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Multicultural Theory

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Stephanie Mobley

on 2 April 2015

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Transcript of Multicultural Theory

Multicultural Theory

By: Mary Grace Sexton, Melissa Leming, Dee Barnes, Theresa Young and Stephanie Mobley
Origins of multicultural theory
- developed in response to Euro-Centric psychological theories
-all the contributors to this theory identify as minorities
Lillian Comas-Diaz
“Where there is birth, there is pain.”
Beverly Greene
-Professor at St. John's University
-PhD in psychology

Stanley Sue
-University of California, Davis
-Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Psychology department

Derald Wing-Sue
-Columbia University
-Professor of Psychology and Education
-Ph.D. Counseling Psychology

Major Concepts of Multicultural Theory
Meta Theory: broad perspective that over arches two or more theories
- Culture is a major determinant of personality
-Culture is a matter of the intersections of race, class, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation
- Client problems/systems are created/controlled by systemic and cultural issues
-Focus is on the individual

-Redirection of anger caused by cultural differences
- Avoidance of internalized racism and acquirement of self-esteem
- Occasionally overlaps with the Racial-Cultural Theory

-Involves different aspects of cultural competency
-necessary cultural knowledge base
-awareness of cultural biases
-skills to interact with various cultures

Stage of Life/Age Group
-Focuses on the individual, and outside influences
-Applies to both the client and the practitioner
-Views on self as well as view on needed services
--> Therefore, applies across the lifespan
---->As affected by the macrosystem and microaggressions

Strengths of Multicultural Theory
-Allows for different approaches and perspectives
-Allows for ability to exercise cultural freedom
-Assimilation is rejected
-Equal opportunity offered to new populations

Limitations of Multicultural Theory
-high attention to obtaining multicultural knowledge and awareness,
but doesn’t teach adequate skills to work with diverse groups successfully
-it is difficult to incorporate newly developed multicultural knowledge without the skills to work with diverse clients
-Does not always account for cultural mistrust between client and practitioner

When is multicultural theory most useful?
-Core human values
-Teaching toward social justice
-Equity Pedagogy

Relevance to Social Work
-Practice with culturally diverse clients and in promoting social justice
-recognizing prejudice, oppression, and privilege
- recognizing our biases

“Multicultural awareness entails understanding how the counselors’ cultural history may impact their clients . It is important for practitioners to understand how their multicultural makeup (e.g., race, gender, age) may have a bearing on the counseling relationship due to the client’s experiences with these factors outside of counseling, as cultural mistrust has been identified as a barrier to treatment in minority clients.”
(Duncan & Johnson, 2007; Whaley, 2001)
Case Studies
Sam Waterstone
Esperanza "Hope" Mesa
John McGowan
Review Readings and Privilege Quiz
Sam Waterstone is a 49-year-old, single, Native American male nurse who has come in to your office seeking services. His affect is rather restricted, and he focuses his eye contact intensely and unwaveringly on you during your interview. He is a physically large man, appropriately dressed in a dark suit and an open-collared shirt imprinted with bears, lions, and wolves. Tattoos are visible at the neckline and at his wrist cuffs but are mostly covered by his clothing. He explains that he was born and raised on a reservation. His father, a medicine man, was killed in an accident when Sam was a young teen, and his mother had arranged for him to attend high school in the city with the family of a relative. He worked his way through college by learning tribal medicine and hosting ceremonies and sweatshops, as his father had done. Sam aspired to learn "White man's medicine" so that he could explain it to his people. He had settled, instead, on a nursing degree and had been employed as such in the secondary school system for 25 years. He had never married and had no children
When discussing the lawsuit, Sam reported that school officials had never told him the truth and had assigned him the most difficult schools, the worst facilities, and the oldest equipment. He reported that they had continuously harassed him about his traditional hearing practices, his tattoos, and his need to be absent for an extra week at the beginning of the school year to attend a highly valued national tribal medicine gathering. He explained that, as a medicine man, he felt renewed and purified by his involvement in these tribal medicine ceremonies. His recent participation in one such gathering, however, had caused him to be fired because he missed the first week of school after a request for vacation was denied. Mr. Waterstone concluded the session by scheduling his return for follow up, and he pulled from his pocket a small pouch of tobacco, extending it to you. He said, "It is traditional to give a gift to someone who you think will be able to help you."
-Cultural competency with Native Americans and his tribe

- His role valued in his in his culture, but not in the majority culture

-Problems stem from not being valued in majority culture

- Actions viewed as disrespectful on both sides... CULTURAL MISCOMMUNICATION

-Clash between fitting into two cultures

- Heavy intersection between minorities (gender roles, isolation, etc.
Applying Multicultural Theory to the Case Study
 Spanish/English bilingual

 Lesbian

 From Mexico

 Changed her name to Hope due to discrimination/stigma of dark skin, accent.

 Married a man and had a daughter by age 20… because of pressure from her

family and religion (Catholicism) felt dictated

 Feels lonely and isolated

 Motivated to go to women’s group… attraction to someone?

 Trouble reconciling self with family/culture values

 Discloses to husband who reacts angrily and threatens to expose her

 Anxiety and rage
Esperanza Meza
John McGowan
 Identifies as Irish

 70 years old widow

 Wife died suddenly 15 months ago

 Visually impaired since he was 19 years old in a car accident

 Couldn’t finish a plumbing apprenticeship

 His wife was always really supportive (household, finances)

 Independence is limited, doesn’t want a guide dog

 His daughter brings him in after finding him “weepy”

 Confined to a small apartment… only leaves for a drink on Saturdays and Mass on Sundays, sometimes to visit his daughter
-How did the client’s cultural background influence their current situation?

-How does culture affect the behavior of the systems? Interpretation of the situation?

- What knowledge would you need to be culturally competent in this client’s case?
Questions to consider from a multicultural theory standpoint
I have never been told I am attractive "for my race"
I have never had to "come out"
I do not have any disabilities
I am not nervous in airport security lines
All of my jobs have been accommodating of my religious practices
I have never lied about my ethnicity as self- defense
I have never been the only person of my race in a room
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1996). Operationalization of the multicultural counseling competencies. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development,

24, 42–78. doi:10.1002/j.2161-1912.1996.tb00288.x

Carr, Brendan M(2014). Intro to Theories of Counseling and Helping.[ PPT]

Comas-Diaz, L. (1981). Effects of cognitive and behavioural group treatment in the

depressive symptomatology of Puerto Rican women. Journal Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 49, 627-632.

Comstock, D. L., Hammer, T. R., Strentzsch, J., Cannon, K., Parsons, J., & Salazar II, G. (2008). Relational-cultural theory: A

framework for bridging relational, multicultural, and social justice competencies. Journal of Counseling &

Development, 86, 279–287. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6678.2008.tb00510.x

Hansen, N. (1999). Multicultural Competencies. Multicultural Competence: Criteria and Case Examples, 31(6).Retrieved
March 21, 2015, from http://users.phhp.ufl.edu/rbauer/Intro CLP/hansen_et_al_2000.pdf

Interview With Lillian Comas-Díaz About. (2011, January 1). Retrieved March 25, 2015, from


Watkins, Julia. 1 Diversity, Critical Multiculturalism, And Oppression: Interaction And Transformation. 1st ed. Council on Social

Work Education, 2010. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.
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