Experiential Approach for Developing Multicultural Counseling Competence


Mary L. Fawcett & Kathy M. Evans

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Rationale and Foundation

    Part II: Counselor Awareness of Own Cultural Values and Biases

    Part III: Counselor Awareness of Client's Worldview

    Part IV: Culturally Appropriate Intervention Strategies

  • Dedication

    This work is dedicated to all those who have been marginalized or misunderstood due to racism, prejudice, and social injustice.


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    This book is for you, the student preparing for a career in counseling or mental health. Students often complain that what they learn in their textbooks does not apply in real life, and for the most part they are right. Most textbooks are designed to inform students of important concepts and ideas critical to their understanding of the field. To get closer to real life, students need a different kind of book—a book that can help them apply the knowledge imparted in their textbooks. It is a tremendous challenge for your instructors to include everything required in the curriculum within the confines of the academic classroom, and one of the best ways they have found to supplement what they do in class is to design activities for students to complete outside the classroom. This book is a ready-made resource of multicultural and diversity-related activities that your instructors can assign for you to enhance your learning in class. You may already be using books that support your textbooks in several of your courses. This book is unique among such books in a couple of ways. First, it can be applied to all of the core courses in the counseling curriculum. Second, it is developmental in that it is designed to help you build multicultural and diversity-related competencies from the beginning level to an advanced level.

    As you progress through your training as a counselor, the foundation of your learning will encompass the following eight core areas, as defined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2009): Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice, Social and Cultural Diversity, Human Growth and Development, Career Development, Helping Relationships, Assessment, Group Work, and Research and Program Evaluation. These foundation courses are critical to your growth as a professional. Equally as important are your multicultural competence and sensitivity to diversity. The exercises in this book will assist you in integrating your core counseling competencies, multicultural competencies, and sensitivity to diversity. While the focus of this book is on the CACREP standards and American Counseling Association (ACA) multicultural competencies, the activities in this book are applicable to trainees in psychology, social work, psychiatric nursing, and other mental health fields who are looking to better serve oppressed groups.

    Individuals are likely to be in different places where these competencies are concerned; therefore, this book offers exercises for everyone, from those who are just discovering particular skills to those who have greater experience and just need to tweak their skills to take them to an even higher level. We are certain that you will find the exercises stimulating as well as educational.

    A final note about “conversations” deserves attention. Many of the activities and exercises presented here include instructions or recommendations that you have conversations with others about subjects that are relevant to the multicultural competencies in the particular chapters. These conversations may be difficult as you explore personal and sensitive topics with others. In the counseling literature we are beginning to see more discussion of “difficult conversations” (Sue, Lin, Torino, Capodilupo, & Rivera, 2009; Sue et al., 2011) in classrooms, between colleagues, and among groups of students. This is an apt term, because conversations in which you speak to others about their experiences with oppression, your biases, individuals' intentional and unintentional microaggressions, and other related important topics can be difficult, but such conversations help us to become more culturally competent as counselors. When you realize you are engaged in one of these conversations you may note that perhaps the intensity of the discussion becomes greater or you are developing unease as you move further into self-disclosure. When you realize you are in one of these moments, we hope that you will understand that you are entering what for many of us is uncharted territory and that you will do what is required to move forward: Remain calm, be honest, summon courage, and express gratitude to the other person. You can also appreciate that this is what many counselors call a personal growth experience, in which you receive meaningful insights about yourself. So, as you move through these activities and exercises, we hope you experience many “difficult conversations” and reap the rewards of doing so, because you will be continuing to move along on your journey to becoming a culturally competent counselor.


    We would like to acknowledge the following people for their valuable contributions to the activities and exercises presented in this volume:

    • Karla Briseño, Ed.S. Candidate
    • Kimberly J. Desmond, Ph.D.
    • Kirsten W. Murray, Ph.D.
    • Mónica M. Revak, M.A., M.S.Ed.
    • Astrid Rios, M.S.
    • Samuel Sanabria, Ph.D.
    • Brian Smith, Ph.D.
    • Debbie C. Sturm, Ph.D.
    • Michael Tlanusta Garrett, Ph.D.
    • Cyrus R. Williams, Ph.D.

    We would also like to thank Kassie Graves for helping us make this book a reality. Finally, we want to thank the following reviewers: Rhonda M. Bryant, Albany State University; Glenn B. Gelman, Roosevelt University; Björg S. Hermannsdóttir, Ball State University; J. Osia Jaoko, Campbellsville University; Terry G. Polinskey, John Brown University; Karen D. Rowland, Mercer University; A. Renee Staton, James Madison University; and Pratyusha Tummala-Narra, Boston College.

  • About the Authors

    Mary L. Fawcett received her doctorate from the University of South Carolina and is currently a full professor at Winona State University. She has more than 12 years of experience as an educator and counselor, with interests in counselor training and supervision with an emphasis on multicultural competency development. She has developed and led several Guatemala travel study immersion courses for graduate counselor education students. She has published articles in major journals about research in the following areas: gender and career development in secondary students, academic risk factors of K-12 students, and the effectiveness of immersion experiences on the multicultural competency development of counselor education students.

    Kathy M. Evans, who received her doctorate from the Pennsylvania State University, is associate professor at the University of South Carolina, where she is the program coordinator of the Counselor Education Program. She is widely published, with articles in major journals and chapters in key textbooks in the area of multicultural counseling, with special emphases on issues of race, career counseling, and feminist issues. Her most recent books include Gaining Cultural Competence in Career Counseling and Introduction to Feminist Therapy.

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