Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 633

Sociocultural and Systemic Influences on Counselling (Revision 7)


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Delivery Mode: Paced study; online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Graduate Studies

Prerequisite: GCAP 631

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

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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, Indigeneity, gender, gender identity, age, ability, sexual orientation, religion, spirituality, 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, as well as cultural and 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 analyses of the influences of cultural identities and social locations on the counsellor, the client(s), the therapeutic relationship, and the counselling process.


Domain I Ubiquitous Nature of Culture

  • Week 1 Culturally Responsive and Socially Just (CRSJ) Counselling
  • Week 2 Complexity of Cultural Identity and Relationality
  • Week 3 Multiplicity and Subjectivity of Worldviews

Domain II Attending to Social Location

  • Week 4 Social Injustice and Social Determinants of Health
  • Week 5 An Uneven Playing Field: Privilege and Marginalization
  • Week 6 Nondominant and Dominant Cultural Identity Development
  • Week 7 Cross-Cultural Transitioning, Internalized Oppression, and Trauma

Domain III Professional Identity

  • Week 8 Professional Identity: Anti-Oppression and Justice-Doing

Domain V Case Conceptualization

  • Week 9 Responsive Case Conceptualization and Intervention Planning
  • Week 10 Student-Lead Learning Activities

Domain VI Enacting Multilevel Change

  • Weeks 11 and 12 Systems Level Change and Socially Just Practice

Domain III Professional Identity

  • Week 13 Continuing Competency and Professional Identity Development

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
Professional Writing Learning Plan Pass/Fail
Assignment 1 Risk-Taking Journal 15%
Assignment 2 Cultural Profile 15%
Assignment 3 Cultural Interview 25%
Assignment 3 Participant Consent Form Pass/Fail
Assignment 4 Learning Activity and Discussion Leadership 20%
Assignment 5 Problem-Based Learning 10%
Class Discussions 15%
Total 100%

Course Materials

Course Texts

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

Collins, S. (2018). Culturally responsive and socially just counselling: Teaching and learning guide. Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University.

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 Course Coordinator that such accommodation has been requested. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual student needs. However, because GCAP courses are paced, all students are required to participate weekly in the online discussion forums. There are also several courses where online exams and other interactive components are required.

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

Opened in Revision 7, February 2020

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