Multi/Cross-cultural Competence: Integrating Universal and Particular Perspectives

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

Abstract: Multi/cross cultural competence is a core value of the counseling profession (ACA, 2005; ACES; 1972; AMHCA, 2000; ASCA, 2004; CACREP; 2001; NBCC, 2005). Although various theoretical approaches have been developed to describe multi/cross-cultural competence, one approach has garnered the most acceptance (D'Andrea, 2002; Mollen, Ridley, & Hill, 2003; Weinrach & Thomas 2002). This approach, first introduced by D.W. Sue and his colleagues in 1982, was further revised in 1992, 1996, and 2001. The 1992 version, entitled the ACA/AMCD Multicultural Counseling Competencies, has been adopted officially by the American Counseling Association and a number of its divisions. As multi/cross-cultural counseling has grown in prominence, counselors have debated the relative influence of general helping skills, such as the use of empathy, and specific training on effective work with diverse clients (Arredondo & Toporek, 2004; Fukuyama, 1991; Locke, 1991; Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992; Weinrach & Thomas, 2002). The view that general helping skills are sufficient has been termed the universalist perspective, while the view that specialized training is necessary has been termed the particularist perspective (Pederson, 1991b). In this study, universalist and particularist perspectives were integrated and their relative influence on supervisors's ratings of counseling student multi/cross-cultural counseling competence was explored. Study instrumentation included the Scale of Ethnocultural Empathy (SEE; Wang et al., 2003) as a measure of empathy. The Multicultural Counseling Competence and Training Survey - Revised (Holcomb-McCoy & Day-Vines, 2004) and the Multiethnic Identity Measure-1999 (MEIM-1999; Roberts, Phinney, Masse, Chen, Roberts, & Romero, 1999) were used as measures of the particularist perspective. Supervisor ratings of competence were measured with the Cross-Cultural Counseling Inventory - Revised (CCCI-R; LaFromboise, Hernandez, & Coleman, 1995). Based on past research (Constantine & Ladany, 2002), the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MCSDS; Crowne & Marlowe, 1960) also was administered. A total of 101 student counselor instrument packets and 21 supervisor instruments were returned out of the 216 packets that were mailed. Responses were received from a total of 10 counselor education programs in the north central and southern United States. On average, student counselors were 30.5 years of age (SD = 8.5) and 87% self reported their ethnicity as European American. Supervisors were an average of 38 years of age (SD = 9.4) and 16 of 21 reported European American as their ethnicity. The number of student counselors per supervisor ranged between two and eleven. Not all study hypotheses were tested due to the observed factor structure in the study's instrumentation. Results of data analyses related to the relationship between empathy and the tripartite model with supervisor ratings of student counselor competence were inconclusive. Similarly, life experience variables, such as the number of languages spoken, interactions with members of diverse ethnic groups, among others, did not predict counselor empathy self-ratings or supervisor ratings of multi/cross-cultural counseling competence. The results of this study, however, do not eliminate the possibility that universal and particular perspectives complement each other and should be explored further. Results also suggest that continued research on the measurement of empathy and multi/cross-cultural counseling competence is warranted.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
multicultural counseling, cross-cultural counseling, guidance, empathy, particular, universal

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