Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 671

Developing a Working Alliance (Revision 6)


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Delivery Mode: Paced study; online and summer institute (36 hours face-to-face).

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Graduate Studies

Prerequisite: GCAP 631, GCAP 633

This course must be taken through GCAP.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

Centre: Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology

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The Developing a Working Alliance Course is designed to build on the foundation of critical reflection on both counselling theory and processes, as well as appreciation for the both client and counsellor cultural identities and social locations, established in GCAP 631 and 633. In this course, the focus will shift to translating conceptual understanding into applied practice skills. The course supports critical analysis of the nature of the working alliance between counsellor and client and its role in the counselling process. Students will learn how to develop and maintain a culturally-responsive and socially just working alliance. They will also master the intentional use of counselling microskills and techniques to define client problems and identify preferred outcomes.


Spring Online Lessons

  • Lesson 1: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Working Alliance
  • Lesson 2: The Practice of Engagement and Listening for Client Meaning
  • Lesson 3: Responding to and Co-constructing Meaning
  • Lesson 4: Describing Problems and Preferences

Summer Institute Lessons

The summer institute portion of the course runs for seven days, with 36 hours of direct face-to-face instruction.

  • Lesson 5: Preparing for Practice
  • Lesson 6: Foundations for Collaboration
  • Lesson 7: Receiving and Reading Meaning
  • Lesson 8: Privileging Client Meanings
  • Lesson 9: Responding to Meaning
  • Lesson 10: Tracking Meaning
  • Lesson 11: Describing Problems and Preferences
  • Lesson 12: Locating the Problem
  • Lesson 13: Assessing Challenges and Competencies
  • Lesson 14: Attending to the Wider Context I
  • Lesson 15: Attending to the Wider Context II


To receive credit for GCAP 671, students must submit all of the course assignments, achieve a minimum grade of "B-" (70%) on Assignment 6, and obtain a composite grade of at least B- (70%) on the course. The weighing of the composite grade is as follows:

Course Activity Weight
Participation in Online Discussions 10%
Participation in Summer Institute 10%
Assignment 1: Counselling Microskills Quiz I 5%
Assignment 2: Counselling Microskills Quiz II 10%
Assignment 3: Describing Problems and Preferences 10%
Assignment 4: Ethic of Care as a Relational Practice 10%
Assignment 5: Counselling Microskills and Techniques Video I 20%
Assignment 6: Counselling Microskills and Techniques Video II 25%
Total 100%

Course Materials

Course Texts

Paré, D. A. (2013). The practice of collaborative counseling & psychotherapy: Developing skills in culturally mindful helping. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Other Resources

All other course materials are available 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 Disability 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 6, March 24, 2017.

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