Multiculturalism

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Question:
Mauritius is considered to be a culturally diverse society with different cultures living in harmony together. According to you, is there a need for multicultural counselling competencies when providing for counselling? Answer:

The significance for counsellors is that developing and maintaining multicultural counselling skills is imperative if counsellors are to provide adequate assistance to the clients they are charged with serving. Counsellors and counsellor educators “…need to be aware and recognized their cultural encapsulation and work to overcome it” (Vinson & Neimeyer, 2000, p. 177). Most providers are trained only in delivering services to the majority population. Counsellors are unaware of the life experiences of the ethnic minority patient (Duran & Duran, 1995, p8).  Counselling theories and practices are based on values that are adopted from European models. These dominant theories that are the basis of counsellor training and practice, include all of the major assessment tools, according to Duran and Duran (l995), perpetuating colonialism and the domination of people with different worldviews. However, there is a growing awareness of the changing multicultural basis of the Mauritian society and of a more holistic and non-eurocentric counselling approaches need to be adopted by practitioners. While there is “increased attention to diversity and multiculturalism in the counselling profession” (Walden, Herlihy & Ashton, 2003, p. 109), there is still much to be done to move counselling towards a “post-colonial” approach. In other words, moving the counselling profession towards more openness to diversity and a greater acceptance of other worldviews and culturally different counselling practices. Helms and Cook (1999) state that ultimately, the outcomes of the counselling process are the result of what both, counsellor and client bring to session, which to a large extent, is influenced by racial or cultural factors. Helms and Cook (1999) outline four main components: ·        The input of psychological, race, and cultural reactions of clients and counsellors; ·        The social role involving counsellor skills and theoretical orientation and client reactions, preferences, and expectations; ·        Process variables including racial matching and identity levels; and ·        The outcome phase which is marked by distal and psychological factors such as attrition, service utilization, symptom remission, racial development, and cultural congruence. In their cross-cultural Competencies Model Sue, Arrendondo & McDavis (l993) explain what makes a multicultural counsellor. This model is multidimensional, divided into three domains: attitudes/beliefs, knowledge, and skills. It is based on the counsellor’s awareness of his/her personal cultural values and biases and the client's worldview in order to develop culturally appropriate intervention strategies.  Counsellor Awareness of Assumptions, Biases and Values

 Attitudes and Beliefs
The starting point of multicultural counselling is within the counsellor in that to be effective in working with people who come from different cultures, one must become aware of one’s values, biases and beliefs. A counsellor should be aware and sensitive to one’s cultural heritage. That means recognizing that differences exist and that if one is to practice within the Mauritian culture, it is important to value and respect such differences. Along with one’s cultural background, there are experiences that are coloured by attitudes from the majority community reflecting not only values, but also biases that have influenced one’s psychological processes. Knowing that psychological processes are determined to a great degree by culture, counsellors need to identify how cultural experiences limit counselling competencies. The counsellor needs to be comfortable with acknowledging and discussing cultural, ethnic, and racial differences. Resulting to this...
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