Multicultural Issues


Three of the five problems inherent in being a technique-drivencounselor in a multicultural setting include, the counselor assumingthat the knowledge he or she has about a client’s culture willresult in effective and suitable therapy (Patterson, 1996). Theassumption is that knowing about a client’s culture makes it easierfor the counselor to be effective in providing treatment. Inaddition, the therapist is able to use culture-specific methodsduring therapy. However, research indicates that while it isimportant for the counselor to be culturally-sensitive, the knowledgedoes not enhance successful treatment.

The second problem is using assumptions about ethnic minority groupsin providing counseling. For instance, when a counselor assumes thata specific ethnic group is adamant to self-disclose, he or she islikely to use the same counseling approach on all individuals fromthat cultural group (Patterson, 1996). Thus, the therapist believesthat a single approach is suitable for individuals from the sameethnic minority group. The problem with such a technique is that itresults in a standard counseling approach, which is ineffective.

The third problem is considering self-disclosure as a desirablebelief in counseling. Some counselors may not deem clientself-disclosure as very important during treatment. This is becausethey view it as a sought-after trait in their clients hence,assuming that if a client lacks the trait, treatment will continue tobe effective. However, Patterson (1996) notes that self-disclosure isnot just a desirable trait, but a very important factor in ensuringclient progress. Thus, every counselor must thrive to ensure thattheir client realizes the importance of self-disclosure to guaranteethat treatment is effective.

By counselors becoming humanized, Patterson (1996) implies thattherapists should change their approach towards counseling. Theyshould not merely endeavor to provide treatment, but should also worktowards improving their relationship with people from differentethnic cultures, which ensures that the differences in culturalbeliefs between the client and counselor does not have a negativeimpact on treatment (McCarthy &amp Archer, 2013).


McCarthy, C. J. &amp Archer, J.,Jr. (2013). Theories ofcounseling and psychotherapy.San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. ISBN: 9781621781059

Patterson, C. H. (1996).Multicultural counseling: From diversity to universality. Journalof Counseling and Development: JCD,74(3), 227-231.