Companion Guide

We are committed to making knowledge accessible to students, practitioners, and other educators in the helping professions through both low-cost commercial and free open-source resources to optimize accessibility. We also believe that learning is optimized through the additional of learning activities that draw on a multimedia format, integrate learner-driven processes, and activate critical thinking, cognitive complexity, and reflective practice.

Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Counselling

Teaching and Learning Guide

by Sandra Collins

ISBN: 978-0-9738085-5-1

Click here to access this resource

This teaching and learning guide has been created to accompany the e-book, Embracing Cultural Responsivity and Social Justice: Re-Shaping Professional Identity in Counselling Psychology. The guide contains experiential learning activities drawing on creative, multimedia, interactive, and arts-based applied practice, exploratory, and self-reflective processes. These learning activities are designed for use in both online and face-to-face environments. They include self-study, partner, and group activities as well as class discussion prompts. The teaching and learning guide is free and open-source. It is provided in web format for easy access. A sample learning activity is provided below.

The bio-psycho-social-cultural-systemic metatheoretical framework

A number of metatheoretical models have been proposed as organizational frameworks for a transdisciplinary and transtheoretical approach to case conceptualization. Engel (1977) proposed the bio-psycho-social model as an alternative to the medical or disease model, which dominated the health disciplines at that time. Sulmasy (2002) then introduced the modification, bio-psycho-social-spiritual, to emphasize the importance of spirituality to health and well-being. The CRSJ counselling model positions cultural and systemic as two additional elements of a broad metatheoretical framework for case conceptualization. Spirituality included in the broad definition of culture (i.e., ethnicity, ability, gender, gender identity, social class, age, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation) advocated in CRSJ counselling. Hilty (2015) proposed repositioning Engel’s original model as bio-psycho-social-cultural in recognition of the influence of culture, broadly defined, on health care. The video below proposes a bio-psycho-social-cultural-systemic lens to ensure application of a contextualized/systemic lens to counselling practice.

Choose a presenting concern that you might anticipate encountering in counselling, or reflect on conversations with a current client. Apply the bio-psycho-social-cultural-systemic framework, imagining possible influences on case conceptualization from within each of these dimensions.


Instructors and course developers are welcome to link to, copy, revise, or repurpose these activities within the boundaries of the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons license. You must cite the author of a particular activity when you use this material, and you may not reproduce any of it for commercial purposes.

Course Development Support

Learning outcomes have been articulated for each of the key concepts in the CRSJ counselling model. These key concepts are organized under the 6 domains and 18 core competencies of the model for ease of integration of the e-book and the teaching and learning guide into courses. Drawing on the e-book, Embracing Cultural Responsivity and Social Justice: Re-Shaping Professional Identity in Counselling Psychology, curriculum developers or course instructors can simply (a) choose the domains and competencies most appropriate for their course; (b) choose the specific key concepts they want to address; (c) integrate the learning outcomes related to those key concepts; (d) use the e-book for definitions, grounding in the professional literature, theoretical and conceptual foundations, and applied practice examples; and then drawing on the companion teaching and learning guide, (e) link to, copy, or adapt the corresponding learning activities. Check out the video below that describes the CRSJ model in Chapter 2.

The key concepts featured in the conceptual and applied practice chapters in Embracing Cultural Responsivity and Social Justice: Re-Shaping Professional Identity in Counselling Psychology are supported through a comprehensive glossary at the end of the e-book. This enhanced, interactive glossary allows learners to explore these concepts in detail as well as to examine critically the interface among them. You can preview the enhanced, interactive glossary through the video below.

There is increased recognition that cultural responsivity and social justice cannot be confined to a single course in counsellor education programs. Instead, students are most likely to enhance their competency if these principles and practices are infused throughout the curriculum. The e-book Embracing Cultural Responsivity and Social Justice: Re-Shaping Professional Identity in Counselling Psychology and the CRSJ counselling model were designed with the explicit intent of infusing this content across the curriculum of the Master of Counselling program at Athabasca University. The e-book content could be covered in a stand-alone 13-week course on multicultural counselling and social justice. However, it could also be used across a graduate program with content related to professional identity and ethics (Domain III), relational practices (Domain IV), case conceptualization (Domain V), and change processes (Domain VI) revisited or infused into ethics, counselling skills, assessment, and interventions courses respectively.

Consult on your course design

Consultation is available for instructors and course designers about how to integrate the featured e-book with specific learning activities from the teaching and learning guide. Please to contact Sandra at

Contribute a Learning Activity

The teaching and learning guide is a work in progress, and we welcome new contributions. If you have an idea for a learning activity that you would like to contribute, please contact Sandra at

Student Perspectives

Benefits of the e-book and the companion guide learning activities

  • Exposed me to a variety of voices and perspectives
  • Provided a conceptual framework through the core competencies and domains
  • Enhanced my learning through multimedia (i.e., images, audio, video)
  • Encouraged me to explore myself as a cultural being
  • Offered meaningful applied practice vignettes and case studies
  • Invited me into essential critical thinking and reflective practice
  • Allowed me to sit with my discomfort
  • Challenged my biases and assumptions