Our recently established Centre for Diversity in Counselling and
Psychotherapy is an interdisciplinary centre dedicated to research
and development of multicultural and diversity issues in counselling
and psychotherapy, focussing particularly on the stigmatized social
identities of gender, race, sexual orientations, class, disabilities,
religion, and age. One of the key objectives of the Centre is
to facilitate research and scholarship on the integration and
intersection of various marginalised identities so that counselling
and psychotherapy can be conducted through a paradigm of multiple
identities irrespective of particular counselling approaches.
The Centre is well positioned to undertake this mission as the
majority of the faculty are already undertaking research and teaching
in the various areas of diversity, and this expertise forms the
basis for further research through funded and non-funded projects.
The interdisciplinary nature of the Centre and the engagement
of faculty collaboration promote a rich environment and a creative
clinical niche within which graduate students can be nurtured.
This exposure to discourses of cultural differences juxtaposed
with a variety of holistic approaches to psychotherapy forms a
critical base for the study of diversity in counselling.
Another key aim of the Centre is to increase the collaborative
engagement with local community health and counselling organizations
so that research can be disseminated to practitioners working
in the field. One way in which the Centre has achieved this objective
has been through the annual Critical Multicultural Counselling
Conference at which researchers and community practitioners address
key critical issues on the theme of Diversity and Multiculture.
The conference which began in 2003 with funding from the American
Psychological Association, has become the flagship of the centre
attracting scholars from the major universities in Canada but
also researchers from the US and Britain. The conference has become
a place in Canada, perhaps North America where debate and discussion
of the emerging trends and controversial issue of critical multiculture
and diversity in counselling and psychotherapy can be engaged
with. As part of this process the Centre also offers the OISE/
UT Lifetime Achievement Award in Multicultural and Diversity Counselling.
To-date two Emeritus professors (one from the US and the other
from the UK) have been offered this prestigious award.