Cross-Cultural Counselling: In Living Colour


Winter 2023
Wed 9:00am - 10:50am

Cross cultural or intercultural engagement and ministry is not new to the Christian church. Indeed, from its earliest days the church has been a multicultural community that has lived out its vocation within the cultural, linguistic, religious, and socioeconomic diversity of the communities in which it was located. Perhaps more than ever, today’s churches and Christian leaders are aware of the many daily reminders of what Marshall McLuhan referred to as the “global village.” This is in part a result of the ease with which virtually every part of the world has access to news and information from virtually every other part of the world. It is also a result of business and pleasure travel between countries along with immigration which have brought increased cultural, linguistic, and religious diversity to any community where there is a church.

The first goal of this course is to develop the student’s skills for engaging those who may be culturally different. Students will be introduced to basic principles for working with persons from other cultures as they become aware of the cultural forces which have shaped the student’s values and develop a framework for understanding and interpreting cultures and cultural forces. These skills represent a transferrable skill set that is applicable to many aspects of ministry, not just counselling.

The second goal of this course is to support the development of frameworks that will inform the tasks of spiritual care, spiritual direction, and counselling with individuals and groups who are culturally different from the counsellor.


  • Acquire knowledge of cultural traditions through experiential and conceptual learning (CASC/ACSS).
  • Integrate knowledge of human and cultural diversity in relation to psychotherapy practice (CRPO, CASC/ACSS).
  • Identify how clients’ cultural beliefs and values may inform treatment choices (CASC/ACSS).
  • Recognize the impact of power dynamics within the therapeutic relationship (CRPO).
  • Recognize how oppression, power and social injustice may affect the client and also the therapeutic process. Recognize barriers that may affect access to therapeutic services (CRPO).


  • Employ effective skills in observation of self, the client and the therapeutic process (CRPO).
  • Identify one’s own beliefs and cultural traditions and their influence on personhood and practice (CRPO, CASC/ACSS).
  • Develop cultural humility and competency through learning about the diversity of social location, cultural safety and human rights (CASC/ACSS).
  • Develop cultural humility and competency through learning about Indigenous peoples’ experience of colonization in Canada (CASC/ACSS).


  • Demonstrate awareness of the impact of the client’s context on the therapeutic process (CRPO).
  • Communicate in a manner appropriate to client’s developmental level and sociocultural identity (CRPO).
  • Demonstrate and promote inclusive behaviour and advocate for diverse cultural needs and practices (CASC/ACSS).
  • Collaboratively adapt the therapist’s approach when working with culturally diverse clients, using culturally-relevant resources (CRPO, CASC/ACSS).
  • Utilize reflection from cultural perspectives for the purpose of meaning-making with clients (CASC/ACSS).