Cultural Competence in Counseling

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Cultural competence and ethical responsibility of counselors is an issue that holds increasing importance. To be both multicultural and ethical is increasingly challenging. The population of the United States is changing quickly from a predominately white Caucasian society to an ethnically diverse society`. The Hispanic population, which represented only 9% of the population in 1990, is projected to increase to about 25% of the population by 2050. The number of African Americans, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Eskimos/Aleuts will continue to increase as well (Aponte & Wohl, 2000). It has been predicted that Whites, who made up three fourths of the U.S. population in 1990, will no longer be in the majority by the year 2050 (Sue, 1996). These demographic changes mean that clients of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds increase importance of making multicultural competence a necessary standard. Due to the changing demographics of society and cultural changes, counselors must be diligent in preparing themselves to be diversely competent. Competence is the ethical challenge at hand. Research suggests that the past and current versions of the ACA Code of Ethics do not adequately address the demands of working with non-white, non-western clients. Past versions of the ACA Code of Ethics paid little attention to the presenting multicultural issues of counseling. The difference between the 1988 and 1995 code is an indicator of the movement of the profession and the changes in values held by many in the profession. Recent revision efforts of the ACA Code of Ethics have given special consideration to culture to serve as guidelines for counselors. Kocet (2004) believes the revisions of the 1995 Code of Ethics could lead to a new focus in the counselor relationship that encourages interaction with clients that occurs both in clinical and non-clinical settings. Given the constant revision considerations it is important that education and...
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