Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Using a Multicultural Framework to Assess Supervisees' Perceptions of Culturally Competent Supervision

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Using a Multicultural Framework to Assess Supervisees' Perceptions of Culturally Competent Supervision

Article excerpt

The area of multicultural counseling competence has received increased attention in the psychology literature over the past several years. Cultural competence in counseling has been defined as involving an awareness of one's own cultural assumptions and biases, understanding the worldviews of culturally diverse clients, and being committed to developing ways of appropriately working with diverse clients, including assuming a number of nontraditional counseling roles, such as that of an advocate (Ancis, 2004; Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992; Toporek, Gerstein, Fouad, Roysircar-Sodowsky, & Israel, 2005).

Despite the emphasis in the counseling literature on preparing multiculturally competent counselors, the question remains as to when and where counselors acquire their multicultural competence (Holcomb-McCoy & Myers, 1999). C. Bradley and Fiorini (1999) noted that specific multicultural counseling training via course work was not required before practicum in approximately 70% of the academic programs they studied, which may mean that trainees may gain multicultural knowledge in areas other than their academic programs. Given that many trainees receive limited multicultural counseling instruction before their practicum training, there seems to be an increased need to understand how the supervisory relationship addresses issues of multicultural competence for trainees.

Counseling supervision is an aspect of training designed to facilitate the counselor's professional and personal development and promote competence (L. J. Bradley & Kottler, 2001). Multicultural supervision refers to supervisory situations in which supervisors and trainees examine a variety of cultural issues pertinent to effectively counseling diverse clients (Leong & Wagner, 1994). Multicultural supervision may involve the development of cultural awareness, exploration of the cultural dynamics of the counseling supervisory relationship, and discussion of the cultural assumptions of traditional counseling theories (Robinson, Bradley, & Hendricks, 2000). Addressing multicultural issues in supervision has been viewed as essential to helping trainees conduct ethical and effective practice with diverse clients (Ancis & Ladany, 2001). Yet relatively little attention has been paid to multicultural supervision or the process by which multicultural issues are addressed in supervision.

The supervisory relationship has the potential to foster multicultural competence and translate a counselor's theoretical knowledge into actual practice (Martinez & Holloway, 1997). Supervisors and supervisees have both recommended that increasing discussion of cultural issues could enhance the supervisory relationship, specifically regarding multicultural issues (Constantine, 1997). Research indicates that when cultural variables are discussed and attended to in the supervisory relationship, supervisees report significantly higher satisfaction with supervision, experience an enhanced working alliance, and perceive the supervisor as more credible 0nman, 2006; Silvestri, 2003; Tsong, 2005; Yang, 2005). Similarly, Toporek, Ortega-Villalobos, and Pope-Davis (2004) found that supervisees perceive an increased multicultural awareness as a result of positive multicultural interactions with their supervisors. Trainees' perceptions of their supervisors' cultural competence may also affect how the trainees incorporate supervisory suggestions, feedback, and multiculturalism into client sessions (Pope-Davis, Liu, Toporek, & Brittan-Powell, 2001).

Given these findings, an understanding of how supervisors attend to cultural variables in supervision may provide insight into the development of cultural competence in counselor trainees. More information is needed regarding the types of multicultural issues experienced in supervision by both supervisors and supervisees (Toporek et al., 2004). Despite existing research on the general training perspectives of supervisees, the experiences and perceptions of supervisees in multicultural supervision relationships have remained relatively unexplored (Hird, Cavalieri, Dulko, Felice, & Ho, 2001; Inman, 2006). …

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