How does MCT expand the practices and roles of counselors as therapists, as compared to traditional practices and roles
Awareness, Knowledge, and Skill: The Cornerstones of Cultural Competence
As our society becomes increasingly diverse, and increasingly global, the need for culturally competent counselors has never been greater. The cornerstones of cultural competence, as presented in the text, are awareness, knowledge, and skill. Awareness is first among these, and as counselors we are called upon to cultivate self-awareness with respect to our cultural heritage and how it has shaped our attitudes and beliefs, as well as to become sensitive to the cultural identities of our clients and its significance in their lives.
In this unit, we will reflect on the evolution of the mental health profession from a field that is in the process of shifting away from a mono-cultural view of mental health and intervention based on Western, white, male norms, to a field that recognizes the significance of our bio-psycho-social differences in promoting mental health and wellness. As such, we will consider the historical implications of a mono-cultural perspective on mental health and how that has limited research, assessment, and treatment of cultural minorities. We will also begin to consider what it means to provide culturally relevant and competent counseling.
In our readings and studies we will become familiar with a variety of conceptual models. These will raise our awareness of the influence of perceived group membership (such as racial and ethnic minorities, sexual minorities) on how “society views socio-demographic groups, and over how its members view themselves and others” (Sue & Sue, 2013, p. 43), and how to bring that awareness to our work with diverse clients at the individual, professional, organizational, and societal levels. In particular, we will explore the key principles of multicultural counseling and therapy, which may be thought of as an approach to counseling that transcends our theoretical orientations and specialization areas.
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2013). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Analyze the multicultural theories and current research that influence optimal wellness and growth.
2. Articulate the counseling methods that promote optimal wellness and growth of clients from diverse backgrounds.
3. Recognize contextual and systemic dynamics (such as gender, age, socioeconomic status, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, spirituality, larger systems, social context) that impact counseling.
Learning Activities Readings Studies
Use your textbook, Sue and Sue’s Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice, to complete the following:
• Read Chapter 2, “The Superordinate Nature of Multicultural Counseling and Therapy,” pages 33–56.
• Read Chapter 9, “Multicultural Evidence-Based Practice,” pages 233–258.
• Read Chapter 13, “Culturally Competent Assessment,” pages 345–361.
Use the Library to complete the reading designated for your specialization area:
• All specialization areas: Pedersen’s 1991 article, “Multiculturalism as a Generic Approach to Counseling,” in Journal of Counseling & Development, volume 70, issue 1, pages 6–12.
• Addictions Counseling: Sacks and Peled’s 2008 article, “The Self-Perception of Women Who Live With an Alcoholic Partner: Dialoging With Deviance, Strength, and Self-Fulfillment,” in Family Relations, volume 57, issue 3, pages 390–403.
• Career Counseling: Blustein, Kenna, Gill, and DeVoy’s 2008 article, “The Psychology of Working: A New Framework for Counseling Practice and Public Policy,” in The Career Development Quarterly, volume 56, pages 294–308.
• Marriage and Family Therapy: Singh’s 2004 article, “Exploring Culture in Practice: A Few Facets of a Training Course,” in Journal of Family Psychotherapy, volume 15, issue 1/2, pages 87–104.
• Mental Health Counseling: Spence, Adkins, and Dupre’s 2011 article, “Racial Differences in Depression Trajectories Among Older Women: Socioeconomic, Family and Health Influences,” in Journal of Health and Behavior, volume 52, issue 4, pages 444–459.
• School Counseling: Adkison-Bradley, Johnson, Rawls, and Plunkett’s 2006 article, “Overrepresentation of African American Males in Special Education Programs: Implications and Advocacy Strategies for School Counselors,” in Journal of School Counseling, volume 4, issue 16, pages 1–28.
Key Components for Engaging in Multicultural Counseling
What is Multicultural Counseling and Therapy and how do we define cultural components? Now Multicultural Counseling and Therapy can be defined as both a helping role and process that uses modalities and defines goals, consistent with the life experiences and cultural values of clients. Recognizes client’s identities to include individual group and universal dimensions. Advocates the use of universal and cultural specific strategies and roles in the healing process and balances the importance of individualism and collectivism in the assessment diagnosis and treatment of client and client systems.
Now that is a very complex definition and let me try to break them up into units so that in your discussions and readings, you can begin to think about it very strongly. The definitions I have just given you contrast strongly with the traditional definition of counseling and psychotherapy from a western perspective.
First of all Multicultural Counseling and Psychotherapy involves helping roles and processes, that is one dimension. Now I am going to use shorthand language here by calling Multicultural Counseling and Therapy, MCT. MCT involves broadening the roles that counselors play and expands a repertoire of therapy skills consider to be helpful and appropriate in counseling.
What I am trying to indicate in this definition of Multicultural Counseling and Therapy and everything that has gone before that, is that counselors, to be culturally confident, need to play multiple roles that involve traditional helping roles but systems intervention and counseling roles as well. So that teaching, consulting, advocacy becomes a part of the roles and processes in multicultural counseling.
Second what I emphasize is that MCT is consistent with the life experiences and cultural values of the culturally diverse groups that you will work with. Effective MCT means using modalities and defining goals for culturally diverse clients that are consistent with their racial, cultural, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation backgrounds. For example I have given to you, giving advice and suggestions maybe completely appropriate as a strategy when working with certain groups.
The third component in this definition is that it is for MCT operates and acknowledges the individual group and universal dimensions of existence. MCT acknowledges that we are a unique, that we share things with certain groups and that we are all similar in many respects and any approach that fails to recognize all three dimensions in some sense, negates the important aspect of the holistic identity of clients that we work with.
The Fourth component of MCT is the universal and culture specific strategies. I am not going to go into this in the great amount because we will talk about this in future lecture series. But there is little doubt that almost all helping relationships, whether we call it counseling therapy or healing as Africans tends to call healing types of forces that their commonalities that are present and shared in the healer and in the healing process. But they are also cultural specific areas and the task for culturally confident counseling is for us to balance both of them and acknowledge when one is effective and when to use both or one over the other.
The Fifth one is the acknowledgement of MCT, that it recognizes the importance of individualism and collectivism. Most western helping approaches as I have mentioned is individualistic and orientation and it does not mean that it is not applicable to Latino cultures, African American cultures, and Asian American cultures. It recognizes however that that has to be moderated by our understanding of collectivism would we work with clients, because clients are not simply individual that are apart from the context from which they operate. I am part of the Sue family and I am part of the community and what happens to me is really intrically bound to the context and community that I come from.
The last one, the sixth type of distinction of MCT is that the focus is on client and client systems. And that is the key element client systems. MCT assumes a dual helping role. It does acknowledge a legitimacy of one to one helping with individuals, that is part of helping, of counseling, of therapy and of healing. However, often times the systems from which our clients come from the school district, the community that they come from may be the focus of their trouble so that healing must be directed at the system.
The example I would like to quickly give you is that an incident when I was consulting with the school district, they had an African American youngster, about twelve years old, who is constantly giving in fights on the playground. He was one of the only black students on that primarily white school campus and he was constantly getting into fights.
He was referred for counseling in the counselor’s office who asked the school psychologist to make an assessment and they recommended that he had to stop that fighting behavior. He had to take medication and they diagnosed him as having a burgeoning conduct disorder that they located as inability to deal with his impulsive anger and so forth.
Now the focus of treatment was individual. Well, when I came as a consultant, I began to look at the broader scope and what we realized was that and I opposed this to the counselor that what would you think if you knew that Johnny, the black student, was getting into a fights because he was called names, he was being call a ‘nigger’. He was teased mercilessly by all that his white classmates. Would it alter your diagnosis and what you would do?
And it was clear to me that the intervention had to be the client system, the school district, the campus climate, the teacher is had to be educated, the student had to be educated. The focus in terms of working primarily with Johnny and it seemed inappropriate to me, stopping fighting behavior.
Well, that I can understand stopping fighting behavior but R. D. Lang an essential psychiatric, I think made the statement that I want you to consider. He was making a statement of schizophrenia and he asked, is schizophrenia a reaction to a healthy environment? Or is schizophrenia a reaction to a sick environment?
Now what am I saying by that? Well, I can easily define Johnny’s fighting behavior has been inappropriate, a detrimental, a pathological or sick? Would it make any difference if that was a sick system that created the fighting? Is it possible — and I am not saying this is true but is it possible for us to perceive that his fighting is an appropriate response in terms of the reportorial responses that he has to a really hostile, invalidating sick situation. And that is what I say is important for all of us who began to look at.
The literature is rich with resources to help counselors and therapists delve more deeply into the topics being covered in this course and to pursue their own special interests. In each unit you will find a reference list compiled by experts in each of the specialization areas at Capella University; look to these for information and use as you wish in your professional development. Please note that it is acceptable to draw from these resources for your discussions and assignments; however, you should not rely exclusively on these resources in completing assignments that require library research.
• In McGoldrick and Hardy’s Re-Visioning Family Therapy: Race, Culture, and Gender in Clinical Practice (2nd ed.), read “Introduction: Re-visioning Family Therapy From a Multicultural Perspective,” pages 3–24.
• Read Duchar, Abraham, and Roman’s 2010 article, “Counselor Attitudes Toward the Use of Motivational Incentives in Addiction Treatment,” in American Journal on Addictions, volume 19, issue 6, pages 496–503.
• Read Ivey’s 1987 article, “The Multicultural Practice of Therapy: Ethics, Empathy, and Dialectics,” in Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, volume 5, issue 2, pages 195–204.
• Read Jacobs and Kane’s 2010 article, “HIV-Related Stigma in Midlife and Older Women,” in Social Work in Health Care, volume 49, issue 1, pages 68–89.
• Read Richard, Trevino, Baker, and Valdez’s 2010 article, “Negative Reflected Appraisal, Negative Self-Perception, and Drug Use Intentions in a Sample of Suburban High School Students,” in Journal of Child Adolescent Substance Abuse, volume 19, issue 3, pages 193–209.
Question 1: 1 page needed with two references.
Multicultural Counseling and Therapy (MCT)
Refer to your readings and the mini-lecture by Dr. Sue and prepare a posting that describes your understanding of MCT and review the implications of MCT for counseling practice. How does MCT expand the practices and roles of counselors as therapists, as compared to traditional practices and roles? What is the significance of a client’s social and cultural context within MCT and how does MCT challenge counselors to intervene at the systems level?
Question 2: 1 page needed with two references.
The Impact of Group Membership
Sue and Sue (2013) illustrated similarities and differences among people, and the powerful influence of perceived group membership on how we view others and how we view ourselves with this saying: “All individuals, in many respects, are (a) like no other individuals, (b) like some individuals, and (c) like all other individuals” (p. 41). Considering the article you read for your specialization area, discuss the impact of group membership or memberships as they relate to the population you read about and your specialization area. Note: My specialization area is addiction counseling.