Multicultural Counseling (MCT)
Multicultural counseling refers to counseling clients while the counselor takes into consideration different cultural beliefs and backgrounds which are prone to cause effects either positive or adverse during counseling session. Multicultural counseling has developed to cater for the growing and diverse society with dissimilar cultural beliefs and practices. It will be unrealistic for a counselor to make assumption that every person relates in a similar way or have a common way of interpreting counselee problems. The current diverse society worldwide has necessitated the development of multicultural counseling which enable counselors to deal appropriately and in a competent manner with unique problems affecting dissimilar societies all over the world (Parham, 2014).
Key Factors Instrumental in the Development of MCT
In the field of counseling, multicultural counseling has been referred to as the distinct force. There are major factors that played key role in the development of multicultural counseling which resulted from the problems that arose as a result of diversity in the society. For instance, in early times, United State has been defined as a melting point where different cultures used to be blended and absorbed. Immigrants in US were forced to mold their beliefs and behaviors to be in line with those of the dominant community of the white culture. This melting point has given way an opportunity for the practice of pluralism where the immigrants from different parts of the world retain their cultural identity while still learning on how to function appropriately in the society (Parham, 2014).
The Client’s Culture
With respect to history, cultural differences have been viewed and interpreted as deficits. There has been continuous adherence with the white cultural values and belief which has resulted to naive and an uncalled-for burden of narrowly defined criteria for normality on people with dissimilar cultural beliefs. This has necessitated development of multicultural counseling to curb the vice of generalization in the field of counseling hence rectifying this imbalance through acknowledging and appreciating values of culture and using these values when assisting the clients during the counseling process (Vinson, & Neimeyer, 2007). Counselors are supposed to take into consideration different values observed by their clients during the initial interactions of the counseling session. By so doing, the counselor-counselee relationship will materialize into a successful one and minimize the counselee resistance to the counselor advices. When counselors are dealing with different clients with diverse cultures and beliefs, they should appreciate their unique cultural values and hence should be aware of these values. This awareness of different client’s culture played a major role in the development of multicultural counseling (Vinson, & Neimeyer, 2007).
Although there is a vast range of cultures in the world bringing about challenges to counselors, there is connectivity that arises bringing about similarity without absorbing the minority culture. For instance when a counselor is handling a case affecting the system of Chinese Americans, submissiveness rather than assertiveness is profoundly honored, quiet and inactive restfulness rather than verbal expression is an indication of wisdom and self-effacement contrary to a hostile disagreement reflects the model of refinement. In the view of the fact that humility and modesty are highly valued, it imposes great challenge for the counselors to draw out a response from a Chinese America in a group setting. The trait of being uncommunicative among the Chinese which supports silence and withdrawal as a suitable way of dealing with the conflict could be interpreted wrongly by the counselors in the absence of multicultural counseling techniques. Similarly different in cultures could be applied demographically where demographic differences vary among different nations. For instance Chinese bestows high respects on their all knowing fathers which can also impose challenge to counselors when dealing with such a client without having ample knowledge of their cultures (Swan, Schottelkorb & Lancaster, 2015).
When counseling process fails to appreciate and fit to the native people’s values, it is deemed as being cultural racism. For instance, among Northern natives of Canada, if it fails to fit the values of concreteness, cooperation, lack of interference, tendency to organize by space rather than time, respect for elders and dealing with land as a living rather than an inanimate object it is then referred to as cultural racism. Many Africans cultures impose great values on their families in particular children who are deemed as God given gift. Additionally, they value social relationship and greatly stresses on the community and their position in it. When counselors are dealing with this scenario, they are supposed to understand that social conflicts resolution in these societies is more important than personal conducts which enhances restoration of peace and equilibrium among the people in a community. Failure for counselors to address these issues enhances increase in reluctant level of these individual to seek for counseling services. Appreciating and understanding client’s culture motivates them to continuously seek counseling services since they tend to feel that other people values their way of doing things (Swan et al., 2015)
Differences among the individuals have been a key contributing factor of the development of multicultural counseling. Individuals are unique and different from others in a large and vast ways. In counseling, there are always serious challenge that would arise when a counselor stereotype clients and also confusing other influences that are unique to different people, for instance in terms of race and social economic status, with cultural influences. The biggest challenge that arises in counseling process is counselor oversimplifying on the client’s social system and emphasize mostly on apparent aspects of their background. Despite the fact that universal categories are necessary for the counselor to understand human experience, failing to grasp specific individual’s factors would result to violation of ethics. Individual clients are in most cases influenced by factors like race, social class in the society, education level, and stages of life, their ethnicity groups, gender differences and national of origin. As a result, counselors are obliged and are supposed to look at situations in a wide perspective of the identity and development of people who are culturally diverse in respect to multiple, interactive factors contrary to a rigid and strict framework. As a result of the diversity in the society, there emerged a need to develop a multicultural counseling technique which will enable the counselors to handle the diverse issues affecting different people in the society rather than generalizing people. A pluralistic counselor should always consider all the distinct features of a client in terms of personal history, social and cultural orientation and family history too (Roysircar, Gard, Hubbell & Ortega, 2005.
Difference that exists between culture and race is the significant facets of multicultural counseling development. There exist differences among the racial groups and also within each specific group. There are various ethnic identifications that exist among and within the society which a counselor is ought to be aware of and be in a position to distinguish them with ease when dealing with clients. For instance; among the White, there are different ethnic groups of Germans, British and Dutch, among the Native Americans there exists Hopi, Kiowa and Zuni. These ethnic groups may, in many cases, have a common physical characteristic of race but this should not be taken to imply that they as a result share values and beliefs structure of a common culture. As a result of these differences development of multicultural counseling was inevitable in order for a counselor to amply and adequately tackle the problems of the unique and different clients enabling them to achieve positive outcomes of the counseling process (Roysircar et al., 2005)
The Counselor’s Culture
Counselor’s culture in many cases affects their manner in which they offer advices to their clients. In the field of counseling, it is important for counselors to understand their own customs, cultural heritage and worldview before setting about understanding other people’s cultures and helping them. As a result, this factor played a key role in the development of multicultural counseling. This understanding entails awareness of any personal belief about how to live or how to deal with a situation and capabilities, recognition of various structures of reasoning and an understanding of counselor’s effects on communication and their styles of helping others. If counselors lack these understandings, it may affect and hinder effective intervention with their clients hence the need to develop multicultural counseling that enhances on comprehension of own culture for effective intercession. Counselor’s awareness of their culture helps in that most of them for instance applies own values and norms are when advising clients. This acculturation is at the same time personal, general and professional. Development of multicultural counseling was to necessitate the counselors understand their own culture and the cultures of clients to arrive at the effective intervention point without being bias (Orozco, Shooshani, Blando, & Lee, 2014).
In addition to client culture, adherence to a specific counseling theory could play an essential role in limiting successful counselor-counselee relationship. Theories are not generally accepted by all people and adherence with values found in counseling theories may bring the difference in counselor and counselee expectations during the counseling session. To overcome this difference in expectations as a result of applying counseling theories, counselor should investigate and understand cultural background of the client in terms of what is right or wrong behavior. This is impracticable in counseling where multiculturalism did not exist and hence the need to develop multicultural counseling (Orozco et al., 2014).
Importance of Multicultural Counseling
Multicultural counseling plays significance role in the counseling sessions and hence need to be adhered to by all practicing counselors. This is based on the grounds that, even if it is not practical to change client’s backgrounds, multicultural counseling techniques help counselors to avoid the challenges posed by stereotyping, false expectations as a result of examining their own values and norms conducting thorough research on their client’s background and coming up with suitable methods that effectively fits their client’s need. Multicultural counseling also help the counselor to become sensitive to client’s ethnicity or cultural heritage and their own hence avoiding being bias when helping a client (Roysircar et al., 20
Orozco, G. L., Shooshani, B., Blando, J. A., & Lee, W. L. (2014). Introduction to Multicultural Counseling for Helping Professionals. Hoboken: Routledge.
Parham, W. D. (2014). Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development: Second Special Issue on Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education. Journal Of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 42(3), 130-131.
Roysircar, G., Gard, G., Hubbell, R., & Ortega, M. (2005). Development of Counseling Trainees’ Multicultural Awareness Through Mentoring English as a Second Language Students. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 33(1), 17-36.
Swan, K. L., Schottelkorb, A. A., & Lancaster, S. (2015). Relationship Conditions and Multicultural Competence for Counselors of Children and Adolescents. Journal Of Counseling & Development, 93(4), 481-490. doi:10.1002/jcad.12046
Vinson, T. S., & Neimeyer, G. J. (2007). The Relationship between Racial Identity Development and Multicultural Counseling Competency: A Second Look. Journal Of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 31(4), 262.