OP Instructor?
CO-OP Certification Course *Now Online


Becoming educated in the CO-OP Approach

The CO-OP Academy is dedicated to knowledge translation and quality assurance. Accordingly, the CO-OP Academy reserves the right to offer training in the CO-OP Approach, be it for research or clinical practice.

There are a number of educational vehicles available to those interested in the CO-OP Approach, each bringing you to a different level of proficiency with the Approach.

The goals may be:

  1. To know about the CO-OP Approach,
  2. To do CO-OP, and
  3. To teach CO-OP.

To Know

If your goal is to know what CO-OP is and for whom it may be appropriate we refer you to the “about CO-OP” section of this website, to the myriad of available written materials or to lectures or informal courses.

There is a large amount of written material on the CO-OP Approach. This includes, but is not limited to, books, book chapters, peer-reviewed articles, and topic specific pamphlets. Links to a number of these material can be found on this website under publications and resources. Some, but not all, of the written information about CO-OP is endorsed by the CO-OP Academy. Those materials endorsed by the Academy will bear the Academy logo. Individuals wishing to have their educational materials endorsed by the Academy must submit them to the Academy for review and approval.

The most comprehensive source is the CO-OP book:

Polatajko, H. J., & Mandich, A. (2004). Enabling occupation in children: The Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP) approach. Ottawa, ON: CAOT Publications ACE.

It is available from the CAOT store.

The most recent CO-OP book is the following:

Dawson, D.R., McEwen, S. E., and Polatajko, H.J. (Eds.). (2017). Cognitive Orientation to daily Performance in Occupational Therapy. Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.

It may be purchased from the AOTA store.

The Academy, in partnership with the University of Toronto, offers a free on-line introductory course on the Approach.

From time to time lectures or informal courses are given about the Approach. These are generally as part of conferences or organized and delivered locally. This website does not provide information about such events as they are under the auspices of the organizers and not the Academy.

To Do

If your goal is to be able to do the Approach, i.e., use CO-OP in your practice or in research, we strongly recommend that you take an approved CO-OP online course or workshop.

Online course: The Academy, in partnership with the University of Toronto, offers a three part online course on the CO-OP Approach. Part I is an introduction, Part 2 mirrors the face-to-face workshop and teaches the basics of doing the Approach, and Part 3 is a certification component.

Approved CO-OP Workshops: The Academy, in partnership with local hosts, provides formal training on the CO-OP Approach which, depending on the nature of the course, prepares you to:

  • Practice using the Approach or

Receive certification in the Approach, allowing you to call yourself a certified CO-OP therapist.

Approved CO-OP Course or Workshop

All formal CO-OP courses or workshops must be approved by the Academy and must be given by a certified CO-OP instructor.  The Academy itself does not, generally, offer courses or workshops. Rather the Academy responds to requests from those wishing to host a course or workshop. Courses or workshop without the express approval of the Academy may not be identified as CO-OP courses or workshops. To set up formal training in the CO-OP Approach, please see the guidelines for planning a course or workshop and contact the Academy.  Attendees of an Approved CO-OP course or workshop will be given a ‘Certificate of Attendance’ issued by the workshop host and signed by the certified CO-OP instructor(s) .

Who May Attend a CO-OP Course or Workshop?

The Academy does not set any restrictions or requirements for attendance at CO-OP courses or workshops. Local hosts are free to set their own restrictions.

However, attendees should be aware that the Approach was originally designed for Occupational Therapists and that the instructional materials used in CO-OP courses or workshops are based on the premise that attendees have a clear understanding of the concepts underlying the Approach, including: client-centredness, occupation-based practice, learning theory, and evidence-based practice.

Who May Become a Certified CO-OP Therapist?

Certified CO-OP therapist must, first and foremost, be a fully qualified rehabilitation professional, e.g., an occupational therapist or physical therapist, duly licensed to practice in their own jurisdiction. Those wishing to become certified must meet the criterion for certification as a therapist as set out by the Academy.

Visit our Becoming a Certified Therapists page for more information.

To Teach

If your goal is to teach about CO-OP in an informal way, you are free to do so. If your goal is teach about CO-OP formally, to offer an approved CO-OP course or workshop, you must be formally trained and approved by the Academy.

Who May Become a Certified CO-OP Instructor?

Certified CO-OP instructors must, first and foremost, be a Certified CO-OP therapist and must possess a strong background in CO-OP theory and practice. In the interest of quality control the Academy closely controls the number of certified instructors. Accordingly, candidacy for certification as a CO-OP instructor is achieved through nomination to the Academy by a certified CO-OP instructor or a member of the Academy executive. Once candidacy is approved, those wishing to become certified must meet the criteria for certification as an instructor set out by the Academy.

Visit our Becoming a Certified Instructor page for more information.

CO-OP Certification Course

The International Cognitive Approaches Network (ICAN) (formerly known as the CO-OP Academy) is very pleased to announce that certification workshops will now be available online for the CO-OP approach.

Who can participate?

Certification is available to health care professionals who have attended a CO-OP Approach workshop (3 days – basic workshop plus consolidation day) offered by an instructor approved by the ICAN (formerly CO-OP Academy).

How does the certification process work?

  • The certification session is online, in a group of four to six participants. The facilitator/examiner is an instructor from the ICAN.
  • During the session, each participant is required to present a clinical case (maximum of 20 minutes) to demonstrate his or her use of the essential elements of the CO-OP approach, as discussed during the training. To that end, the participant must use video clips or a video montage. A PowerPoint presentation can also be used.
  • Zoom will be used as the platform for the online session, which will allow for the sharing of videos and for participants and instructors to see each other.
  • Videos must be sent to instructor five days before session for review. Participants can decide on sharing method – options such as private YouTube video (private link), WeTransfer, or OneDrive can be used. It is important to clarify with your client how information will be transferred to the instructor.
  • A 10 to 15-minute discussion and feedback session will follow the presentation.
  • On a rotational basis, each participant will facilitate the discussion period and identify strengths and areas for improvement.
  • During this presentation and throughout the discussions, the participant must
    demonstrate that clients identify their own goals, and that dynamic performance analysis, global cognitive strategy, domain specific strategies, guided discovery, and enabling principles are used.


  • The presentation and discussion periods are used to determine competency in CO-OP essential elements.
  • Participants demonstrating the implementation of essential elements of the CO-OP approach will receive a certificate from the ICAN (formerly CO-OP Academy) confirming that they are now certified therapists. Their name and contact information will appear on the ICAN website.
  • If the instructor judges that the participant has not mastered the essential elements of the CO-OP approach, no certificate will be issued.
  • The instructor will meet with the participant to discuss areas of improvement and the participant will be allowed to register at no cost for one other certification session.


  • Certification sessions are being offered in either English or French (participants must be fluent in the language session chosen and their videos must be in the same language). The number of registered participants influences the duration of the sessions. We expect certification sessions to last 3 1⁄2 to four hours (for 6 participants).
  •  An initial certification session is scheduled (in French) on Monday October 21st at 8:30 am EST (Toronto) time.
  • Additional future dates (in English with Sara McEwen) are available November 26, 2019; January 21, 2020 and March 24, 2020
  • Additional future dates (in French with Noemi Cantin) are available October 23, 2019; October 28, 2019; December 2, 2020 and December 4, 2020.

* If you want to gather a group of four to six therapists, you can contact us to organize your own certification session.

How to Register?

The ICAN website (www.icancoop.org) will be operational for registration and payment in early October 2019, however we urge those interested in reserving a spot or requesting further information to email Deb Cameron at deb.cameron@utoronto.ca as soon as possible as spots for the first workshops may fill quickly.