Multicultural Counseling: A 10-Year Content Analysis of the Journal of Counseling & Development

Article excerpt

The 1991 Journal of Counseling & Development (JCD) special issue "Multiculturalism as a Fourth Force in Counseling" (Pedersen, 1991) was a major contribution, heralding the increase in publications related to multiculturalism during this past decade. Prior to the 1990s, there was a paucity of multicultural or culture-specific literature in counseling and psychology. Noteworthy exceptions were special issues of Counseling and Values (Boy, 1972) and The Personnel and Guidance Journal with "Counseling the Culturally Different" (Sue, 1977). Periodically, multicultural-focused articles appeared in journals of the American Counseling Association (ACA), including The School Counselor, Counseling and Religious Values (now Counseling and Values), and Journal of Non-White Concerns in Personnel and Guidance (now Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development). The focus in the majority of these contributions was on clients of ethnic minority heritage and how to best serve these clients. A global cultural approach was taken with minimal consideration of within-group differences and variability based on distinct dimensions of personal identity (Arredondo & Glauner, 1992); historical life experiences; cross-cultural developmental patterns; and/or one's personal, family, and contextual life experiences. As an example, this approach did not distinguish among Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, or Cuban Americans; these ethnic minority groups were all portrayed as Hispanics.

Other points of historical departure for multicultural research, models, and subsequent publications have been Cross-Cultural Competencies (Sue et al., 1982) and the Multicultural Counseling Competencies developed by professional development committees of the Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD). "Multicultural Counseling Competencies and Standards: A Call to the Profession" (Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992) and "Operationalization of the Multicultural Counseling Competencies" (Arredondo et al., 1996) have become benchmark documents for the counseling and psychology professions. Central to all of the competencies, from 1982 through 1996, are dimensions and issues of culture, ethnicity, and race. These documents have spawned the development of content- and context-specific multicultural competencies and have influenced the development of parallel guidelines in the American Psychiatric Association (Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, 2002), the American Psychological Association (2003), and by the Council of National Associations for the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Issues (2000). Thus, it seemed appropriate to examine the emergence of new multicultural publications in JCD.

Dimensions of Personal Identity

To demonstrate the complexity and inclusiveness of the multicultural construct and to respond to criticisms about the lack of attention to social identities, in addition to ethnicity and race, the Dimensions of Personal Identity Model (see Figure 1) was introduced in the 1996 Multicultural Counseling Competencies document (Arredondo et al., 1996). The model is multidimensional (A, B, and C dimensions) and posits fixed (e.g., A dimensions: age, gender, and race) and fluid or dynamic features (e.g., B dimensions: geographic location, education, and work experience)

of a person's individual identity. The C dimension of the model introduces contextual and sociopolitical considerations, many of which are out of the control of individuals and groups but may have a direct or indirect impact on a person. For example, slavery, the Depression of 1929-1933, and the Holocaust are all considered events or contextual factors that have had a residual effect on individuals of specific ethnic and racial heritage and, in the case of the Depression, on families with less education and lower economic status. The model suggests that the A and C dimensions influence the opportunities and experiences individuals and groups may or may not have access to in the B dimensions. …