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International immersion: an exploratory study of critical factors, sustained impact and counselor development

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sejal Mehta (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Craig Cashwell

Abstract: The number of ethnic and racial minorities in the United States has been increasing exponentially in recent years (Cordero & Rodriguez, 2009; Leong & Blustein, 2000). Due to the growing percentages of minority populations, greater attention has been placed on the unique health care needs of these individuals, including access to and quality of mental health services (Alexander, Kruczek, & Ponterotto, 2005; Gilin & Young, 2009). Although counseling as a profession emphasizes diversity training in preparation standards (CACREP, 2009) and cultural competence in ethical standards (ACA, 2005), few counselor preparation programs have employed effective methods to train counselors how to therapeutically connect with people from culturally diverse backgrounds (Alexander et al., 2005; Coleman, 2006). One way for counselors to challenge their existing worldviews and assumptions and to develop cultural competency is through engaging in international immersion in which participants are provided an opportunity to participate and interact directly with people from diverse backgrounds (Canfield, Low, & Hovestadt, 2009; Pope-Davis & Coleman, 1997). Although both national and international immersion experiences have been accepted as effective pedagogical tools, to date researchers have not examined the sustained impact of immersion experiences on counselor development (Lindsey, 2005; Majewski & Turner, 2007; Rochelle, Turpin & Elias, 2000). To this end, the purpose of this research study was to assess the impact of international immersion on counselor development and to assess whether changes attributed to participation in immersion experiences were sustained over time. Data from the current study was analyzed using the Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) methodology. CQR is an iterative process that emphasizes the use of a research team to analyze the data and reach consensus throughout a multi-step coding process (Hill, Thompson, & Williams, 1997). The data for each case (N=10) was initially coded into domains and core ideas and then analyzed across all ten cases, generating categories to further organize the data. The current study generated eight categories that were labeled as `general' findings, 17 categories that were labeled as `typical' findings, and 45 categories that were labeled `variant' findings. Implications from the current study and suggestions for future research are provided.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Counselor development, International immersion, Multicultural pedagogy, Qualitative
Counselors $x Training of
Cross-cultural counseling $z United States $v Case studies