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COCO 707: Multicultural Aspects of Counseling




This course will increase students’ awareness of their cultural values and biases. The course is designed to increase knowledge about how race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, and social class impact self and the counseling relationship as well as to survey appropriate multicultural intervention strategies.

COCO 701

At times, students may disclose personal information through class discussions.  It is expected that the class will respect the privacy of their classmates.  The information disclosed in the class will not be repeated or discussed with other students outside of the course.

1.    Students will increase awareness about how their own cultural background, experiences, belief system, worldview, attitudes, values and biases influence the counseling process [CACREP STD: B2, A7, E1]
2.    Students will gain knowledge about the complexity of culture and its effect on the client/counselor relationship [CACREP STD: B3, B4, A7, E1] 
3.    Students will understand the impact of privilege and oppression on multicultural dyads [CACREP STD: A7, A8, E1]
4.    Students will become aware of important trends and issues in the field of multicultural counseling in school and mental health settings [CACREP STD: B1, B9]
5.    Students will gain knowledge about the relationship between multicultural counseling and ethical and legal considerations [CACREP STD: A8, B6]
6.    Students will survey culturally responsive intervention strategies for culturally diverse clients in school and mental health settings[CACREP STD: B3, B5]

This class includes lectures, class discussion, and small group activities.

Ponterotto, J.G., Utsey, S.O., & Pedersen, P.B. (2006). Preventing Prejudice: A guide for counselors, educators, and parents. (2nd Edition). Sage Publications

Akamatsu, N.N. (1998).  The talking oppression blues: Including the experience of
power/powerlessness in the teaching of cultural sensitivity. In Monica McGoldrick’s (Ed.) Revisioning family therapy: Race, culture, and gender in clinical practice. New York: The Guilford Press, pp. 129-144.

Buckley, T. & Carter, R. T., (2004), Biracial (Black/White) women: A qualitative study of racial attitudes and beliefs and their implications for therapy.

Colon, F. Ch. 15 The discovery of my multicultural identity. Cultural Legacies.

Helms, J.E. & Cook, D.A. (1999). Using race and culture in counseling and psychotherapy: Theory and process. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Ch 4. The sociopolitical histories of the original socioracial groups. Ch. 5. The sociopolitical histories of the culture-based socioracial groups.
Kliman, J. Social class as a relationship: Implications for family therapy

McIntosh, P. White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack

Mosher, C.M. (2001).  The social implications of sexual identity formation and the coming-out process: A review of the theoretical and empirical literature. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for couples and Families, 9(2), 164-173.

Robinson, T. L. The convergence of race, ethnicity, and gender: Multiple identities in counseling.

Yarhouse, M.A., Tan, E.S.N., Pawlowski, L.M. (2005).  Sexual identity development and
synthesis among LGB-Identified and LGB Dis-Identified persons.  Journal of Psychology
and Theology, 33(1)
, 3-16.

Atkinson, D.R. & Hackett, G. (2004).  Counseling diverse populations (3rd ed).

Diller, J. (2006). Cultural diversity: A primer for the human services. Brooks/Cole. Wadsowrth: An international Thompson publishing company.

Helms, J.E. & Cook, D. A. (1999).  Using race and culture in counseling and psychotherapy: Theory and process.  Boston, MA:  Allyn and Bacon.

Helms, J.E. (1991).  A race is a nice thing to have. Micro-training Associates Inc: Framingham, MA.

Kivel, P. (1996). Uprooting racism: How white people can work for racial justice. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.

Ponterrotto, J.G., Casas, J.M., Suzuki, L.A. & Alexander, C.M. (2004).  Handbook of multicultural counseling (4th ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Schmidt, J.J. (2005).  Social and cultural foundations of counseling and human services: Multiple influence son self-concept development. Pearson Education.

Sue, D.W. & Sue, D. (2003).  Counseling the culturally diverse:  Theory and practice (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Tatum, B.D. (1997).  Racial identity development and relational theory: The case of black women in white communities. In Judith Jordan’s (Ed.). Women’s growth in diversity: More writings from the stone center, pp. 91-106.


1.  Autobiographical Sketch (35%)
Each student is required to write an autobiographical sketch describing the development of his or her identity in each of the following five reference group identities: race, ethnicity, gender, social class, religion.  Because the goal of this assignment is to increase self understanding, students may complete multiple revisions of this assignment, after receiving feedback from the Professor. The sketch will be divided into two parts: Part I – race, ethnicity, social class; Part II – gender, religion.

2. Midterm Examination (25%)
Students will be responsible for material covered in class and assigned readings. The exam format will be multiple choice and short answer.

3. Clinical Presentations – (25%) Dates will be assigned
Each student will participate in a 20 minute group presentation on a multicultural topic. Students will be assigned to a group and each group will conduct a presentation about how to work with the multicultural issue. Groups should submit a one paragraph description of their topic by the third week of class.
4. Final Take-Home Paper (20%)
Students are required to complete a take-home paper that has two major components. Groups have many dynamics that are impacted by a variety of factors including power and privilege, competition, race, gender, etc. For this paper, students should consider: 1) how racial and cultural factors might have impacted interactions among group members, 2) how their own reference groups such as race, gender, social class, etc. impacted their reactions and beliefs about group members, 3) how their reference groups might have impacted other’s reactions to them.  This should be no more than 5 double spaced pages.  This paper integrates various aspects of the course and is essential for preparing to be a counselor in a multicultural society.


Grades will be calculated as follows:

Autobiographical Sketch 35%
Midterm Exam 25%
Clinical Presentation
Final Paper 20%
----------------------------- ----



The grading system used by Hunter College will be used for final grades:

487.5 – 500
= A+
462.5 – 487.4
= A
450 – 462
= A-
437.5 – 449.5 
412.5 – 437.0
= B
400.0 – 412.0
387.5 – 399.5
350.0 – 399
= C
< 350.00
= F

Students will be graded based on the scoring rubric provided. The grades are assigned according to the values published by the Hunter College Graduate catalog.


class #
TOPIC & assignment
1 Introduction to Course: Multicultural as 4th Wave in Counseling 2a, 2f, 5a, A7, A8
2 Prejudice, Power and Privilege – Part I
Reading Due: Text Ch. 1 & Ch. 2
Groups Assigned
1g, 2a, 2d, 5a, A7, A8
3 Power and Privilege – Part II
Reading Due: Text Ch. 3, Akamatsu, McIntosh
1g, 2a, 2d, 5a, A7, A8
4 Racial Identity and Counseling – Part I
Reading Due: Text Ch. 4, Kliman
2b, 2e, 5b, A7, A8
5 Racial Identity and Counseling – Part II
Reading Due: Text Ch. 5,6 (109-119) & 8
2b, 2e, 5a, A7, A8
6 Ethnic Identity and Social Class
Reading Due: Text Ch. , Colon,
Assignment: Group Topic

7 Color of Fear (video) – Part I
Assignment: Auto Part I - Due
2a, 5a
8 Color of Fear (video) – Part II 2a, 5a
9 Midterm Examination
10 Sexual Identity
Reading Due: Text Ch. 6 (120-127, Mosher, Yarhouse
2b, 5a, A7, A8
11 Gender Identity
Reading Due: Robinson, Buckley
2a, 5b, A7, A8
12 Case Presentations
Reading Due: Text Ch. 9
2b, 5a, A7, A8
13 Case Presentation
Reading Due: Text Ch. 10
2a, 5b, A7, A8
14 Case Presentations
Reading Due: Text Ch. 11
2a, 5b, A7, A8
15 Counselors Roles in Social Justice, Advocacy and Conflict Resolution
Assignment Due: Final Paper
1g, 2b, 2d, 2e, A7, A8


Expectations for Written Proficiency
Students must demonstrate consistently satisfactory written English in coursework. The Hunter College Writing Center provides tutoring to students across the curriculum and at all academic levels. For more information, see In addition, the Teacher Placement Office in the School of Education offers a writing workshop during the semester and a series of free writing classes are offered to students who are in need of additional support in improving their writing skills. In both cases, stop by room I000 West for information and dates of workshops.

Integrity and Plagiarism
Hunter College has subscribed to the online company, allows faculty to compare student papers with extensive databases of billions of documents in order to detect and verify material that has been plagiarized.  In this course, is used to deter students from plagiarizing material.  Please be aware that student papers will be examined from time to time.  Students who plagiarize will be punished. “Hunter College regards acts of academic dishonesty (e.g., plagiarism, cheating on examinations, obtaining unfair advantage, and falsification of records and official documents) as serious offenses against the values of intellectual honesty.  The college is committed to enforcing the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity and will pursue cases of academic dishonesty according to the Hunter College Academic Integrity Procedures.”

Statement of Reasonable Accomodation
In compliance with the American Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) and with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Hunter College is committed to ensuring educational parity and accommodations for all students with documented disabilities and/or medical conditions. It is recommended that all students with documented disabilities (Emotional, Medical, Physical and/ or Learning) consult the Office of AccessABILITY located in Room E1124 to secure necessary academic accommodations.  For further information and assistance please call (212- 772- 4857)/TTY (212- 650- 3230).

K.1.g g. advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients; and

K.2.a. history and philosophy of the counseling profession, including significant factors and events;

K.2.b. attitudes, beliefs, understandings, and acculturative experiences, including specific experiential learning activities;

K.2.d. counselors' roles in social justice, advocacy and conflict resolution, cultural self¬awareness, the nature of biases, prejudices, processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination, and other culturally supported behaviors that are detrimental to the growth of the human spirit, mind, or body;

K.2. e. theories of multicultural counseling, theories of identity development, and multicultural competencies; and

K.2.f. public and private policy processes, including the role of the professional counselor in advocating on behalf of the profession;

K.5.a. counselor and consultant characteristics and behaviors that influence helping processes including age, gender, and ethnic differences, verbal and nonverbal behaviors and personal characteristics, orientations, and skills;

K.5.b. an understanding of essential interviewing and counseling skills so that the student is able to develop a therapeutic relationship, establish appropriate counseling goals, design intervention strategies, evaluate client outcome, and successfully terminate the counselor-client relationship. Studies will also facilitate student self-awareness so that the counselor-client relationship is therapeutic and the counselor maintains appropriate professional boundaries;

A.7. the role of racial, ethnic, and cultural heritage, nationality, socioeconomic status, family structure, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious and spiritual beliefs, occupation, physical and mental status, and equity issues in school counseling;

A.8. knowledge and understanding of community, environmental, and institutional opportunities that enhance, as well as barriers that impede student academic, career, and personal/social success and overall development;

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