Enhanced, Interactive Glossary (SAMPLE)

Embracing Cultural Responsivity and Social Justice: Re-Shaping Professional Identity in Counselling Psychology

Sandra Collins

This enhanced glossary is designed to do more than provide a short definition of key terms. It makes explicit the connection of the key concepts in the culturally responsive and socially just (CRSJ) counselling model in Chapter 1 to the formative and current professional literature in counselling and psychology. Some of the contributing writers have added definitions to this glossary, and their contributions have been supplemented by a thorough review of the current literature on multicultural counselling and social justice. I hope you find this glossary useful to understanding the key concepts referenced throughout the e-book as well as the relationship of those concepts to the research, theoretical, and conceptual writings of professional colleagues in counselling psychology and other disciplines.

Use the search function to find a specific key a or click on the alphabet below to move more quickly to a particular section of the glossary. Where other contributors have provided content, it is referenced through links back to their chapters in this e-book. You will notice that many of the terms in the glossary are cross-linked to other concepts illustrating the interconnectedness of these ideas within the CRSJ counselling model.


(NOTE: The enhanced, interactive glossary contains over 280 key concepts related to CRSJ counselling practice; it is about 45,000 words in length and is extensively referenced. Only 4 definitions are provided here as samples. Within each definition, other key terms are linked to allow students to move through the glossary in a nonlinear manner based on their specific learning needs. On this sample page, most links have been removed, because the other key terms are not available for cross-linking. Notice that if you click on the key concept title, you will be taken to the place it appears in the expanded CRSJ model in Chapter 1.)


Cultural competency

Cultural competency is not a destination or an outcome; it is an ongoing process of reflective practice and engagement with our clients that fosters cultural responsivity and social justice. Although I use the term cultural competency in this e-book, the CRSJ counselling model and other current competency models are based on the premise that culture and social justice are inextricably intertwined (Ratts et al., 2016), and increasing over the past 15 years, social justice competency has been seen as foundational to professional practice (Arthur & Collins, 2015a; Pettifor, 2010; Vera & Speight, 2003). Although multicultural competence has traditionally focused on the development of attitudes, knowledge, and skills for working with clients from culturally diverse backgrounds, some argue that too little attention has been focused on the doing of counselling, rather than on the way of being with clients (Hook, Watkins et al., 2016). CRSJ counselling is a more strongly relational model, and centralizes the process of cultural engagement with the client (Hook, Watkins et al., 2016). Cultural competency from a CRSJ counselling perspective involves critical attention to client and counsellor cultural identities and social locations, purposeful development of an egalitarian, client-centred therapeutic relationship, and constructive collaboration with clients in culturally responsive and socially just case conceptualization and change processes. This process-orientated approach to cultural competency is grounded the concept of cultural humility; competency requires an ability to step outside one’s own worldview and to orient to the worldview of the client moment-by-moment (Hook, Davis, Owen, Worthington, & Utsey, 2013). Truscott and Crook (2013) emphasized that competency generally required diligence on the part of practitioners; cultural competency specifically necessitates persistent, purposeful self-reflection on both client and counsellor cultural identities and social locations.

Cultural humility

♣Cultural humility is “a process of self-reflection to understand personal and systemic biases and to develop and maintain respectful processes and relationships based on mutual trust. Cultural humility involves humbly acknowledging oneself as a learner when it comes to understanding another’s experience” (First Nations Health Authority, n.d., Definitions, para. 2). This two-fold focus on both intrapersonal and interpersonal dimensions of humility is mirrored in the counselling psychology literature, with the additional caveat that humility requires us to be other-oriented rather than self-oriented (Davis, Worthington, & Hook, 2010; Hook et al., 2013). Cultural humility involves setting aside one’s own cultural assumptions and embracing the client’s perspectives (Hook, Farrell et al., 2016). Humility is a core value in Indigenous views of health and healing (Fellner et al., 2016). Cultural humility forms an essential balance to the concept of cultural competency. Cultural humility is supported by challenging our own ethnocentricity and cultural biases and assumptions (Hook, Farrell et al., 2016), positioning ourselves in a not-knowing stance, and grounding our practices in social justice values.

Cultural responsivity

The term responsivity means literally the degree to which the response (or output) is influenced by a stimuli (input). This term is often used without clear definition in the counselling literature (e.g., Bemak & Chung, 2017; Ratts et al., 2015). In the CRSJ counselling model, I consider cultural responsivity to be a broad measure of the degree to which the counsellor and the counselling process are reflective of, and influenced by, the cultural identities, worldviews, and social locations of the client. Cultural sensitivity forms a foundation for cultural responsivity, because a counsellor must first understand and appreciate, and then speak and act in response to, the needs, perspectives, and values of the client (Paré, 2013). In the Multicultural and Social Justice Competencies of the American Counseling Association (Ratts et al., 2015), emphasis is placed on action as central to competency development. Cultural responsivity may be evidenced on many levels in counselling. Paré (2013), for example, speaks of conversational responsivity as choosing both specific words and following particular pathways in the dialogue based on careful attention to what the client says and what they bring forward in the conversation. Paré and Sutherland (2016) define relational responsiveness as the need for counsellors to look to the conversational exchange with each client for evidence of what is needed in the moment (e.g., relevant knowledge, relational stance, change processes). I align with Paré and Sutherland in advocating a “discovery-orientated therapeutic posture” (p. 193), which involves a willingness to shift and morph in both relational approach and counselling processes in response to observations of, or direct feedback from, the client (i.e., practice-based evidence).


Reflective practice

Self-awareness of values, assumptions, beliefs, biases, and cultural lenses is the foundation to both early (Arredondo et al., 1996; Sue et al., 1992; Sue et al., 1982) and current (Ratts et al., 2015, 2016) models of multicultural and social justice competency. One of the primary ways of enhancing self-awareness is through reflective practice, which requires us to expand our focus from what is happening outside of ourselves as we interact with clients to include what is happening in our inner world, moment-by-moment (Collins et al., 2010; Coulson & Homewood, 2016). Building on the seminal work of Schön (1983, 1987), Wong-Wylie (2007) coined the term reflection-on-self-in/on-action to capture three important dimensions of reflexivity: (a) reflection on self, (b) reflection on practice, and (c) reflection on self and practice both in the moment (in-action) and retrospectively (on-action). Paré and Sutherland (2016) emphasize that critical reflection involves attention to dominant discourses that may mask or pathologize client perspectives and forefronting co-constructed “knowledge that arises within that conversation” between counsellor and client (p. 190).



Enhanced, Interactive Glossary (SAMPLE) Copyright © 2018 by Sandra Collins. All Rights Reserved.

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