Multi Cultural Awareness

Course CodeBPS303
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


  • Help Break down cultural barriers
  • Extend your "people skills", as a counsellor, manager, business owner, etc
  • Work in a "helping profession" -welfare, immigration, international relations, etc

Cultural diversity refers to the differences between human communities based on differences in their ideologies, values, beliefs, norms, customs, meanings and ways of life – in other words, differences based on cultural differences. These differences are expressed and exemplified in social practices, attitudes and values, family interactions and expectations, values concerning education, ways of defining and treating health (physical and mental), business and management behaviours and practices, political practices and our interpersonal relations. This course will develop your sensitivity to culture, diversity and multicultural societies, and improve your capacity to interact with people on multicultural issues.

Successful completion of this course/module will develop your understanding of appropriate practices and procedures within Multicultural Awareness.

"The world is shrinking! The internet, aeroplanes, emails, mobiles, faster travel, telecommunication. All of these things bring the people of the world closer together. Multicultural awareness will increase your knowledge and understanding of cultures around the world and how we can live together in a more understanding and knowledgeable way. A useful course for anyone living or working in a multicultural environment." Tracey Jones, B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies), ACS Tutor.


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  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 ith culture
  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 counsellors 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

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


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

What You Will Do

  • 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
    • ‘ethnocentrism’
    • ‘prejudice’
    • ‘racism’
    • 'stereotype’
    • ‘discrimination’
  • Discuss how prejudice and/or racism help a group or person feel more comfortable about other cultures;
  • Explore the role of stereotyping by a dominant culture in perceived discrimination by an immigrant community;
  • 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.

Defining the Cultural Self

Does everyone in a culture behave in the same way?
Obviously, they do not.

Many factors contribute to variety within a culture; including:

  • individual human psychology
  • socio-economical differences
  • different situations
  • differing human motivations.

Every culture contains within it all variations of human personality, different psychological attitudes, perceptions, ways of thinking and feeling, different kinds and levels of skill and so on. From outside a culture, we might see only what the members have in common, but from within, the people that make them are as varied as our own. However, we tend to share some fundamental aspects of our behaviour and attitude with other members of our culture, which are part of who we think we are.

Some aspects of our cultural self we can consider are listed below:

  • What we value in ourselves and others
  • How we interact with others 
  • How we communicate our feelings 
  • What support we offer or receive from others
  • Who we seek support from and to what degree
  • What we believe we should strive for or achieve
  • What kind of parent we become
  • How we relate to family and not-family
  • How we define or perceive ourselves as human beings
  • How and in what regard we express individualism
  • How we relate to authority
  • What potential we possess 
  • What possibilities we can perceive for personal or social growth
  • How we understand or define psychological distress.

Any or all of these aspects of cultural identity can be expressed in very different ways, or not at all except through our perceptions of self, others, and our world and our responses to them. They may be apparent in our opinions and judgements, the stories we tell each other, what we say about ourselves, our status and our expectations, and in our interactions with others. We may communicate them non-verbally through gestures and actions, the arts, our clothing, where we live, the kind of house we choose, and our uses of the surrounding space. We also communicate our cultural perceptions and cultural identity through what we say, to whom we say it and when, and through what we do not say.

Other courses and Information

We have some interesting articles on psychology and counseling at -

If you’re not sure about jumping straight into a diploma, why not consider taking an individual module, such as –

Abnormal Psychology -


Introduction to Psychology -

How This Course Could Help You

We live in societies which are becoming increasingly multicultural. Whether you live or work directly with people from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds or not, the chances are that you will eventually. As a society we all stand to gain from understanding one another, and learning to accept and embrace differences. This course works through the benefits of recognising different cultures and what it means to have integrated communities. What you'll learn here is relevant to everyone, from migrants and indigenous people, and employers to employees.

This course is designed to have broad appeal to many different individuals and types of workplace. Some of the fields that people choosing this course represent include:

  • Psychology
  • Counselling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Social work
  • Nursing
  • Caring roles
  • Health professions
  • Migration
  • Personnel management
  • Careers counselling
  • Police
  • Teaching
  • Military





ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development
ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development

ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association

Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network
Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council
ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council

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  Christine Todd

University lecturer, businesswoman, photographer, consultant and sustainability expert; with over 40 years industry experience B.A., M.Plan.Prac., M.A.(Social). An expert in planning, with years of practical experience in permaculture.
  Gavin Cole

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 has worked for ACS for over 10 years.
  Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.
  Tracey Jones

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE. Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc. 25 years industry experience in writing, editing, education, psychology, and business. Tracey has several books and hundreds of articles published; in both fiction and non fiction.
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