Dimensions of Multicultural Counseling A Life Story Approach By Sara E. Schwarzbaum & Anita Jones Thomas
Chapter #1 Multicultural Theory and Competence
The chapter looks at the universal human traits and unique personality traits which should be considered by the counsellor while dealing with diverse clients. The chapter also looks at the beliefs, traditions, customs, behaviors, and attachments related to a given group. All these factors are important in understanding a person who works in a recursive mode. Psychologists, social workers, and counselors in the United States deal with changing demographics and to provide effective services they have to be culturally competent. The training provided does not adequately cover the cultural competence because the western perspective of mental health and counseling in most training programs focus on traditional approaches to working with clients and multicultural training primarily focus on ethnicity, racial identity and race. There lacks training in multicultural skills and culturally sensitive interventions and techniques.
The chapter also looks that the history of psychotherapy as a field of complex human behavior. Traditionally, the field was concerned with understanding human universals and individual characteristics and traits without concern of shared customs, beliefs, values and traditions. The science of multicultural theory has intervened to correct the imbalance through social service professionalism that identifies culture as an important factor of human functioning as well as accommodating culturally diverse clients. To cover on language shift, different dimensions of diversity and have a common meaning of diversity; the multicultural theory has helped as it helps counselors understand intercultural issues and intracultural issues. Multiculturalism looks at multicultural competency, multicultural theory, and social justice.
The chapter looks at the multicultural theory in terms of six propositions with supporting corollaries. They are:
Multicultural theory as a metatheory of psychotherapy grounded in a particular cultural context
Both client and counselor develop identities within various context and layer
Clients and counselor development of cultural identity is influenced by self and other groups
Counselors are more effective when using multicultural theory
It is important to use multiple forms of interventions
Conscience is the basic goal of multicultural theory
The chapter stresses the importance of having multicultural competence as a tool for providing services to individuals through the right agencies, systems, and organization. The clinicians can develop the right flexibility in terms of thinking and behavior. Through multicultural training they can be aware of themselves as cultural beings with beliefs and attitudes which influence them, they understand the importance of multicultural sensitivity and knowledge and have a suggestion on the inclusion of cultural issues in research.
Chapter #2 Oppression and Resilience
Oppression and resilience are part of psychotherapy counseling and have been discussed in details with relation to multicultural theory. Oppression as a cruel or unjust use of authority differs among various groups. Societies, communities, and individuals. In the United States, it varies among different people who have been balanced by global ethics which extends to ethical psychology. Different systems subordinate and dominate others around the world where some are stigmatized while others are privileged according to the social groups. Individuals can be both privileged and oppressed due to different social identities and interactions. The chapter looks at various models of oppression including exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, violence, and internalized oppression. Oppression can also be in the form of ableism, anti-Semitism, racism, classism, sexism, and xenophobia. Both the models and types of oppression are related to psychopathology although oppression does not necessarily lead to psychopathology. They are also used in the theory of oppression which looks at the individual as subject to anti-locution, avoidance, discrimination, physical attack, and extermination.
Some individuals do not develop mental health problems even after being exposed to severe trauma and oppressive experiences although some do. The chapter looks at different studies done on behavioral science to identify why some people are resilient while others are not. Various issues have been identified to foster resilience. They are personal protective factors which include attachment, nurturance, and support, self-efficacy and self-esteem, capacity for emotional self-modulation and self-regulation, availability of emotional and cognitive processing, problem-solving focus, social competence, help-seeking behavior
# 3 Self in Context
The chapter looks at various topics related to self and self-analysis. Among these are human development, development of the self and shifting selves. In this chapter, the authors look at how self-development affects the counseling process as well as how it can be influenced through training to improve the outcome of personal contribution. According to the multicultural theory, human development is influenced by the cultural experiences they go through in their development. As a client or a counselor, this may influence their perspective. Additionally, there is the development of self through formal learning and intracultural learning. These factors can affect the contextual dimension of the self and therefore shifts self-perspective on different issues especially in counseling. Among other issues, it looks at is counselor role, cultural influences, individual development, technological advancement and its interaction with cultural groups. Self-context is a factor of both client and counselor dimension according to the multicultural counseling theory.
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