Curriculum Guideline

Cultural Competency and Counselling with Canada's Aboriginal Peoples

Effective Date:
Course Code
PSYC 3333
Cultural Competency and Counselling with Canada's Aboriginal Peoples
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture 4 hours per week/semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The couse will involve a number of instructional methods, such as the following:


Small/large group discussions

Personal reflections/activities


Video content

Guest lectures

Course Description
Cultural awareness, cultural competence and cultural safety are important components in understanding the psychological health and wellness of Canada's Aboriginal peoples. This course is designed to enhance students' competencies in understanding and working with Aboriginal individuals and communities. The course will facilitate development of self-awareness, theoretical knowledge, and Indigenous knowledge of colonization and its impact on Aboriginal peoples. It will introduce the social, historical, political, spiritual, and philosophical contexts that inform the psychological experiences of many Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada. The course will review concepts and principles of counselling psychology that enhance our understanding of and effectiveness in addressing client issues and multiple identities. The course also emphasizes counsellor roles and responsibilities for social justice and advocacy and provides learners with a foundation of knowledge and skills required to provide culturally appropriate counselling services to Aboriginal families and individuals.
Course Content

1. Impact of colonization on psychological health

   a. Epidemics

   b. Residential schools

   c. Laws

   d. Indian Act

2. Counsellor roles and responsibilities with Aboriginal Peoples

   a. Cultural competency/safety

      i. Definitions

      ii. Utility

      iii. Action

   b. Ethical principles and professional practice

3. Social justice issues in Counselling Aboriginal Peoples

   a. Intersectionality: Multiple identities related to age, ability, gender, sexual orientation and identity, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, spirituality, socioeconomic status, and other intersecting aspects of identity

   b. Advocacy and ally work with Aboriginal Clients

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

1. Describe and explain the history of colonization and its biopsychosocial impact on Aboriginal peoples in Canada

2. Describe and explain cultural awareness, cultural competency and cultural safety

3. Analyze personal values that could impact cultural competency

4. Describe and explain concepts and principles of counselling psychology that enhance our understanding of addressing clients' "intersectionality"

5. Describe and explain counsellors' roles and responsibilities for social justice advocacy

6. Describe and explain what knowledge and skills are required for cultural competence with Aboriginal peoples and families

7. Outline ethical and professional principles that guide social justice, cultural competence and advocacy work within counselling psychology

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. Evaluation will be based on the course objectives and includes some of the following:

1. Multiple choice, short answer, or essay exams

2. Term paper, research project, or written assignments

3. Group activities/work

The specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Test 1           20%

Term Paper    25%

Presentation   25%

Participation   10%

Test 2            20%

Total            100%

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and materials to be purchased by students:

Textbooks will be updated periodically. Typical examples of textbooks are:

France, H., Rodriguez, & Hett. (2012). Diversity, culture and counselling: A Canadian perspective. Calgary, Canada: Detselig Enterprises LTD.

Hart, S. (2003). Seeking Mino-Pimatisiwin: An Aboriginal approach to helping. Halifax, Canada: Fernwood Publishing.

Lane, P., Bopp, M., Bopp, J., & Brown, L. (1984). The sacred tree. Lotius Press.

Waldram, J., Herring, A., & Young, T. (2006). Aboriginal health in Canada: Historical, cultural, and epidemiological perspectives. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.