Key Words in Multicultural Interventions: A Dictionary

Key Words in Multicultural Interventions: A Dictionary

Key Words in Multicultural Interventions: A Dictionary

Key Words in Multicultural Interventions: A Dictionary

Synopsis

An essential resource for those interested in multicultural issues, this dictionary presents common terms used in multicultural counseling and research. The terms are not only denotatively defined, but connotations are also included, as well as historical information and important writings about the terms. The dictionary is thus not only a straightforward compendium of definitions, but also a resource for further investigation.

Excerpt

It has often been said that the words people use give one a sense of who they are, what they value and believe, how they choose to express themselves, and their knowledge of language. Words, then, give us clues about the whim and fancy of people. Also, it can be said that one of the best ways to understand an academic field is to become intimately familiar with its vocabulary. Indeed, academic disciplines have developed unique words, idioms, lexicons, terms, concepts, and constructs to describe, explain, discuss, and promote understanding. Some scholars have suggested that one of the best ways to understand an academic discipline is to trace its development by carefully studying its idiosyncratic terms. Astute observers of human behavior even suggest that one can discern a person's profession by the words they use.

For many cultural and tribal groups, certain words have spiritual qualities. These often highly revered words are thought to have a living quality--a life and spiritual force of their own. These words typically are reserved for use by shamans, religious leaders, sorcerers, and healers. Some shamans, for example, will seek wisdom and guidance through use of an archaic language, a language learned through relationships and instructions from spiritual guides. Some tribal groups believe that if one speaks "sacred words" without the authority to do so, shame, illness, and even death may come to pass. Hence, sacred or living words are rarely written but passed on through oral tradition from one generation to the next. Sacred words are unrevealed to all but a select few, and their archaic origins remain embedded in the folk customs of the community. Yet sacred words and their corresponding archaic language are firmly imprinted in the lifeways and thoughtways of many cultural groups; such words may have a strong relationship with multicultural counseling but for apparent reasons are beyond the scope of this dictionary.

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