Counselling Psychology: Sociocultural and Systemic Influences : Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 633

Counselling Psychology: Sociocultural and Systemic Influences (Revision 4)


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Delivery Mode: Paced study; online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Graduate Studies

Prerequisite: GCAP 631

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

Centre: Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology

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This course examines the sociocultural influences on psychosocial and cultural identity development and management, with particular attention to the social determinants of health, the impact of cultural oppression on nondominant populations, and the importance applying a contextualized and systemic perspective to case conceptualization. Culture is defined broadly to emphasize diversity across ethnicity, nationality, gender/gender identity, age, ability, sexual orientation, religion, language, and social class. A multicultural and social justice lens is applied to understanding within and between group differences, dominant and nondominant sociocultural discourses, life and cross-cultural transitions, and cultural/worldview differences in perspectives on development, health, and healing. Students will enhance their competencies for culturally responsive and socially just counselling. Critical, feminist, multicultural, and constructivist metatheoretical lenses will be applied to analysis of the influence of cultural identities and social locations on the counsellor, the client(s), the therapeutic relationship, and the counselling process.


  • Lesson 1: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practice
  • Lesson 2: The Complexity of Cultural Identity: ┬áCultural Self-Awareness and Awareness of Client Culture
  • Lesson 3: Social Determinants of Health: The Systemic Influences on Indigenous Populations
  • Lesson 4: Culturally Sensitive Working Alliance: Culturally Diverse Perspectives on Development, Health, and Healing
  • Lesson 5: Multicultural and Feminist Practice: Intersections of Gender and Ethnicity
  • Lesson 6: Cross-Cultural Transitions: Immigrants, Refugees, and International Students
  • Lesson 7: Ethnicity, Privilege, and Racism
  • Lesson 8: Socially Just Practice: A Contextualized and System Perspective
  • Lesson 9: Challenging Social Discourses: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
  • Lesson 10: Anti-Oppressive and Affirmative Therapies: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
  • Lesson 11: Confronting Personal and Professional Marginalization: Persons with Disabilities
  • Lesson 12:┬áCultural Interviews: Personal and Professional Critical Reflections
  • Lesson 13: Continued Competency in Multicultural Counselling

Course Evaluation

To receive credit for GCAP 633, students must submit all of the course assignments. The passing grade for the course is B- (70%). The weighting of assignments is as follows.

Course Assignments

The assessment structure for GCAP 633: Sociocultural and Systemic Influences is based on the following course activities, with the percentage weighting of each activity as indicated. Your final grade for the course will be a composite mark based on your performance in these course activities.

Course Activity Weight
Participation in Online Discussions 20%
Assignment 1: Cultural Profile 15%
Assignment 2: Cultural Interview Paper 30%
Submission of Participant Consent Form for Assignment 2 P/F
Assignment 3: Cultural Interview PowerPoint 15%
Assignment 4: Critique of Case Study 20%
Total 100%

Course Materials

Course Texts

Arthur, N., & Collins, S. (Eds.). (2010). Culture-infused counselling. Calgary, Canada: Counselling Concepts.

Other Materials

All other materials are available to students online.

Other Information

Students with a disability, who require academic accommodation, need to register with the Access to Students with Disabilities Centre at Athabasca University. Notification of the need for academic accommodation must normally be provided to the program office no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the first day of class. It is the student's responsibility to register with the ASD Centre to request academic accommodation if required and to notify the instructor that such accommodation has been requested. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual student needs. However, because GCAP courses are paced, all student are required to participate weekly in the online discussion forums. There are also several courses where online exams are required.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice.

Opened in Revision 4, January 2017

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Updated December 21 2016 by Student & Academic Services