Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Profiling Derald Wing Sue: Blazing the Trail for the Multicultural Journey and Social Justice in Counseling

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Profiling Derald Wing Sue: Blazing the Trail for the Multicultural Journey and Social Justice in Counseling

Article excerpt

When Derald Wing Sue was first approached for his support for this profile, regarding his contributions to the counseling profession, his initial reaction was to decline the offer. Although he was flattered to be considered, he repeatedly said he did not consider himself as a senior pioneer in the profession. This modest reaction is certainly characteristic of Sue, who has never trumpeted his considerable accomplishments and has seldom sought the spotlight. Yet, the counseling profession owes him a great debt for his trailblazing efforts in providing much of the impetus, scholarly foundation, and leadership for understanding the role of racial, cultural, and ethnic variables in the counseling process. Sue's ideas and writings have served as a cornerstone for the development of a multicultural approach to counseling. Appropriately, Ponterotto and Sabnani (1989) have described Sue as the 20th century's most influential contributor to multicultural counseling.

The purpose of this profile is to provide a deeper understanding regarding Sue's historical centrality in the creation and development of multicultural approaches to counseling. Given that Sue is still active in his career, this article serves as a celebratory review of his past contributions as well as a look into the future as he continues what he has called the "multicultural journey." A review of Sue's contributions is, in many respects, a review of the recent history of multicultural counseling and psychology. Commencing with his graduate training in the 1960s, Sue's professional career has spanned five decades, over which time he has exerted and continues to exert a profound influence on contemporary counseling theory and practice. His contributions have been pivotal in presenting an alternative view of counseling that introduced a multicultural perspective to the profession. The counseling profession has been substantially challenged as well as transformed in the process. His writings in the 1970s were in the vanguard in expanding the initial paths of the multicultural journey of cross-cultural counseling (Sue, 1973). In the 1980s, Sue's leadership was at the forefront regarding the initial formulation of cross-cultural counseling competencies (Sue et al., 1982). In the 1990s, his writings about multicultural counseling enhanced both theory and practice (Sue, Ivey, & Pedersen, 1996). As we enter the new millennium, Sue has again taken a leadership role in developing approaches targeting the general population to help individuals understand and overcome racism (Sue, 2003).

Important professional accomplishments during his career have established Sue as a major contributor to counseling and psychology beyond a solitary focus on multicultural concerns. Sue has authored books on personality theory (Sue, 1970), introductory psychology (Schroth & Sue, 1976), and abnormal behavior (Sue, Sue, & Sue, 2004). These books were also pioneering efforts at presenting psychology with a richer appreciation of the importance of cultural differences as individual differences.

Sue's reputation as a prolific writer, scholar, and teacher is well-deserved--his collected works on culturally diverse counseling include 6 specialty books, more than 27 book chapters, and 60 articles, with additional publications being produced each year. In addition, Sue has been a primary contributor to over a dozen media productions promoting counselor sensitivity and understanding of cultural differences in counseling. His drive and work ethic are almost legendary. Sue's passion for his work has not flagged over the years. He recently retired from his West Coast position as a professor of educational psychology at California State University at Hayward, following almost 30 years of teaching and scholarly activity. While living on the West Coast, he also served on the faculty of the California School for Professional Psychology. Currently, Sue continues his groundbreaking work on multicultural counseling as a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. …

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