An Exploration of Canadian Multicultural and Social Justice Training: Centring the Voices of Minoritized Students

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The Canadian discipline of counselling psychology has taken leadership in inciting change in the broader field of professional psychology—striving to adopt innovative multicultural (MC) and social justice (SJ) orientations and training. At the same time, most Canadian research that examines MC and SJ training relies on the experiences of participants who hold multiple dominant identities and social locations. While more recent MC and SJ scholarship has included an exploration of culture, there is still limited focus on non-dominant cultural influences outside of race and ethnicity. Hence, there is a lack of research that investigates MC and SJ training using a culturally inclusive perspective—one that recognizes the intersectionality and multiplicity of identities. This dissertation explores the perspectives of MC and SJ training from the standpoints of culturally non-dominant students, using an inclusive lens (e.g., those identities that are minoritized by dominant discourses and structures). This body of work offers a path to refocus Canadian counselling psychology towards culturally responsive and socially just training and research practices. Consisting of three linked manuscripts, which employ a feminist lens as a guiding framework, this research makes several contributions to research and practice. First, in Manuscript I, I explore current ways in which MC and SJ training are understood and taken up by counselling psychology graduate students. Second, in Manuscript II, I examine how a pluralistic approach that adopts a feminist standpoint theory epistemology to guide an interpretative phenomenological analysis method can provide a meaningful framework to conduct research with minoritized communities, offering suggestions for working through philosophical and methodological considerations that arise from this integration. Lastly, in Manuscript III, I explore the standpoints of eight culturally non-dominant counselling psychology doctoral students with respect to MC and SJ training in Canada to examine the following research question: How do counselling psychology doctoral students who self-identify with culturally non-dominant identities perceive their experiences of MC and SJ training? This body of work highlights unique aspects of culturally non-dominant students’ experiences, provides meaningful recommendations to advance MC and SJ training, and informs future pedagogical and methodological approaches in the Canadian field of counselling psychology.
Social Justic, Multiculturalism, Training, Non-Dominant Cultural Identities, Feminist Standpoint Theory, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, Canada, Reflexivity
Cohen, J. A. (2020). An Exploration of Canadian Multicultural and Social Justice Training: Centring the Voices of Minoritized Students (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from