AMCD Multicultural Competencies
The American Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD) Multicultural Counseling Competencies have both strengths and limitations. The American Counseling Association (2014) Code of Ethics requires counselors to display multicultural sensitivity to the needs of an increasingly more culturally diverse nation of people (ACA, 2014). The development of the AMCD Multicultural Counseling Competencies (1996) provides a guide for counselors to identify and address the “dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression that influence the counseling relationship” (Ratts, Singh, Nassar-McMillan, Butler, & McCullough, 2015). Having counselors complete on-going self-assessment and receive additional training and knowledge about culturally diverse clientele is a positive step towards promoting understanding and sensitivity to the issues of culturally different people (Hays, 2016; Sue & Sue, 2016). However, the theories, interventions, and techniques taught in educational institutions are developed from the viewpoint of the dominant culture in the United States and lacks the cultural perspectives of minority groups, thereby limiting the effectiveness of implementation, despite counselor initiative (Sue & Sue, 2016).
Recommendations to Enhance Guidelines
McIntosh (1990) encourages counselors to look at ways to limit their level of privilege instead of constructing and acting on the belief of raising the level of access of minorities in the United States to meet their standards of privilege. Advocacy efforts at the macrosystemic level would focus less on bringing others up to the standard of the dominant culture, but more on the leveling of the standards of equality, to encompass all people, and the acceptance of their cultural diversity. I believe that creating new competencies that take into account the worldview of the world’s majority as the standard for developing cultural competence and skills enhancement will allow counselors to learn from the experiences of the histories written from the perspective of other cultures. Also requiring institutions of training for professional helpers to develop research findings that are based on the positive achievements of minorities and culturally diverse populations, will allow for the advancement of beliefs and attitude formation that are more realistic of the experiences diverse clients (Sue & Sue, 2016). I would also like to see an acceptance of boundary crossing and self-disclosure as a norm for establishing rapport and trust with culturally diverse populations that may lack trust due to a history of oppression and the impact of microaggressions committed against them (Sue & Sue, 2016).
Working with Culturally Diverse Clients
With my recommended enhancements to the AMCD Multicultural Counseling Competencies (1996) counselors will be able to understand the dynamic differences and strengths better that clients from culturally different perspectives bring to the counseling relationship (Sue & Sue, 2016). Self and client awareness will positively impact the interactions and perceptions of diversely different views and cultures because additional research will produce more positive representations of the culturally diverse (Sue & Sue, 2016). Multiculturally competent counselors recognize there is more than one perspective when clients have presenting issues that bring them to counseling (Hays, 2016). Listening with intent to the client’s reality in light of their cultural worldview will allow the counselor to establish a rapport. Establishing therapeutic requirements that focus on trust building and self-disclosure, authorizing some boundary crossings, where culturally appropriate, are important in creating a therapeutic alliance within some cultural contexts (Remley & Herlihy, 2015; Sue & Sue, 2016). When an initial level of trust has been established through culturally-sensitive adaptations, clients may be more apt to return to counseling (Kumpfer, Alvarado, Smith, & Bellamy, 2002; Sue & Sue, 2016).
Without a bond, hopefulness, and trust it may be impossible to set an atmosphere that is necessary for change within the individuals, professional, microsystems and macrosystems in which people reciprocally interact (Sue & Sue, 2016). Multiculturally competent counselors not only advocate for social change, but are willing to lay down their privileges to level the ground for all people, and not just to raise a standard to their level of privilege (McIntosh, 1990; Hays, 2016; Sue & Sue, 2016).
American Counseling Association (ACA). (2014). 2014 ACA code of ethics [White Paper]. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4
Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD). (1996). AMCD multicultural counseling competencies. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/Resources/Competencies/Multicultural_Competencies.pdf
Hays, P. A. (2016). Addressing cultural complexities in practice: Assessment, diagnosis, and
therapy (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Kumpfer, K. L., Alvarado, R., Smith, P., & Bellamy, N. (2002). Cultural sensitivity and
adaptation in family-based prevention interventions. Prevention Science, 3(3), 241–246.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
McIntosh, P. (1990). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Independent School,
Ratts, M. J., Singh, A. A., Nassar-McMillan, S., Butler, S. K., & McCullough, J. R. (2015). Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies. Retrieved fromhttps://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/competencies/multicultural-and-social-justice-counseling-competencies.pdf?sfvrsn=20
Remley, T. P., Jr., & Herlihy, B. (2016). Ethical, legal, and
professional issues in counseling (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2016). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (7th ed.).
Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.