Multiculturalism in Counseling Theories Chapter

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Counseling Alternatives in Modern Times

There are certainly several benefits to counseling theories that consist of contemporary, multicultural, and Biopsychosocial counseling and its integration. However, since each of these respective types of counseling theories focus on a particular aspect of psychology and counseling, there are also drawbacks to them as well. Perhaps the true strength in each of these theories lies in their integration -- both with one another and with other theories in general.

The most salient positive associated with multicultural counseling theories and integration is the emphasis they place on one's cultural identity. As such, clinicians are supposed to help cultivate a client's cultural identity -- which greatly pertains to his or her ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, and other eminent cultural factors. Another boon associated with this approach is that it considers the client as a unique individual, one whose identity "is embedded in multiple levels of experience and context" Sue, 1995, p. 647). This focus on individuality and cultural factors is certainly a relief for clients' historic minority background which might not fit into the typecast and socio-cultural considerations of Westernization that founded some of the classic theories in psychological counseling. The drawbacks associated with this theory
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pertain to the expectations of the clinician, which typically requires some sort of experience and understanding of a vast number of cultures -- at least those of his or her clients -- to help shape their identities. This drawback would likely present the biggest challenging to an emerging counselor who is not well versed in different cultures. I can help my student or supervisee to overcome this obstacle by providing consultation on a need to know basis about the nuances of various cultures, sine I have a fair amount of experience in this regard.

The pros of Biopsychosocial theory and its integration pertain to the holistic approach that characterizes this form of counseling. It is beneficial that it goes beyond mere biological and psychological points of consideration for the trauma or issues that a client is undergoing, and considers the social causes as well (Borrell-Carrio et al., 2004, p. 576). In this respect, this approach utilizes a three-dimensional methodology for considering the needs of client, which is certainly useful for those who are influenced by social factors. Again, the detriments of this methodology are that it requires the clinician to have a greater range of understanding about the factors affecting…

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References

Banks, J.A., Banks, C.A., McGee, E. (1995). Sue, D.S. Toward a theory of multicultural counseling and therapy. In Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education. New York: MacMillan Publishing.

Borrell-Carrio, F., Suchman, A.L., Epstein, R.M. (2004). The Biopsychosocial model 25 years later: Principles, practice and scientific inquiry. www.annfammed.org / Retrieved from http://www.annfammed.org/content/2/6/576.full

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