Women's and Gender Studies (WGST) 305

Counselling with Indigenous Women (Revision 2)

WGST 305

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None. PSYC 347 (or equivalent course from another institution) is strongly recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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WGST 305 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Women’s and Gender Studies 305: Counselling with Indigenous Women will engage students in issues and practices critical to working with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women in culturally appropriate ways that promote principles of human dignity, decolonization, and self-sovereignty.

Counselling is one of many processes Indigenous women may turn to for support or assistance in working with difficult issues. Traditionally, problem solving and healing took a broader community focus, where supports were found through relationships of interconnection, family, friends, and community. Ceremony was one way to acknowledge important life events and offer mutual support, spiritual connection, and possibilities for transformation; working with medicine healers and teachers, with nature, and with spirit offer other possibilities for problem solving and healing. Customs and cultural practices have offered community members ways to promote safety and well-being and to minimize conflict.


  • Unit 1: The Mental Health of Indigenous Peoples
  • Unit 2: Indigenous Women and Canada
  • Unit 3: Children and Aboriginal Mental Health
  • Unit 4: The Construction of Social Suffering and Aboriginal Mental Health
  • Unit 5: Women, Culture, and Healing
  • Unit 6: Aboriginal Perspectives and Mental Health
  • Unit 7: Healing Stories
  • Unit 8: Treatment Approaches
  • Unit 9: Cultural Competence and Counsellor Development


To receive credit for Women’s and Gender Studies 305: Counselling with Indigenous Women, you must complete all seven (7) assignments. For the final assignment you may choose to do the Photovoice project (Parts 1 and 2) or the invigilated exam. The weightings for each activity are as follows:

Activity Credit Weight Date Due
Assignment 1: Reflection Essay 5% of final grade Before beginning work in the course
Assignment 2: Oral Review 10% of final grade After Unit 1
Assignment 3: Personal Location Essay 10% of final grade After Unit 2
Assignment 4: First Short Essay 15% of final grade After Unit 4
Assignment 5: Second Short Essay 15% of final grade After Unit 6
Assignment 6: Oral Review 10% of final grade After Unit 8
Final Assignment: Photovoice Project or Final Invigilated Exam 30% of final grade After Unit 9
Online Participation 5% of final grade After Unit 9
Total 100% of final grade  

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

Your final grade will be determined by a weighted average of the grades you received on the activities noted above. To receive credit for this course, in addition to completing all the assignments, you must achieve a minimum grade of 50 percent on the final assignment (either the Photovoice project or the invigilated exam) and a minimum overall weighted grade of D (50 percent) or better for the entire course.

Up to 5 percent may be added for your participation in the online forums (your own postings as well as your responses to other students’ postings).

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Kirmayer, J. L., & Valaskakis, G. G. (Eds.) (2009). Healing traditions: The mental health of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

Million, D. (2013). Therapeutic nations: Healing in an age of Indigenous human rights. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

Other Material

All other materials for this course can be found online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the WGST 305 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) or greater on the research essay to be eligible to write the challenge examination. A cumulative average of 50 percent on both activities is required. Credit is awarded on a pass/fail basis only.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, May 16, 2017.

View previous syllabus