This course involves the examination of ethnic and
cultural awareness issues that influence the etiology, perception, and
treatment of minorities in counseling. Topics reviewed are (1) needs of various
populations; (2) the impact of racial identity on self-perception; (3)
needs for specialized training; and (4) specialized methods of treatment.
In 1991, the American Counseling Association (ACA) determined that the
culture-relevancy of multicultural or fourth force psychology had earned
its place in counseling and psychotherapy following psychodynamic,
behavioral, and humanistic traditions. Then too, psychological publications
had begun to include culture as an important factor in the counseling process
due largely to the pressure of the civil rights movement, the feminist
movement, and various special interest groups who have been undervalued and
marginalized in the society to the extent that they have been perceived as
being deviant from the mainstream of white, middle-class, urban, male
measures of normal behavior. Pedersen (1999) noted that fourth force
counseling is best described as a broad definition of culture including all
salient features of personal identity that provide a psychological construct
adaptable to contemporary theories of counseling and psychological
intervention. However, and operationally speaking, fourth force counseling
is also referred to as a process by which a trained professional from one
cultural/ethnic/racial background interacts with a client of a different
cultural/ethnic/racial background for the purpose of promoting the client's
cognitive, emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual development. One
advantage of the term "multicultural" here is that it can be
applied to a wide range of multiple groups without grading, comparing, or
ranking them as better or worse than one another, and without denying the
very distinct and complementary or even contradictory perspectives that
each group brings with it. Each member of the U. S. society belongs to such
an arrangement, having over time developed from different cultures from
different environments and in different roles. Here, within-group
differences are at least as important as between-group differences when
viewed from the multicultural perspective. Yet, reality suggests that when
viewed across cultures, the traditional counseling models have been shown
to be less successful when applied to minority groups than to those of the
dominant culture. Central to the multicultural counseling perspective in
mental health are the specialized approaches and methods used by agents of
Most traditional counseling and mental-health training programs include
explicitly or implicitly some type of orientation or set of assumptions
about culture and race that the trainee should be taught. Typically, this
knowledge and, in some cases, these competencies, are developed so the
trainee would have a considerable understanding as a competent
mental-health counselor and practitioner when working with members of the
society who are culturally distinct from himself or herself. However, Sue
(1990) pointed out that traditional or Western counseling and
psychotherapeutic training programs tend too often to assume universal
(-etic) applications of their concepts and goals to the point of excluding
culture-specific (-emic) views. He goes further by saying that
counselor-education-training programs have often been accused of fostering
"cultural encapsulation." The term encapsulation here refers to
(a) the substitution of model stereotypes for the real world; (b) the
disregard of cultural variations in a dogmatic adherence to some universal
notion of truth; and (c) the use of a technique-oriented definition of the
Pedersen (1997) noted a report from the National Advisory Mental Health
Council ( NAMHC, 1996) documenting the extent of cultural encapsulation of
mental-health services relative to crosscultural counseling.
- First, from an
anthropological perspective, crosscultural research has demonstrated
that cultural beliefs influence the diagnosis and treatment of
- Second, the
diagnosis of mental illness differs across cultures.
- Third, research
has revealed differences in how individuals express symptoms in
different cultural contexts.
culturally based variations in diagnosis vary according to the
diagnostic categories relevant to the majority population.
- Fifth, Most
providers come from a majority culture whereas most clients are
members of minority cultures.
From this perspective, the results suggest that counselor roles are rigidly
defined, implanting an implicit belief in a universal concept of
"healthy" and "normal." Hence, the universal
definitions of "healthy" and "normal" that are accepted
unquestionably in most graduate programs tend to guide the delivery of
mental health services to its future practitioners. However, the culturally
encapsulated counselor may also become a tool of his or her own dominant
political, social, or economic value system. In other words, ethnocentric
notions of adjustment tend to ignore inherent cultural/class values,
allowing the encapsulated person to be blind to his or her own cultural
baggage. Earlier, Sue (1990) noted that when considering crosscultural
counseling, "The net result has been that mental health services have
demanded a type of racial and cultural conformity in client behavior that
has been demeaning and that has denied different ethnic minorities the
right to their cultural heritage" (p. 13). That is why all counseling
and mental health programs should advocate the following to their training:
(a) that counselor training programs at all levels provided information on
the political nature of the practice of mental health counseling;
(b) that professionals need to own their value positions;
(c) that client populations be a part of determining what is done to them;
(d) that evaluation of training programs include not only content, but also
an evaluation of the graduates as a follow-up their training; and
(e) that continuing professional development occur beyond the receipt of
any advanced degree.
Put another way, those persons who aspire to become counseling
professionals must become more sensitive to the issues of those persons who
are viewed as marginalized socially, politically, and economically, as well
as culturally in the society that they are to work.
Summarily, fourth-force counseling (e.g., multicultural or crosscultural
counseling) attempts to combine the alternatives of universalism and
relativism by explaining behavior both in terms of those culturally learned
perspectives that are unique to one's particular background and the search
for common-ground universals that are shared across cultures. Hence, this
course will review new paradigms of this fourth-force phenomenon in areas
of psychosocial development and the practice of multicultural or
crosscultural counseling and psychotherapy as they relate to ethnic and
Several broad goals will guide your learning activities
and demonstration of knowledge in this course.
GOAL I. Understand such factors as age, gender, sexual orientation,
education, family values, religious and spiritual values, and socioeconomic
status and their impact on those persons in counseling relative to the
social interaction processes with professionals from different racial and
cultural backgrounds in a multicultural society.
GOAL II. To examine how professional counseling practice is
influenced by the increase of ethnic minority clients and how the
psychosocial development of these clients influences the therapeutic
GOAL III. To explore in depth several models of multicultural or
relational counseling and their clinical applications, strengths, and
GOAL IV. To apply knowledge of psychosocial development,
cross-cultural perception, and historical assumptions to an understanding
of needs of various populations and needs for specialized training in
counseling with ethnic minorities.
Complete the following options for
your written assignment:
Select a specific client/patient or group that is of particular interest to
you and not of your cultural background. It may be a population that you
work with now or one that you anticipate working with in the future as a
counselor. Design an intervention procedure and strategy for helping the
population that would include the following elements:
1. A clear assessment of the
population's counseling needs.
2. An overview of the purpose and anticipated goals in the counseling
strategy that are needed for working with a particular population.
3. The steps for implementing an intervention strategy including barriers
and/or hindrances in counseling the population you choose.
4. Determine post-implementation assessment or evaluation outcome(s) of the
strategy utilized for intervention with the population you choose.
When confirming that you have selected Option A, request information from
the instructor on the length and formatting for the documentation you will
A major research paper identifying and analyzing the main concepts, ideas,
and/or strategies as specified in the course objectives of this course.
This paper must demonstrate your analysis of the literature for and against
your position, your ability to analyze the appropriateness of the selected
literature, and your ability to relate your position to your profession.
An individualized project designed in consultation with, and approved by,
the course instructor. This project must demonstrate an understanding of
the objectives of this course. It must also demonstrate your ability to
analyze the literature on the subject you have chosen, your ability to
analyze its appropriateness to the individualized project, and your ability
to make judgments about the project's relevance to your profession.
Axelson, J. A. (1999). Counseling and development in a multicultural
society. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Ponterotto, J. G., Casa, J. M., Suzuki, L. A., & Alexander, C. M.
(2001). Handbook of multicultural counseling. Newbury Park, CA:
Pedersen, P. (1999). Multiculturalism as a fourth force.
Philadelphia, PA: Brunner/Mazel.
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (1999). Counseling the culturally different.
New York: Wiley & Sons.
Ford, R. C. (1981). Counseling strategies for ethnic minority students. Tacoma,
WA: U. Puget Sound Bookstore.
Required Journals and Monographs
Arredondo, P. (1999). Multicultural counseling competencies as tools to
address oppression and racism. Journal of Counseling & Development,
Das, A. K. (1995). Rethinking multicultural counseling: Implications for
counselor education. Journal of Counseling and Development, 74,
Glauser, A. S. (1999). Legacies of racism. Journal of Counseling
&Development, 77(1), 62-67.
Helms. J. E. (1990). Development of white racial identity inventory. In J.
E. Helms (Ed.), Black and white Racial identity: Theory, research, and
practice. (pp. 66-80). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Leong, F. T. L., & Santiago-Rivera, A. (1999). Climbing the
multiculturalism summit: Challenges and pitfalls. In P. Pedersen (Ed.), Multiculturalism
as a fourth force (pp. 61-72). Philadelphia, PA: Brunner/Mazel.
Locke, D. C., & Kiselica, M. S. (1999). Pedagogy of possibilities:
Teaching about racism in multicultural counseling courses. Journal of
Counseling & Development, 77(1), 80-86.
Pedersen, P. (1988). Four dimensions of multicultural skill training. In
Paul Pedersen (Ed.), A handbook for developing multicultural awareness
(pp. 143-158). Alexandria VA: American Association for Counseling and
Pedersen, P. (1988). Developing Multiculturally Skilled Counselors. In Paul
Pedersen (Ed.), A handbook for developing multicultural awareness (pp.
159-167). Alexandria VA: American Association for Counseling and
Pedersen, P. (1991). Multiculturalism as a generic approach to counseling. Journal
of Counseling and Development, 70, 6-12.
Pedersen, P. (1997). The cultural context of the American Counseling
Association Code of Ethics. Journal of Counseling and Development, 70,
Sue, D. W., Arredondo, P., & McDavis, R. (1992). Multicultural
counseling competencies and standards: A call to the profession. Journal
of Counseling and Development, 70, 477-486.
In addition, learners may want to review the following Internet
resources on multiculturalism:
Fong, M. L. (1994). Multicultural issues in supervision. ERIC
Gomez, R. A. (1991). Teaching in a multicultural perspective., ERIC
Digests. Available: http://www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed339548.html.
Lankar, B. A. (1994). Cultural diversity andtTeamwork. ERIC Digests.
Webb, M. (1990). Multicultural education in elementary and secondary
schools. ERIC Digests. http://www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed327613.html.