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

Sandra Collins

E-Book Author/Editor

Sandra Collins, PhD, RPsych

I write from the perspective of a lesbian, a cisgender woman, a person with an invisible disability, and an athiest. I am also positioned by European heritage, settler relationship to colonization, middle class status, and near retirement age in a privileged social location. I am a professor of counselling psychology in the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology, Faculty of Health Disciplines at Athabasca University. I have focused my research, writing, and teaching, over the length of my career, on multicultural counselling and social justice with specific attention to working with LGBTTQI persons, women, and girls. I have also specialized in the area of counsellor education, in particular, online and blended delivery. Currently, I am a curriculum lead within our faculty, and I am working with my colleagues to infuse the focus on culture and social justice throughout our Masters of Counselling program. I have been publishing books and journal articles on multicultural counselling and social justice for the past 20 years. I aspire to spend more of my time painting and engaged in other creative projects!

Professional Editor

L. Chris Fox, PhD

I worked primarily as a queer feminist, and union social justice activist and an engineering assistant before finishing a Ph.D. in English at the University of Victoria where my research focussed significantly on intersectional postmodern Canadian literature. I have taught academic writing and literature at Simon Fraser, Victoria, and Royal Roads universities. My business, Fox Edits (, specializes in editing academic work for publication. I have published as an activist in alternative periodicals and as an academic in scholarly journals and literary magazines. I live in Victoria with my partner of 38 years, author Arleen Paré; our children and grandchildren live in Vancouver.

Contributing Writers

I am deeply grateful to all of my colleagues who have contributed commentaries to elucidate key concepts, case studies based on their client work, stories of their practice experiences, and conceptual or theoretical reflections. All of these contributions are designed to help you imagine how to apply the culturally responsive and socially just (CRSJ) counselling model in work with individual clients, families, organizations, communities, and broader systems. Their contributions of clients’ stories and descriptions of how they have engaged in culturally responsive and socially just relationships, case conceptualizations, and change processes in collaboration with those clients bring to life the benefits of practice based on the CRSJ counselling model.

Cristelle Audet, PhD

I am an associate professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education. I was previously president of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association’s Social Justice Chapter and have been involved with the association’s Ethics Committee since 2010. Devoted to promoting counselling and psychotherapy practices informed by social justice values, I co-edited Counseling and Social Justice: Discourse in Practice (Routledge, 2018), authored a chapter on social justice for the Handbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy in Canada, and conduct and supervise research that focuses on forefronting under-represented voices of counselling clients.

Adrienne Carter, MSW, RCSW

Co-founder of the Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees (VICCIR), I am a psychotherapist with over 40 years of local and international experience. I have 24 years experience working with Victoria Child & Youth Mental Health and extensive international experience working with survivors of torture, war, and natural disasters through Doctors Without Borders/Médicins Sans Frontieres (15 deployments) as well as the Centre for Victims of Torture in Kenya and Jordan. I have extensive capacity building experience in the area of refugee mental health and have led numerous trainings on this subject both locally and internationally.

Jeff Chang, PhD, RPsych

I am Chinese Canadian man, born in Vancouver at the trailing edge of the baby boom. I am an associate professor in the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology at Athabasca University. I also work as a therapist and clinical supervisor at Calgary Family Therapy Centre and maintain a private practice. My work as a researcher, a clinical supervisor, a psychologist, an advocate, and a workshop presenter-trainer intersect in my interest in improving services for families immersed in high-conflict separation and divorce. I am also passionate about clinical supervision, children’s and school-based mental health (the subject of my chapter in this e-book), and postmodern therapeutic approaches like narrative and solution-focused therapy.

Judy Chew, PhD, RPsych

I am a registered psychologist and training coordinator at the University of Calgary’s Counselling Centre as well as an adjunct associate professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. My professional experiences and scholarly endeavors include supervision, training, and clinical work related to trauma/abuse, grief and loss, relationship concerns, and family-of-origin work. I was a recipient of the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta “Excellence in Supervision Award.” I use counselling perspectives that enhance emotional, social, spiritual, and physical well-being. I place value on understanding multiple identities and their interplay in an individual’s experience of challenges and choices. I serve as a manuscript reviewer for the Canadian Journal of Counselling and an editorial board member for the American Psychological Association (APA) journal, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. I have published in the areas of grief, supervision, and trauma.

Karen Cook, PhD, RCC, RN

I am an assistant professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University. I am also a nurse, researcher, and family therapist. I have worked with children and families managing chronic and palliative conditions across many settings and roles. My current research and practice is focused on developing a public health approach to care for young adults with life-limiting conditions. When they leave pediatric care, young adults with life-limiting conditions no longer receive coordinated health and community services that anticipate and manage their unpredictable disease trajectories, co-ordinate social services, and support their pursuit of meaningful activities. A palliative approach to care aims to develop collaborative partnerships across community and professional agencies to ensure that timely and seamless resources are available to support not only health, but also personal, social, vocational and educational goals. Working with a team of young adults, we have launched L3: Let’s Live a Little! to develop these supports in British Columbia, Canada.

Ivana Djuraskovic, PhD, RPsych

I am a registered psychologist in Alberta Health Services in Calgary, Alberta. I have extensive training and experience counselling refugees and immigrants, and individuals who are struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, personality disorders, and other clinical issues. I work with diverse populations, and I supervise Masters and Ph.D. practicum students. I have published in peer-reviewed journals and books. I have presented my research at both national and international conferences, and I received the Canadian Psychological Association Dissertation Award for my doctoral dissertation. My research interests include acculturation, cultural identity reconstruction, refugee counselling, refugee women’s issues, and cross-cultural transitions. Currently, I am a permanent adjunct faculty at City University of Seattle (Calgary Campus), and a sessional instructor at Athabasca University, Yorkville University, and St. Mary’s University College. In my free time, I read, spend time with my husband and son, ski, and ride a motorcycle. I enjoy nature, new places, and “growing” my home library.

Emily Doyle, PhD, RPsych

I am a registered psychologist, family therapist, and supervisor at the Calgary Family Therapy Centre, and an academic coordinator and instructor for the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology. From my positions of academic, white, and cisgender privilege, I’m drawn to approaches to therapy and research that trouble the taken-for-granted in the institutional organization of our practices in counselling individuals and families. These include institutional ethnography, narrative therapy, systemic family therapy, and other social constructionist ways to look at my looking to see what I’m seeing.

Riel Dupuis-Rossi (Kanien’kehá:ka and Algonquin), MA, MSW, RSW

I am a Two Spirit person of the Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk), Algonquin and Italian descent. I currently work as a psychotherapist with urban Indigenous adults in an Indigenous-specific counselling program in Unceded Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver, BC). I have also worked in Indigenous organizations in Montreal, QC and in community-based clinics in Los Angeles, CA, where the largest concentration of urban Indigenous people in the US live. My clinical and academic specializations are in indigenous historical trauma, intergenerational and direct residential school trauma, and complex trauma. A central aspect of my work is to decolonize and Indigenize individual, couple, family and group trauma therapy.

Andrew Estefan, PhD, RPN

I am a registered psychiatric nurse in the province of Alberta and an associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. Before coming to Canada, I practiced and taught in the United Kingdom and Australia. My practice and research focus upon the intersections of mental health and human sexuality. In particular, I have interests in self-harm, eating disorders, and trauma. These interests have arisen from my practice as well as through my own particular gay male lens on experience. My doctoral work used narrative inquiry to explore the moral dimensions of self-harm in same-sex attracted men. Since this time, I have maintained a strong interest in how self-harm is enacted and how it is responded to therapeutically. My research also extends into understanding the complexities of the relationship between sexuality and mental health in experiences of physical disease.

Faye Gosnell, MC, RPsych

I am a registered psychologist in Alberta. I have worked in both public and private clinical settings, in teaching assistant roles at Athabasca University and the University of Calgary, and in organizational roles as the mental health coordinator at Athabasca University. I find it difficult to position myself using the identity labels available. I am a clear beneficiary of white privilege, but my other cultural identities (such as single mother) confer less privilege. As such, I am always alert to the cultural identifications clients and students privilege for themselves, as well as the meanings they draw from these identifications. My curiosity in this regard is supported by family systems, constructivist, and social constructionist lenses. These allow me to view persons-in-relationships as dynamic and evolving entities with multiple possibilities available for change in preferred directions.

Lisa Gunderson, PhD, RCC

I am the founder of One Love Consulting and an award-winning educator and equity consultant for families, educational, and organizational institutions. Under OLC, I am a registered clinical counsellor and intern supervisor at LÁU, WELNEW Elementary Tribal School in British Columbia. In 2017, I became the part-time associate program director for the CityU Seattle, Masters of Counselling program in Victoria. I received my Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Southern California, and for the past 20 years, have focused on multicultural issues for racialized populations, including ethnic identity in the US and Canada. Prior to immigrating to Canada seven years ago, I was a tenured professor of psychology and a licensed California psychologist. I live in Victoria with my partner and two children. I am of Jamaican ancestry and grew up primarily throughout the United Sates and Jamaica. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, travelling, baking, and watching movies.

Taya Henriques, MC, RCC, MTA

I work as a clinical counsellor/therapist with the Fraser Health Authority in Langley, British Columbia. My primary clinical interests are mental health advocacy and counselling individuals, couples, and families from a family systems perspective. I am a graduate of the Athabasca University Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology (GCAP) program, where I first began researching and writing on counsellor bias with consensually nonmonogamous clients. I am also an accredited music therapist (MTA), and I hold a certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Living Systems Counselling.

Mateo Huezo, MC

I am a clinical counsellor, activist, researcher, writer, and teacher. I am actively involved across various projects focused on queer, trans, and ethnoracial group mental health, research, education, and advocacy. I believe in shifting the narratives about nondominant cultural experiences from one of disprivilege to one that centres minority voice as a source of strength, identity, and resilience. Check out the e-book I created for the trans community, based on my masters research: The trans community says . . .

Kirby Huminuik, PhD, RCC

I hold a PhD in Counselling Psychology and work as a counsellor, consultant, researcher, and university instructor. My clinical practice and scholarship is focused on the intersection between mental health and human rights. I earned the Global Mental Health Certificate from Harvard Medical School in 2014, and I have been responsible for international psychosocial human rights projects funded by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture and the Canadian International Development Agency. I provided consultation, program development, and professional training services for the Province of British Columbia in preparation for Syrian refugees arrival in 2016. I am currently the lead researcher for a pilot study on trauma-informed therapy service for refugees in collaboration with the Immigrant Services Society of BC and the Vancouver General Hospital Cross-cultural Psychiatry Program. I also serve as a member of the APA task force on Human Rights, which is charged with producing a report advising APA on strategic directions in its engagement in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Naida D. Hyde, PhD

I grew up in white suburban Toronto, graduated from the University of Toronto School of Nursing in 1964 and found my calling when I worked in the local mental hospital. I graduated in 1970 from Boston College as a clinical specialist in psychiatric nursing and joined their graduate faculty. I then fell in love with an African American woman and came out as a lesbian. I returned to Canada, graduated from University of Windsor with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1975, and became a Registered Psychologist specializing in psychotherapy with women incest survivors in 1977. Later, my then partner and I ran a women’s healing centre, RavenSpirit. At the age of 65, I was invited to go to Lesotho, in southern Africa, to do gender equity work with girls and women. I fell in love with the people of that beautiful mountain kingdom and returned annually for five more years. I am now part of a daily online creative writing group, and I am surprising myself by writing poetry and luxuriating in this new gift.

Melissa Jay, PhD Candidate, RPsych

I am a Métis woman of Cree ancestry who grew up without awareness of Métis culture or the cultural injustices directed at Indigenous people. As a psychologist and university and yoga/mindfulness instructor, I have a keen interest in authenticity, well-being and relationships. I am spiritual and deeply connected to others through compassion. My mission is to empower compassionate souls to love themselves unconditionally. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan, my Masters of Counselling degree at Athabasca University, and I am a Ph.D. candidate, currently completing my dissertation at Walden University. My research is focused on women’s experiences of mindfulness in romantic relationships. My spouse and I have a private practice in Canmore, Alberta where I also provide Yoga Psychology workshops and retreats.

Jo Anni Joncas, Ph.D.

Je suis une femme franco-canadienne. Je détiens un doctorat en éducation. Mes intérêts concernent la sociologie de l’éducation, la justice sociale, les études supérieures et les politiques éducatives. Je travaille avec les Premiers Peuples depuis près d’une décennie dans une visée de décolonisation des systèmes éducatifs.

I am a French-Canadian woman, with a doctoral degree in education. I am interested in the sociology of education, social justice, higher education, and educational policy. I have been working with First Peoples in Quebec for almost a decade with the aim of decolonizing school systems.

E. Fisher Lavell, MEd, PMCC, CCC

After many years in school counselling, I have opened a private therapy practice in Northern Manitoba, where I use my working class and Indigenous cultural knowledges to work effectively with many client groups. Particular areas of expertise are authentic relationship-building with poor and disadvantaged clients; supporting and advising parents, children, and families; overcoming anxiety, school refusal, and destructive anger; and processing trauma, loss, and grieving.

Heather Macdonald, PhD, RPsych

I am a registered psychologist and clinical fellow with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy currently employed as an associate director and internship coordinator at City University. I have been working with at-risk children and teens for the last 20 years. I opened my own private practice 12 years ago and, more recently, completed my PhD in Clinical Psychology. I bring an understanding of child and adolescent development, supervisory and management experience, teaching/training facilitation experience, and a wealth of knowledge in connecting with children and teenagers about their educational and socioemotional needs. My own personal journey with learning disability gives me an inside view of what children experience in their day-to-day academic journeys. Using my own journey to find an optimal learning and healing environment, I discovered the importance of secure attachment, of having an environment where the brain is allowed to change and grow, and of families, communities, and governments working together.

Marie-Odile Magnan, Ph.D.

Je suis sociologue de l’éducation et professeure agrégée au Département d’administration et fondements de l’éducation de l’Université de Montréal. Je possède un doctorat en sociologie de l’Université Laval. Je coordonne le champ « Éducation et socialisation » à l’Observatoire Jeunes et Société (INRS-UCS). Mes intérêts de recherche portent sur l’analyse des enjeux ethnoculturels et linguistiques en éducation. Mes recherches portent sur les pratiques d’équité et d’inclusion du personnel scolaire en milieu pluriethnique. Je travaille également sur les parcours identitaires, scolaires et postsecondaires des jeunes issus de groupes minoritaires et racisés.

I am an educational sociologist and associate professor in the Department of Administration and Educational Foundations at the Université de Montréal. My research interests focus on the analysis of ethnocultural and linguistic issues in education, equity and inclusion of school staff in multiethnic settings, and identity and educational-career pathways of young people from minority and racialized groups.

Judi Malone, PhD, RPsych

In my role as CEO of the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta I facilitate relationships and engage social media in advocacy to both strengthen the profile of psychology and for the critical issue of access. Hailing from rural northeastern Alberta, I have a passion for contexts of practice and am humbled to self-identify as both a colonizer and one of the colonized in Canada’s landscape. My scientist-practitioner experience hails from clinical practice and academic roles working with disadvantaged populations. I have dual registration in Alberta and Australia and clinical expertise in trauma, the neurobiology of addictions, and professional ethics in rural and small communities; I have been an instructor for Athabasca University since 2000.

Stephanie Martin, PhD, RPsych

I earned my PhD in counselling psychology from the University of Calgary, Alberta. I am a registered doctoral psychologist, associate professor and graduate chair in the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education, University of Saskatchewan. My areas of professional interest include theories and practice of counselling and psychotherapy, ethics, qualitative research methodology, psychology of women and gender, healing from interpersonal trauma, and professional development and well-being.

Simon Nuttgens, PhD, RPsych

I am an associate professor with Athabasca University’s Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology. My areas of research interest include counselling ethics, postmodern approaches to counselling, paternal absence, and First Nations mental health. I served two years as chair of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Ethics Complaints Committee and three years as chair of the Athabasca University Research Ethics Board. I have written and presented extensively in the area of professional ethics. I provide counselling, supervision, and consultation services for a nonprofit multiservice agency in Penticton, BC.

David Paré, PhD, CPsych

I am the director of the Glebe Institute, A Centre for Constructive and Collaborative Practice in Ottawa. I am a registered psychologist and an adjunct faculty member in Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa. I am the author of The Practice of Collaborative Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2013), and co-editor of Counseling and Social Justice: Discourse in Practice (Routledge, 2018); Collaborative Practice in Psychology and Therapy (Haworth Press, 2004); and Furthering Talk: Advances in the Discursive Therapies (Kluwer Academic/ Plenum Press, 2004).

Annie Pilote, PhD

Je suis professeure titulaire à la Faculté des sciences de l’éducation de l’Université Laval. Sociologue de l’éducation, je m’intéresse aux parcours éducatifs des jeunes et à l’analyse des systèmes scolaires et des dispositifs d’orientation. Mes recherches en cours portent notamment sur les inégalités à l’enseignement supérieur selon l’origine sociale et ethnoculturelle des étudiants.

I am a full professor in the Faculty of Education Sciences at the University of Laval. As an educational sociologist, I am interested in the educational pathways of young people and the analysis of school systems and guidance systems. My current research focuses on inequalities in higher education based on the social and ethnocultural background of students.

Mahdi Qasqas, MC, RPsych

I am a registered psychologist and head of Q&A Psychological Services. Along with my team, I strive to help clients overcome the cultural, language, and financial barriers to timely and culturally responsive services. I have worked both professionally and probono with a range of organizations, including but not limited to, Child and Family Services, Corrections Canada, Alberta Health Services, and many other nonprofit and Islamic organizations, including most mosques across Alberta. My international work has involved countries including Germany, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the US. I am currently completing my Ph.D. with the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Social Work, with a focus on enhancing the motivation and satisfaction of volunteer leaders.

Allison Reeves, PhD, RPsych

I am a registered psychologist and a faculty member in Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies at the University of Victoria. My research interests are in the areas of anti-oppressive psychologies, sexualized trauma recovery, and Indigenous healing. My doctoral research and Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto were funded through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and explored culture-based Indigenous mental health and healing services for individuals recovering from sexualized violence in Anishnawbe communities. I spent the last five years in Toronto working as the psychologist on staff at Anishnawbe Health Toronto, and in a forensic psychology role supporting sexualized assault survivors in civil litigation suits.

Vikki Reynolds, PhD, RCC

I am an activist/therapist who works to bridge the worlds of social justice activism with community work and therapy. I am a white settler of Irish, Newfoundland and English folks and a heterosexual woman with cisgender privilege. My experience includes supervision and therapy with peers and other workers responding to the opioid epidemic/poisonings, refugees and survivors of torture, sexualized violence counsellors, mental health and substance misuse counsellors, housing and shelter workers, and activists, working alongside gender and sexually diverse communities. I am an adjunct professor, and I have written and presented internationally on the subjects of witnessing resistance to oppression/trauma, ally work, justice-doing, and supervision of solidarity, ethics, and innovative group work. My articles and keynotes are available free on my website.

Fatima Saleem, RSW, CCC

I am a Canadian certified counsellor and a registered social worker with over five years of successful experience as an educator, researcher, counsellor, and community programs coordinator. My main interests are mental health and social well-being of youth, newcomers, and refugee populations. I believe in the innate strengths and abilities of my clients and empower them on their path to recovery and healing.

Gina Wong, PhD, RPsych

I am an associate professor in the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology at Athabasca University. I am dedicated to galvanizing maternal mental health and wellness endeavours in Canada for women in the perinatal period of life. I am certified with Postpartum Support International and have trained in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) in advanced clinical skills. I have authored/edited three books: Counsellor Know Thyself: Growing Ourselves, Shaping our Professional Practice (Wong, 2010); Moms Gone Mad: Motherhood and Madness Oppression and Resistance (Wong, 2012); and Mothering in East Asian Communities: Politics and Practices (Duncan & Wong, 2014); and have developed the PMAD educational curriculum for the Baby Box University. In my passion for parent-child relational well-being, I research an early parenting intervention program, and have trained as a Circle of Security® Parenting educator, and conduct Circle of Security assessment and treatment planning. I also serve as an expert witness in maternal filicide cases in Canada.

Don Zeman, PhD, RPsych

I am a registered psychologist in Alberta. I have been a healthcare professional for over 28 years, first as a chiropractor (11 years), then as a sport mental trainer/sport psychologist, becoming a counsellor and psychologist most recently. Before that I was a professional figure skater and did about 5,000 performances in pair and solo skating in over 50 countries. These experiences contribute to my current social constructionist, queer, and feminist perspectives, which I bring into my teaching and counselling. Currently, I am an instructor with three online Masters of Counselling programs and an adjunct associate professor in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. I am intrigued by, and curious about, how we use language, receive it, and take it up in counselling conversations and our lives.


Contributors Copyright © 2018 by Sandra Collins. All Rights Reserved.

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