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Take a course in multicultural awareness and learn more about other cultures, diversity and the multicultural world we live in.

  • A 100 hour course in understanding other cultures and cultural diversity. 
  • Learn more about - working with different cultures, prejudice and racism, multicultural awareness, self-concept, contemporary counselling with different cultures. 



To develop your understanding of culture, diversity and multicultural society.


There are eight lessons in this module as follows: 

1. Cultural Diversity

  • Introduction
  • Defining culture
  • Elements of culture
  • Societal structures and processes
  • Subcultures
  • Key areas of cultural diversity
  • Cultural behaviour
  • Values
  • Social discourse
  • Ideology
  • Expectations
  • Problems 

2. Cultural Self-Awareness

  • Introduction
  • Defining cultural self
  • Environmental influences
  • Family or social group
  • Definitions of self
  • Psychological influences
  • Human nature
  • Personal autonomy
  • Socio economic and political influences
  • Emphasis or minimisation of cultural diversity
  • Code switching
  • Physical environmental influences

3. Prejudice and Racism

  • Introduction
  • Ingroups or outgroups
  • Ethnocentrism
  • What is prejudice
  • Functions of prejudice
  • How we measure prejudice
  • Theoretical perspectives on prejudice
  • Stereotypes
  • Functions of stereotypes
  • Dangers of using stereotypes
  • Discrimination
  • Social discrimination
  • Racism
  • Institutional or structural racism
  • Perception
  • Perceptual change
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Perceptual defence
  • Reducing prejudice
  • Changing stereotypes
  • Developing cultural sensitivity
  • Belonging to a dominant culture

4. Working with Culturally Different Clients

  • Introduction
  • Communicating across cultures
  • Principles of communication
  • Cultural differences
  • Communicating intimate information
  • The culturally skilled worker
  • Conformity
  • Factors affecting conformity

5. Barriers to Effective Multi-Cultural Relationships

  • Abnormality
  • The counsellor's culture
  • The clients culture
  • Individual differences
  • Cross cultural communication hurdles
  • Culture shock
  • Non verbal communication
  • Developing trust
  • Formal judgements
  • Culture and child development
  • Coping with change

6. Developing Cultural Competence

  • Introduction
  • Culturally competent service delivery
  • Culturally appropriate service
  • Culturally accessible service
  • Culturally acceptable service
  • Training for cultural change
  • Cross culture counselling in disaster situations
  • The role of family
  • Working with other cultures

7. Multicultural Mental Health Issues

  • Introduction
  • Problems with cultural difference in psychology
  • Cultural influences on mental health
  • Culture bound syndromes
  • Trance and possession disorder
  • Factors affecting grief and bereavement: social, psychological and cultural
  • influences

8.  Shortcomings of Contemporary Counselling Theories and Future Developments

  • Introduction
  • Culture shock
  • Stages in cultural shock and adjustment
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Treatments for culture distress
  • Successful intercultural adjustment 



  • Develop an awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity;
  • Explain the cultural awareness of the self through verbal and non-verbal means;
  • Explain the origins and influences of prejudice and racism;
  • Explain the impact of culture when working with culturally different clients;
  • Explain bias toward and barriers against effective multi-cultural relationships;
  • Explain the fundamentals of developing and implementing cultural competence;
  • Describe multi-cultural attitudes toward mental health issues.
DURATION   100 hours



  • Learn what is meant by the term ‘culture’, and different cultural groups;
  • Discuss ‘cultural diversity’ and identify problems associated with it;
  • Discuss ‘intra-cultural’ and ‘inter-cultural’ contact to managing cultural diversity;
  • Identify reasons that people and groups make intercultural contact;
  • Explore how we communicate non-verbally;
  • Identify ways (verbal and non-verbal) that we communicate our identification to a cultural group;
  • In what ways a minority culture influence a dominant culture;
  • Ways that people and groups adapt to other cultures;
  • Explain the term ‘individualism-collectivism’;
  • Define
  • Explore the role of stereotyping by a dominant culture in perceived discrimination by an immigrant community;
  • Discuss how prejudice and/or racism help a group or person feel more comfortable about other cultures;
  • Define ‘culture shock’;
  • Identify barriers to communication that exist in intercultural communication situations;
  • Identify strategies to ensure effective communication with a person from another culture;
  • Explore the influence of culture differences when providing helping or counselling services to clients;
  • Explore ways that people from different cultures deal with psychological or communication problems such as conflict, depression, mental health etc.


Cultural Behaviour is Dynamic

One must never forget that cultural groups are made up of individuals; and the behaviours and attitudes of those individuals will be continually evolving.

Cultural behaviour may vary a lot or a little within and between cultural groups. 

Consider groups speaking the same language, and physically similar. They may emphasise their cultural identify by focusing on small behavioural differences with their neighbours (such as use of different tools for the same task, different hairstyles, different religious affiliations). For instance, Americans, Australians and English cultures have much in common, including a common language, similar dress, food, most social institutions and ideologies, yet their differences are often emphasised or even exaggerated when we want to assert our cultural identity. It is not uncommon for individuals to do the same thing when in a different country, to exaggerate their Australian-ness or English-ness in subtle ways to assert their cultural identify. This behaviour is particularly noticeable with sub-cultures (cultures within and part of the dominant culture), where a uniform or even a ritual might serve to delineate one group from another.  

Cultural differences in behaviour are not as easy to distinguish as we might think. For one thing, they can include cognitive behaviours (how we think; how we learn), emotional behaviours (how we respond emotionally in different situations and to others) or private behaviours, such as how we deal with our families, friends, religion etc. in our private places, which may not be how we deal with them publicly. For instance, the way that an Arab family behaves in public will tend to reflect their expectations of public image and cultural norms for public behaviour, which includes male dignity and female modesty. To an outsider, the father might appear aloof, domineering, detached from the woman, and the woman might seem submissive and timid. 

The outside observer’s perceptions may be faulty in two respects:

1.  They are based on that person’s existing and culturally-derived perceptions of behaviour, and do not consider other possible interpretations of the observed behaviour. He does not recognise that the Arab’s reserve with a stranger is in fact a demonstration of his tact (a valued trait) and desire to avoid offending another.

2.  They are based on generalisations about the Arabs’ behaviour in one instance. The observer does not consider that in private, both man and woman might behave very differently. In this case, the man is actually warm by nature, abundantly generous, considerate, devoted, even a little hen-pecked and the woman speaks her mind forcefully on all matters, is university- educated, and enjoys a rich social life. 

If the observer’s assumptions about Arabs are reinforced by this experience, he may also be guilty of generalising, of assuming that this family is representative of all Arabs and that all Arabs share the same traits. I

Problems with Culture

Because it embraces all areas of human activity, culture is, at best, a nebulous concept that may be defined in quite different ways. People might hold very different perceptions of culture, and its significance in describing human activity, and our perceptions of culture can change in response to other influences. Multiculturalism, for instance, promotes a primarily behaviour-focused view of culture to support its political and social goals of making immigration and cultural diversity more acceptable to the dominant culture, and reducing the adverse effects of prejudice, racism and xenophobia. Acceptance of cultural diversity, from this perspective, includes ‘toleration’ (a problematic word) or acceptance of differences in family or group behaviour, artefacts, food, dress, religion, language and ethnic appearance. 

To help achieve this acceptance of cultural diversity, political and social leaders have promoted non-discriminatory language, ideas and values and emphasised the cultural benefits of cultural diversity (e.g. greater variety and richness of cultural traits and foods). Some of these efforts to increase acceptance and reduce prejudice have been labelled by some as “political correctness”, implying that it comes from political motives rather than a sincere desire for social harmony. However, multiculturalism (a term, by the way, that is falling out of favour) is often also supported by legal, political and social policies that can change the social and political nature of society a little or a great deal. 

Cultures can and do change over time in response to other developments, such as changing economic structure or ideology. In many countries, at present, tension has developed between conservative or even fundamentalist ideologies and more liberal or progressive ideologies, with each side vying for power and public support. These struggles are one example of the internal forces that can work to change culture, and they may affect a culture’s views on family, education, social responsibility, art and law. Consider the profound influence such ideological struggles in the 1970’s had on the social and political discourses and patterns of many Western countries. Western culture was radically altered in some respects, for example, concerning its attitudes to the West’s colonial past, women’s roles in society, the environment, and cultural difference. Ideology and social movements can lead to fundamental disagreement over a culture’s basic assumptions about truth, personal autonomy, political and social ethics, and national identity.



Study multicultural awareness and learn more about diverse cultures and the multicultural world in which we live.






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Study multicultural awareness and learn more about diverse cultures and the multicultural world in which we live.
A useful course in many different areas of work.
Study cultural diversity, cultural self-awareness, prejudice and racism, barriers to effective multicultural awareness and much more.


Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
Miriam ter BorgPsychologist, Youth Worker, Teacher, Author and Natural Therapist. Miriam was previously an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, Youth Worker, Surfing College Program Coordinator, Massage Therapist, Business Owner/Manager. Miriam's qualifications include B.Sc.(Psych), DipRem.Massage, Cert Ourdoor Rec.
Kate Gibson B.Soc.Sc.15+ years experience in HR, marketing, education & project management. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia.
Gavin Cole B.Sc.,M.Psych.Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Gavin has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. He has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Gavin joined ACS in 2001.

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