Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Promoting Multicultural Personality Development: A Strengths-Based, Positive Psychology Worldview for Schools

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Promoting Multicultural Personality Development: A Strengths-Based, Positive Psychology Worldview for Schools

Article excerpt

This article extends the relevance of multicultural development to the Strengths-Based School Counseling (SBSC; Galassi & Akos, 2007) perspective. A relatively new construct for school counselors, the "multicultural personality" (MP), is introduced and defined. The MP is conceptualized as a cluster of narrow personality traits that can be subsumed under broader models of personality. Research has found that MP development is correlated with coping, adapting, and thriving in increasingly culturally diverse environments such as the United States. Suggestions for integrating MP development across the guiding principles of SBSC are presented.

Integral to any successful Strengths-Based School Counseling (SBSC; Galassi & Akos, 2007) model is the infusion of multiculturalism throughout every component of the model. An SBSC model that does not prepare students for interacting in, and adapting to, an increasingly culturally diverse environment is incomplete. Clearly, an important responsibility of school counselors is to facilitate students' (a) understanding of themselves, their own worldviews, and concomitant cultural biases; (b) knowledge of a multicultural history and of culturally diverse groups that they will likely encounter; and (c) skill development regarding interacting with culturally diverse individuals in new environments (Galassi & Akos; Ponterotto, Utsey, & Pedersen, 2006).

As the United States becomes more culturally diverse, multicultural strengths development will grow increasingly important in promoting academic performance, career success and satisfaction, and socio-emotional health (Galassi & Akos, 2007; Ponterotto et al., 2006). The construct that we have chosen to focus on in this article that addresses multicultural competence and effectiveness is the "multicultural personality" (MP). Although the MP construct is relatively new to the counseling literature, it is a theoretically robust and empirically supported construct that warrants the attention of school counselors and administrators.

This article is organized along four sections. First, we briefly review the ASCA National Model® and note its position on multicultural development. Second, consistent with Galassi and Akos's (2007) perspective, we highlight the salience of multicultural competence to the SBSC framework and review current demographic trends in the United States. Third, we introduce the construct of the MP and provide a succinct review of research in the area. Fourth, we outline how MP development can be integrated into the SBSC framework.

LOCATING A MULTICULTURAL STRENGTHS-BASED PERSPECTIVE IN THE ASCA NATIONAL MODEL

A close reading of the ASCA National Model (American School Counselor Association, 2005) reveals only occasional mention of issues related to cultural diversity. For example, in the report's introduction, we find the following statement: "Today, in a world enriched by diversity and technology, school counselors' chief mission is still supporting the academic achievement of all students so they are prepared for the ever-changing world of the 21st century" (ASCA, p. 8).

Other sections of the ASCA National Model allude to the importance of multicultural competence but fail to note specifics in terms of the school counselors' roles in promoting multicultural competence. Though the ASCA National Model falls short in highlighting the promotion of multicultural development in students, the SBSC framework presented by Galassi and Akos (2007) situates multicultural competence as an essential component of school counseling. In SBSC, Galassi and Akos infuse issues of multicultural development, multicultural competence, and racial/ethnic identity development into virtually all phases of the school counselor's role. The overall purpose of the present article is to build upon Galassi and Akos's multicultural-centered SBSC framework by demonstrating how the evidence-based construct of the MP can be integrated across the six guiding principles of SBSC. …

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