Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Ben C.H. Kuo


multicultural counselling competencies, qualitative, refugees, training




Canada admits between 22,000 - 24,000 refugees each year (Beiser, 2005). Immigrants and visible minorities tend to underutilize mental health services. However, ensuring new settlers' physical and mental health is not only humane, but also crucial to enable them to achieve their social and economic potential in the host country. Fundamentally, the need for Multicultural Counselling Competencies (MCC) is due to diverging notions of mental health and healing between clients and therapists who are culturally different from each other. There is ample literature on Multicultural Counselling Competencies. However most of this body of research has been conducted using quantitative approaches. The present study is a qualitative analysis which aimed to answer the research question: "What are therapist-trainees' experiences regarding their Multicultural Counselling Competencies (MCC) while providing therapy to firstgeneration, government assisted, refugee clients?". The sample for this study consisted of fourteen therapist-trainees who were doctoral level students in the Clinical Psychology program, Adult Track, at the University of Windsor. These therapist-trainees completed Critical Incident Journal (CIJ) entries after each session with their refugee clients. The therapist-trainees completed a total of 165 CIJ entries. These entries were analyzed using an adaptation of the Grounded Theory Method (GTM) as a guiding framework (Rennie, 2006). Three main themes emerged from the therapists CIJs: "Feeling the Need to Adapt", "Feeling a Sense of Increasing Cultural Self-Awareness" and "Building the Therapeutic Relationship is Important". In addition, developmental aspects of the therapists' experiences were identified. Implications for future training, practice and research are discussed.