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Multi-Cultural Competence Counsellor Training

Multi-Cultural Competence

Therapist Training for Multi-Cultural

MCC-400 Multi-Cultural Competence

This course in a nutshell:
Discussion topics: The importance of understanding cultural diversity related to the religion, race, gender, socio-economic class, and sexual preference of the client will be addressed.
Skills: You will learn to administer a cultural assessment to target areas of diversity. You will explore your own cultural roots and uncover any cultural biases which impact your ability to practice as a culturally sensitive and competent counsellor.

Course Content

Culturally competent, professional counsellors working in all capacities are aware of the many forms of human diversity: race, ethnicity, language, family of origin culture, gender, socio-economic class, age, sexual preference, religion, and disability. Each of these concepts must be appreciated and accounted for by the counsellor in order to fully understand the complexity of human behavior and emotionality. This course provides students with an understanding of the affects these aspects of diversity have on individuals and family systems.

The course is geared to providing practical information that can readily apply to a wide variety of counselling situations. Interviewing, treatment planning and related skills for working with individuals, children, adolescents, couples, families, and group members from multi-cultural backgrounds will be demonstrated. Students will have the opportunity to apply theory and skills during role play exercises and case study analysis.

In order to maximize the scope of services available to clients, students become familiar with, and incorporate relevant services provided through community mental health agencies into their treatment planning.

The counsellor’s personal feelings, fears, and expectations about working with culturally diverse clients must be examined thoroughly. Students will explore their own cultural origins; identify any pre-conceived, culture-related biases that could affect their work as counselors; and maintain a self-care plan while expanding their self- awareness.


The general aim of this course is to provide students with knowledge necessary to become a culturally competent counsellor. Assessment procedures, interviewing and communication techniques, will be discussed and demonstrated. Students will apply these concepts and techniques to demonstrate cultural sensitivity and competence as they provide counselling services to clients from diverse cultures. Opportunities will be provided for students to assess their own cultural origins and identify any cultural biases that could interfere with their effectiveness in counselling clients from diverse backgrounds. Students will gain understanding and skill in the following areas:

  1. Knowledge of what it means to be culturally competent.
  2. Knowledge of the concepts of racism and prejudice, and how these practices effect psychological development and mental health of the individual.
  3. Awareness of the impact of cultural differences related to race, gender, religion, socio-economic class and sexual preference on the client, the counsellor, and the counselling process.
  4. Awareness of cultural bias and barriers in the mental health system.
  5. Ability to incorporate counseling skills such as advanced empathy and active listening to demonstrate cultural competence and sensitivity throughout all phases of the counselling process.
  6. Ability to apply assessment protocol to identify cultural diversity in adults, children, adolescents, parents, couples, families and group members.
  7. Review the ethical and legal implications related to working with culturally diverse clients in social service agencies and private practice.
  8. Apply the concepts of a “no-harm contract”, and other safety protocols in the development of treatment plans with all types of clients, including those from diverse cultures.
  9. Recognition of clinical limitations and the need for supervision and/or professional consultation, and to implement a self-care plan.

Competency Standards & Ethical Guidelines

In order to practice within the usual and accepted standards of care, Professional Counsellors follow a set of ethical guidelines defined by Professional Counselling Associations such as the Canadian Professional Counselling Association. Adherence to a defined set of professional competencies is required in all counselling situations. The following will be considered in counselling, emergency or crisis intervention with all types of clients:

  1. The ethical guidelines pertaining to scope of practice; the necessity and/or appropriate timing of referrals
  2. Countertransference and possible disruption of the client’s therapeutic process; developing peer support and accountability for an ethical and professional practice
  3. Appropriate use of a suicide or no- harm contract.
  4. Knowledge of community resources and ability to assist clients in developing support networks.
  5. The ability to set realistic goals and evaluate the efficacy of treatment.
  6. The ethics and limitations of confidentiality within the therapeutic relationship
  7. Need for the counsellor to safeguard against client causing harm to him/herself, and/or harm to others. While respecting the ethical requirement for confidentiality within the counselling relationship, counsellors must also be vigilant in recognizing their reporting responsibilities in cases of reported or suspected abuse to children, or elderly persons.
  8. Counsellors maintain professional boundaries through a clearly defined professional relationship when dealing with clients and family members, and others in the community.
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