Multiculturalism in Counselling
Introduction – The growing global experience of multiculturalism in every part of the world leads toward new changes happening in the different fields affecting human social life. Because of the many reasons that trigger the movement of people with different social and cultural background away from their place of origin and towards new places to live with a different set of people, the homogenous community is now very rare, and in almost every place, there are traces of the progression of multiculturalism.
The rise of multiculturalism means change, and among the many different changes that are happening because of multiculturalism is the rise of the significance of multiculturalism in the field of counselling. This is important because counselling professionals should be able adept in handling problems wherein the situation involved is heavily influenced by the state of multiculturalism.
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As D’ Andrea and Daniels (1997) noted, “The multicultural movement is having a tremendous impact on the counselling profession. The rising attention this area has received over the past decade has led Pedersen (1990) to refer accurately to multiculturalism as the ‘fourth force’ in counseling and psychology. This ‘fourth force’ is stimulating greater awareness of the importance of developing a broad range of multicultural counseling competencies when working with clients from diverse cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds (D’ Andrea and Daniels, 1997, p. 290).” The pull or push that sent different people with different backgrounds wherever they are now cannot be blamed for this occurrence, but what can be done by professionals whose oath of service is to individuals in need regardless of ethnicity is not to run away from this but to address multiculturalism and consider it as an important facet and competency of a person’s credential in this field of expertise. This is a new challenge for professionals in this field of expertise, and their level of understanding for this circumstance plays an important role in how they will undertake their tasks as counsels without bias or discrimination for any client.
Because of the growing importance of addressing the changes that multiculturalism presents in the field of counselling, with focus on counsellor-client relationships, organizations are taking pro-active steps to ensure that its members display the level of sensitivity to multiculturalism as a modern day reality, vis-a-vis the professional capability to deal with counselling tasks barring the effects of multiculturalism.
Several associations, like the Association for Multicultural Counselling and Development or AMCD, prepared text and other documents to help other professionals cope with multiculturalism and have a better understanding of this particular new aspect of the social life. In one of the documents of the AMCD stipulates a very useful information in the effort to understand multiculturalism, and this, according to AMCD, is the four basic beliefs when it comes to multiculturalism and counselling – “(a) that we are all multicultural individuals; (b) that we all possess a personal, political and historical culture; (c) that we are affected by sociocultural, political, environmental and historical events; and (d) multiculturalism also intersects with multiple factors of individual diversity (Trusty, Sandhu and Looby, 2002, p. 334).”
Without the skill and capability to tolerate and work around the effects of multiculturalism, counsellors cannot provide competent advice and cannot act as professional counsels to victims and to those who need their help. What complicates things is the fact that in this time and age, multiculturalism is difficult to escape – in any modern or developing city, there are professionals as well as blue collar workers who have European, Asian, American and African origins, and even in the rural areas where only indigenous people live previously, foreigners are now commonly seen because of how some of the modern day jobs like anthropology, social science and other civic endeavors lead these people towards foreign lands, fast tracking multiculturalism and creating a new aspect of professional capability for those involved in the counselling profession.
D’ Andrea, Michael and Daniels, Judy (December 1997). Central Issues, Theoretical
Considerations, and Practical Strategies. Multicultural Counseling Competencies:
Assessment, Education and Training, and Supervision, Vol. 7. SAGE Publications.
Trusty, Jerry, Sandhu, Daya Singh and Looby, Eugenie Joan (March 2002). Multicultural
Counseling: Context, Theory and Practice, and Competence. Nova Science