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Multicultural competence: An exploration of traditional theories of counseling

24 July 2006


Multicultural counseling and competencies have been an important topic in psychotherapy literature. Sue, Arredondo and McDavis (1992) proposed competencies to guide counselors in becoming multiculturally competent. However, the models and guidelines developed for culturally sensitive psychotherapy have been criticized for being disconnected from the more traditional counseling orientations. This study was conducted to determine if traditional counseling theories have components of multicultural competencies embedded in them and to explore a means of reconciling the differences between multicultural and traditional counseling literature. Three counseling orientations were selected for examination; cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy and gestalt therapy. It was determined that they all have certain aspects, if practiced competently, address the multicultural competencies. The three orientations have other aspects however, that need to be emphasized when working with culturally different clients in order to realize multicultural competency.


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