Professional Acculturation: A Conceptual Framework for Counselor Role Induction

Article excerpt

The authors examine factors that affect professional acculturation in the process of role induction. Previous works have omitted discussions concerning layers of values and forms of power affecting the worldview of counselors. The initial foci concern the significance of institutional and personal layers of values as well as legitimate and referent forms of power affecting acculturation and personal worldview of most people. However, the significance of professional values and expert power associated with professional counseling role are unique to the field, particularly for resolving dissonance and integrating insights in counselor role induction. The article concludes with a discussion of application for educational and practice settings.

Counselors have been greatly influenced by the past half -century of social and professional emphasis on multicultural awareness and sensitivity. Most discussions of cultural influences begin with noting an array of factors affecting acculturation. For example, Baruth and Manning (2003) noted that cultural distinctions emerged from encounters with "institutions, communications, values, religions, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, thinking, artistic expressions, and social and interpersonal relationships" (p. 8).

Counselors have been greatly influenced by the past half-century of social and professional emphasis on multicultural awareness and sensitivity. Most discussions of cultural influences begin noting an array of factors affecting acculturation. For example, Baruth and Manning (2003) noted that cultural distinctions emerged from encounters with "institutions, communications, values, religions, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, thinking, artistic expressions, and social and interpersonal relationships" (p. 8).

Krober and Kluckhohn (1952) noted that "... the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e., historically derived and selected) ideas and especially attached values" (p. 81). More recently, Wilcoxon, Magnuson, and Norem (2008) stated that "... culturally derived values become the reference point for perceived power or powerlessness, risk or security, privilege or oppression, and other experienees of social interaction" (p. 145). The attached values of family, peers, region or locale, sacred institutions, significant personal figures and public icons, and multiple other sources of influence promote one's acculturation (Sue, Carter, Casas, et. al, 1998; Sue & Sue, 2002). Acculturation yields an internalized template for understanding and interpreting experiences described as worldview (Ivey, D'Andrea, Ivey, &c Simek-Morgan, 2002).

Developmental theorists have discussed the dynamic elements of acculturation and learning related to dissonance and integration. According to Erikson (1950; 1968), dissonance is a state of tension that emerges between existing cognitive and emotional schémas upon encountering new and conflicting information. Successful resolution of dissonance occurs through integration, a process of internal accommodation to unite existing schema with new information. This interaction of dissonance and integration affects worldview. For example, one's worldview related to fairness might be grounded on a simplistic assumption of equality for rewards and opportunities. By contrast, when encountering a practice such as targeted hiring or affirmative action for under-represented cultural groups, dissonance might emerge concerning equality in opportunity, However, through integration, one could come to appreciate the value of equality, but only when equality exists as a precondition. Through the interaction of dissonance and integration, one's worldview becomes increasingly complex, but more mature and realistic (Erilcson, 1968). Ckrnversely, one's beliefs might become more firmly entrenched, leading to a decision to disengage from the reflective process necessary for integration.

The dynamics of dissonance and integration affecting one's woridview ultimately intersect the various roles in one's life. …