Academic journal article Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development

Using Analogies to Enhance Self-Awareness and Cultural Empathy: Implications for Supervision

Academic journal article Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development

Using Analogies to Enhance Self-Awareness and Cultural Empathy: Implications for Supervision

Article excerpt

Self-awareness is conceptualized as an important component of multicultural competence among counselors. Scholars have suggested that the promotion of self-awareness and, relatedly, cultural empathy can be most effectively facilitated through the use of experiential learning. The use of analogies is presented as another method to promote multicultural competence during supervision.

La autoconciencia se conceptualiza como un componente importante de la competencia multicultural entre consejeros. Los academicos han sugerido que el fomento de la autoconciencia y, de forma relacionada, la empatia cultural puede ser facilitado de forma mas efectiva a traves del uso del aprendizaje basado en la experiencia. Se presenta el uso de analogias como otro metodo para fomentar la competencia multicultural durante la supervision.


Supervisors play an important role in helping supervisees translate theories into practice (Bernard & Goodyear, 2004). In order for supervisees to be adequately trained to work with a diverse clientele across various contexts, issues pertaining to multicultural competence need to be addressed during supervision (Ancis & Ladany, 2001). Multicultural competence among counselors has been perceived to be important enough by the American Counseling Association (ACA) to specify in the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005) that supervisors should "infuse multicultural/diversity competency in their training and supervision practices" (Standard El l.c.). Multicultural competence has been primarily conceptualized in the literature as a tripartite model that addresses the need for competencies in three broad areas: (a) self-awareness, (b) knowledge, and (c) skills (Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992). These competencies were subsequently refined and operationalized by the Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development (Arredondo et al., 1996; Roysircar, Arredondo, Fuertes, Ponterotto, & Toporek, 2003).

Multicultural competence training in general has seemed to affect knowledge and skills acquisition more than the facilitation of serf-awareness (Tomlinson-Clarke, 2000). However, findings indicate that changes in self-awareness may have the most impact in cultivating multicultural counseling competence (Torres-Rivera, Phan, Maddux, Wilbur, & Garrett, 2001). Furthermore, self-awareness is perceived to facilitate cultural empathy, which contributes to more culturally sensitive counseling (Ridley & Lingle, 1996). A number of multicultural scholars have suggested placing more emphasis on including experientially based affective learning as a component of multicultural training to improve the self-awareness and cultural empathy of counselors-in-training (Kim & Lyons, 2003; Roysircar, Gard, Hubbell, & Ortega, 2005; Tyler & Guth, 1999). Increasingly, experiential learning has been valued as a way to enhance didactic or traditional strategies for training counselors (Achenbach & Arthur, 2002; Tyler & Guth, 1999). Findings indicate that experiential learning does contribute to increased multicultural understanding (Kim & Lyons, 2003; Roysircar, Sandhu, & Bibbins, 2003). An example of an experiential activity that has become common in multicultural training is the use of popular movies (Tyler & Guth, 1999; Villalba & Redmond, 2008).

use of analogies to increase multicultural awareness

Epstein (1994) proposed in his cognitive-experiential self-theory that the use of narratives in the form of analogies is yet another way to experientially engage individuals. According to Epstein (1998), there is an experiential mind, as opposed to a rational mind, that needs to be engaged in order to bring about awareness of one's attitudes and behaviors in an interpersonal context. However, the experiential mind does not respond to words and numbers (i.e., lectures and textbooks) like the rational mind. In order to engage the experiential mind, one needs to communicate with it using its own medium, such as narratives in the form of analogies (Epstein, 1998). …

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