Ethics: Mental Health Professional and Multicultural Competence

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Multicultural Competence and its Measures

Abstract
Mental health scholars consider multiculturalism as the forth force in psychology; the current multicultural movement elevates multiculturalism to an equal status as behaviorism, psychoanalysis, and humanism. The purpose of this paper is to review the literatures regarding multicultural competence and to define critical ethical issues and ethical dilemma specific to multiculturalism. This paper also proposes specific multicultural standards and competencies that should become part of graduate schools’ curriculum for preparing a culturally competent counselor. Finally, this literature review will evaluate culturally incompetent criteria, such as counselor’s biases, stereotyping, and cultural encapsulation. There is an effective need for multicultural training in this rapidly changing world. More research is needed regarding the specifications of multicultural competence and what it takes to be culturally competent counselor.

Multicultural Competence and Its Measures
Competence is a difficult concept to define because there are many possible levels along a continuum (Herlihy & Dufrenr, 2011), however, it is a major concern for mental health professional (Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2011). Cottone and Tarvydas (2007) define competence as “a counselor’s capability to provide a minimum quality of service within the counselor’s (and his or her profession’s) scope of practice” (p. 499). According to Corey, et al. (2011), competence is both ethical and legal issue. From an ethical perspective, counselor’s incompetence may cause harm to clients, and from a legal perspective, incompetence counselors may face a law suit malpractice. Competence is multifaceted issue and being competent to work with certain population in one area in counseling at certain time does not mean being competent to work with all the populations in all areas at all times. Ridley, Mollen, & Kelly (2011) conceptualize counseling competence as more complex way than do traditional models. They include cognitive, affective, and behavioral components to their competence model, and defined as, “the determining, facilitating, evaluating, and sustaining of intended outcomes” (p. 835). The purpose of this paper is to review the literatures regarding multicultural competence and to define critical ethical issues and ethical dilemma specific to multiculturalism. This paper also proposes specific multicultural standards and competencies that should become part of graduate schools’ curriculum for preparing a culturally competent counselor. Finally, this literature review will evaluate culturally incompetent criteria, such as counselor’s biases, stereotyping, and cultural encapsulation. Multicultural Competence

The demographic characteristics of the United States are becoming increasingly diverse (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that by the year 2050, people of minority will constitute a majority of the population (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). As the U.S. populations increase in number, a corresponding amount of multi-culturally trained counselors will be needed to provide effective counseling and psychological services for them (Poyrazli, 2011; Choa. 2005). Multiculturalism, according to Pedersen (2007; Ridley, et al., 2011), is a term that indicates any relationship between and within two or more diverse group; it involves the inclusion of all cultures and ethnic groups (Cottone & Tarvydas, 2007). Multiculturalism in counseling psychology has been noted and emphasized in theory and research, as well as in training, supervision, and practice (Pedersen, 2007). Researchers, educators, and practitioners have recognized multicultural counseling as the “fourth force” in psychology (Pedersen, 2007; Cottone & Tarvydas, 2007, p. 213), and defined it as intervention and process that defines contextual goals consistent with the...
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