Multicultural Therapy Definition

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Multi-cultural counselling and therapy (MCT) has its origins in the 1970’s civil rights movements in the USA (Bimrose, (1996) as cited in Fischer, Jome & Atkinson, 1998). At this time research showed that minority groups were least likely to request and / or persevere in the counselling process. Since most counselling theories and practices are based on the world views and beliefs of white, male, middle class individuals it was suggested that these theories were not as relevant or as helpful to people from other diverse groups. These ideologies are not necessarily congruent with how people live and see the world. Bimrose ((1996) as cited in Fischer, Jome and Atkinson, 1998) suggests that the concept at the centre of traditional counselling…show more content…
Pederson (1991) suggests that culture can be defined in a very broad sense to include not only demographic differences (age, gender, place of residence, sexual orientation) but also status variations (social, educational, economic), affiliations (formal and informal), and ethnographic variables such as nationality, religion, ethnicity and language. This author discusses some of the problems and benefits of using such a broad definition but believes that the broad definition ultimately aids the counsellor. If this broad definition is used it is clear that multicultural therapy is valid for all counselling relationships - it is a generic approach to helping people not an exotic one! He therefore suggests that multicultural therapy is a fourth force to be added to the three traditional helping orientations i.e. the psychodynamic approach, the existential – humanistic approach and the cognitive approach. He proposes that people have unique differences but also have common bridges of shared…show more content…
According the Merali (1999) there are 4 steps to a multicultural approach to therapy. 1) Acquire knowledge about the cultural group to which the person belongs - this involves the acquisition of culture specific factual information and depends on a willingness to learn more about and show respect for the world view and belief systems of the person. The accumulation of this knowledge depends on well-developed cultural awareness. 2) Acquire skills to interact in a culturally sensitive manner – this is based on the realization that one particular interviewing approach is not transferrable across a wide range of clients. Here one has to be aware of things such as the fact that in some cultures directness can be seen as invasive; and that it is often inappropriate to overemphasize verbal disclosure. 3) The counsellor examines the influence of his/her own cultural upbringing on the values that relate to the
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