Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 671

Responsive Counselling Relationships & Interpersonal Communication (Revision 7)


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Delivery Mode: Paced study; online and summer institute (33 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

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The Responsive Counselling Relationships & Interpersonal Communication 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 relationship 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 client–counsellor relationship. They will also master the intentional use of counselling microskills and techniques to define client problems and identify preferred outcomes.


Spring Online Learning Processes

  • Week 1: Responsive Relationships
  • Week 2: The Practice of Engagement and Listening for Client Meaning
  • Week 3: Responding to, and Co-constructing, Meaning
  • Week 4: Describing Problems and Preferences

Summer Institute Learning Processes

The Summer Institute portion of this course includes 39 hours of direct face-to-face instruction. Please note that first year students are required to attend Summer Institute in its entirety - both courses as well as the mandatory 2-day orientation.

  • Class 1: Counselling as a Relational Practice
  • Class 2: Receiving and Reading Meaning
  • Class 3: Privileging Client Meanings
  • Class 4: Responding to Meaning
  • Class 5: Tracking Meaning
  • Class 6: Describing Problems and Preferences I
  • Class 7: Describing Problems and Preferences II
  • Class 8: Assessing Competencies
  • Class 9: Attending to the Wider Context I
  • Class 10: Attending to the Wider Context II
  • Class 11: Pulling It All Together


To receive credit for GCAP 671, students must submit all of the course assignments, achieve a minimum grade of B- (70 percent) on Assignment 4, and obtain a composite grade of at least B- (70 percent) 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 10%
Assignment 2: Describing Problems and Preferences 25%
Assignment 3: Counselling Microskills and Techniques Video I 20%
Assignment 4: Counselling Microskills and Techniques Video II 25%
Total 100%

Course Materials

Course Texts

Collins, S. (2018). Embracing cultural responsivity and social justice: Re-shaping professional identity in counselling psychology. Counselling Concepts.

Paré, D. A. (2013). The practice of collaborative counseling & psychotherapy: Developing skills in culturally mindful helping. 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 7, May 1, 2019.

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