Racial Sensitivity and Multicultural Training

By Martin Strous | Go to book overview

6
Hearing Clients’ Inner Talk
in Multicultural Contexts:
Pedersen’s Triad Model

The Triad Model was developed by Paul Pedersen in order to train students in individual counseling with culturally diverse clients. The Triad Model has a multicultural focus, which acknowledges that, at least in the United States, the vast majority of clients receiving mental health services are nonWhite, from lower socio-economic levels, and differ significantly from counselors in their socialization and value assumptions.

According to Pedersen (1977; 1983; 1985; 1988; 1997; 2000), cultural background influences the way counseling is given and how it is received, but few opportunities exist for counselors to be trained for work with culturally different clients. Although clients make culturally informed value assumptions, there has been a lack of coordinated training in cultural sensitivity for mental health professionals. There is a tendency to assume that clients and counselors share the same value assumptions in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary. An assumption exists that counselors know the meaning of what is healthy and normal, when, in fact, they may merely be reflecting their own cultural encapsulation and political, social, or economic values. The constructs of healthy and normal which guide mental health services delivery are not the same across all cultures and might lend to culturally encapsulated counselors becoming a tool of particular political, social, or economic orders.

The multicultural focus that underpins the Triad Model has as its goal the increased understanding by counselors of diverse client groups and improved multicultural interventions. In Triad Model training, simulated counseling interviews and role-playing allow counselor trainees to make mistakes and learn recovery skills in multicultural contexts without risk to actual clients.

In its most basic form, this training model comprises a role-play between a counselor, a client, and an anticounselor. The anticounselor is a person selected from the client’s cultural group and coached to role-play, in a simulated cross-cultural counseling interview, a personification of a client’s problem. The anticounselor is deliberately subversive in attempting to disrupt the counseling interview and pulls in opposite direction to the counselor who is attempting to solve the problem. Through the supply of continuous and direct feedback to trainee counselors from the anticounselor, who personifies the change-resisting problem, sources of resistance in crosscultural counseling are explicated. The trainee counselor thus receives immediate

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