CEP 634 Multicultural Counseling

Dr. Amy Reynolds

The cultures, issues, and perspectives of "culturally different" groups have been ignored in traditional counseling and psychotherapy, both historically and, to an unfortunately great extent, still today. Perspectives and judgments of the dominant group have been imposed, which has done great harm to women and minorities. In response to these problems, two major approaches to multicultural counseling and psychotherapy have developed: (a) focused culture-specific approaches to particular groups, especially racial/ethnic groups targeted by racism in the U.S., and feminist therapy for women, and (b) transcultural, universal approaches, which define culture more broadly (to include gender, sexual/affectional orientation, socioeconomic status, age, disabilities, etc.) and assume that certain factors are important regardless of culture or group. The first approach emphasizes the importance of understanding the cultures and circumstances of particular groups, which the second approach emphasizes the importance of general information about acculturation, identity development, and oppression. This course rests on the assumption that both of these approaches are important; thus, the course will be presented from an integrated perspective. Students will be offered (a) an opportunity to explore and become aware of their own attitudes, beliefs, and biases about their own affiliative groups (e.g. culture, sex, sexual orientation) as well as other affiliative groups, and (b) an opportunity to acquire knowledge about the experiences and concerns of several particular groups, and ways counseling and psychology are struggling to incorporate such concerns into practice and research. Readings for the course will include both textbook material and primary sources. Issues of multicultural counseling and psychotherapy with adults will probably be the primary focus, although issues of work with children, assessment, and research may also be included, depending on class composition and students