Multicultural Counseling - Hispanic A broad definition of the term 'multiculturalism' embraces a wide range of social variables or differences. For example: gender, sexual preference, disability, social class, age, religion, ethnicity. Pederson (1994) proposed a broad definition of multicultural counseling, which includes: 'Ethnographic variables such as ethnicity, nationality, religion and language; demographic variables such as age, gender and place of residence; status variables such as social, educational and economic; and affiliations including both formal affiliations to family or organizations and informal affiliations to ideas and a lifestyle' (p229). In this broad definition, each person has many different cultures or identities with each identity becoming relevant at different times and places. He argues that multiculturalism emphasizes both the way we are different from and similar to other people. It challenges those who have presumed that differences don't matter as well as those who have over emphasized differences (often perpetuating stereotypes Ivey et al. (1997, p134) describe multicultural counseling as a 'mettheoretical approach that recognizes that all helping methods ultimately exist within a cultural context'. They go on to argue that multiculturalism: Starts with awareness of differences among and within clients; Stresses the importance of family and cultural factors affecting the way clients view the world. Challenges practitioners, theoreticians and researchers to rethink the meaning of counseling, and pay attention to family and cultural concerns. By these definitions, multiculturalism has relevance for every client presenting for careers counseling and guidance in the UK. Origins and relevance of multicultural counseling
Bimrose (1996, p238) traces the origins of multicultural counseling to the American Civil Rights movement in the mid 1970s. Around this time, questions were asked about the groups of people who never requested counseling, or, if they came along for a first session, did not return. A clear pattern emerged. Clients from minority ethnic groups were the least likely to request and/or persevere with counseling. The most widely accepted explanation is that counseling (and guidance) practice is an ethnocentric activity. Many authors (e.g. Ridley, 1995, Lago & Thompson 1996, Sue et al, 1996 and Sue & Sue, 1999) have argued that mainstream approaches are white, middle class activities that operate with many distinctive values and assumptions. For example, that clients will be future and action orientated. Such approaches are ethnocentric or ‘culturally encapsulated’ (Wrenn, 1985), holding at their center a notion of normality derived from white culture, which is irrelevant to many clients and has the potential for alienating them.
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