The MAKSS results evaluation was truly eye-opening for me. Starting the survey with culture was initially relaxing because I find comfort in identifying, relating to, and understanding my cultural background and being open and understanding of the cultural backgrounds of others. I am aware that my cultural background influences how I perceive others, conduct myself, and make decisions throughout my life. At first, I was looking at everything from a personal standpoint. It was not until I took a professional perspective that I realized how my cultural background affected me and how it might affect the clients I work with. At that point, I realized I needed to change my mindset. In contrast to being an end in and of itself, developing multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills is a means to an end. Acquiring sufficient knowledge, understanding, and experience of the diversity of populations” is unattainable. However, to effectively counsel clients whose backgrounds differ from the therapist’s, one must strive for cultural competence (Awang-Shuib et al., 2017). This essay will assess how Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills can help one transition and gain the necessary cultural competence.
Ethical arguments surrounding counseling have attained a tipping point in the US and several other countries worldwide. Developing multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills is a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself. Future careers in clinical mental health counseling and therapy should pay the most attention to ethics and professional practice in counseling. Culture is not shallow and only visible; it is deep-seated and cultivated over generations. Edward T. Hall created the iceberg model of culture to assist people in understanding the breadth and complexity of culture. Using the Iceberg Model can also help one fully reflect on their culture.
Future careers in clinical mental health counseling and therapy should pay the most attention to ethics and professional practice in counseling. Beauchamp and Childress, cited in The Practitioners Guide to Ethical Decision Making, identified four central ethical principles in healthcare: autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence. Outside the therapy session, asking someone about their race or culture may be strange, if not offensive. Knowing this, one might wonder how to approach a client in a session without making assumptions about their culture (Couture, 2021). Multicultural counseling is the interaction of a licensed counselor from a different cultural background with a client and examining how one’s culture affects verbal and nonverbal exchanges between the client and the clinician.
Ethical arguments surrounding counseling have attained a tipping point in the US and several other countries worldwide. The counseling profession and its related ethical practices and processes have had to expand to accommodate people and circumstances in various and interconnected contexts due to society’s ongoing demographic changes. A few cultural distinctions include acquired disabilities, age, developmental disabilities, ethnicity, spirituality, religion, and sexual orientation. These elements collectively create a multicultural identity, which recurrently gives rise to ethical and philosophical problems.
A multicultural society is best exemplified by the United States, where millions of individuals from different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds regularly congregate and interact in public spaces. Professional counselors have a difficult time dealing with socio-psychological problems in these societies. One of the most challenging problems they run into in multicultural counseling is the problem of bias. Bias is the tendency to favor and support one explanation, point of view, or level of comprehension over another that is subtly equally persuasive (Eady et al., 2021). Working with individuals from different cultural backgrounds frequently presents ethical conundrums for counselors in various organizations nationwide. The intention is to demonstrate the prejudice counselors in multicultural societies exemplify in light of varying cultural norms, values, political leanings, religious beliefs, and ethnicities.
Describe Multicultural Counseling Awareness
Culture, like an iceberg, is not shallow and only visible; it is deep-seated and cultivated over generations. Edward T. Hall created the iceberg model of culture to assist people in understanding the breadth and complexity of culture. It also helps clinicians meet their clients where they are and gain insight into each client’s viewpoint. Using the Iceberg Model can also help one fully reflect on their culture (Eze et al., 2020). Only 10% of culture, according to the iceberg description, is palpable; it can be seen, tasted, and heard. The remaining 90% is invisible. Multicultural counseling begins within and spreads outward; self-awareness is essential in counseling in a diverse cultural landscape.
Counselor self-awareness, client worldview, counseling relationship, counseling, and advocacy interventions are the four developmental areas that support multiculturalism and social justice. Before one can comprehend the client’s worldview or the client-counselor connection, one must be self-aware, possess knowledge and skills, and be willing to act. An essential part of having intercultural awareness, knowledge, and skills is being aware of and understanding own perspectives, prejudices, assumptions, values, and privileged and marginalized positions.
Evaluate your Score on the Multicultural Counseling Awareness Sections
The Multicultural counseling awareness Category was where the MAKSS Assessment performed best. The Multicultural Counseling Skills course came in second place with a performance of 59/80, though neither of these scores appeared to be as high as I had anticipated. I retook the test because there were a few questions I did not fully comprehend the first time, and I wanted to get the most reliable data where I understood most, if not all, of the questions. The scores for each section did not vary by more than 8% even after taking the test twice, with multicultural counseling awareness being the highest area and multicultural counseling skills intently behind. Both times I took this assessment, I scored the lowest on the Multicultural Counseling knowledge section.
Evaluate the Questions/Topics that Stood Out to you in this Section
In my opinion, although I consider myself knowledgeable about multicultural counseling, my knowledge has been gained through practical work in a residential facility and education from other therapists and professionals. Due to my lack of insight from educational or professional classes, books, articles, and the like, I cannot guarantee that the information provided is accurate. Because I am taking this course to fill a knowledge gap, these outcomes and the system offer me growth opportunities. I am also curious to find out more about multicultural therapy and counseling. Now that I know my development, I can consciously make choices that will advance these facets of multicultural counseling and therapy.
Evaluate the Topics that you scored Lowest on in the Spectrum
One must first think about their worldview and how it might affect the counseling relationship before one can understand other cultures (Khamis-Dakwar & Makhoul, 2022). After taking the MAKSS, I received a Multicultural Counseling score of 60/80 in awareness. Even though I scored above the average, there is always room for me to become more self-aware. It can be done by identifying more of my presumptions, worldviews, status, and other characteristics that differ from others and thinking about the implications of those differences.
These actions will help me become more knowledgeable and proficient in multicultural counseling and increase my awareness of intercultural counseling. Even though studying other cultures and enrolling in courses can be helpful, the only way to become genuinely competent is to immerse oneself in their experiences. Going out into the community and connecting with people to learn about their communities, groups, and experiences will help with this. However, it might be challenging given the state of our nation right now. The processes involved in developing intercultural awareness, knowledge, and skills go beyond diversity and different cultures.
Evaluate the Topics that you scored Highest on in the Spectrum
I am conscious of my attitudes, beliefs, and privileged position in society, but I still need to work on my knowledge, skills, and behavior in this area. To achieve this, I will research available resources to understand better my attitudes and beliefs and the background of privileged and underprivileged positions. I will be able to explain how my select states affect my worldview and experiences once I have gained more awareness and knowledge. I will be able to apply what I have learned about my privileged position in both personal and professional settings. I will evaluate how my private life has influenced my personal and professional experiences and compare and contrast my elite status to others.
Multicultural Counseling Knowledge
Multicultural therapy entails providing appropriate counseling services based on these components and having a thorough understanding of, consideration for, and gratitude for the beliefs, history, traditions, and lifestyles of marginalized groups. A multicultural counselor knows the variations in sexual orientations, gender, socioeconomic status, race, and religion. In this field I scored 51/80 and noted that, counselors who work with clients from diverse backgrounds may show prejudice or come across as prejudiced clients. Bias in counseling is a serious problem because it is challenging to deliver effective psychotherapy.
Culturally competent counselors have specialized knowledge of and experience with the group they work with. They consider their clients’ varied cultural backgrounds, life experiences, and cultural and historical backgrounds (Lusk, 2017). The frameworks for developing minority identity covered in the literature are inextricably linked to this particular competence. Culturally competent counselors know how race, culture, ethnicity, and other factors affect personality development, career decisions, mental health issues, help-seeking behavior, and the suitability or inadequacy of counseling techniques. Culturally competent counselors are conscious of how they affect others on a social level.
Multicultural Counseling Skills
Many multicultural counseling skills I believe I possess are I-Attitudes and beliefs, II-Awareness of the Client’s Worldview, and III-Culturally Intervention Strategies. In this field I scored 50/80. However, there are some areas where I fall short. In terms of values/beliefs, having dealt with self-neglect as an addict for so long, I tend to see things from my perspective at first until I not only see but also know otherwise. It is detrimental in many aspects of life, particularly counseling. Much of this is due to solo sobriety rather than a structured treatment program to help one become sober (Teng & Zhang, 2022). Even though this is something I’m working on, there is still a lot of ground to cover to eliminate or minimize things being seen from my perspective, as this can often lead to “my way or the highway” thinking and attitude.
Application of MAKS to another Culture
Using Sue and Sue’s tripartite framework, I identified three group identities that have shaped my worldview and multicultural awareness. There are three of them: 1) gender (female), 2) race (white), and 3) socioeconomic status (middle class). Growing up in a small town provided little variety. There were only two other girls besides me until sixth grade. My friends were mostly boys, and I grew up playing sports and being one of the people. Although I had a younger brother, my father and uncle were proud that I could participate in sports and even help around the house. They were not accepting of my ability to feel comfortable around all the boys once I entered middle school and was exposed to more girls. They were frequently jealous and insecure, and they would act petty as a result of my friendships with the guys. As I grew older, I was often told at school and in town that I could not do something because I was a girl. It only fueled my desire to give it my all and prove everyone wrong. Even as an adult, when I first started pursuing my degree in forensic psychology, many people told me that I should not do it because I was a woman and would endanger myself with that population. Growing up in that environment was difficult, but it helped me develop the strong work ethic I have today and my ability to achieve the goals I set for myself despite the challenges I may face along the way.
Describe a Culture that is Different than Yours
My socioeconomic standing as a child also affected my work ethic. My father worked two jobs to support our family, so I grew up in a middle-class family. We were not poor, but we didn’t have as much money as other family members or town residents. I started working when I was 14 years old, and my father made me pay for anything I wanted that was not a necessity (Ko, 2019). This experience taught me the importance of money and hard work. I did not have everything handed to me as some of my peers did, and I did not take anything for granted. Even though I had less than others, I would still assist those less fortunate than myself. It also applies to my life morals and works ethic. Finally, my race is the third group identity that I believe has shaped my worldview. I am a white woman who grew up in a predominantly white town.
There was only one black family, one Greek family, and one Korean family when I was growing up. Everyone else in town was Italian, Irish, or German. People in town were highly racist and hostile to outsiders. My family always taught me to be accepting of people who were not like me. My father’s best friend was black; I referred to him as my uncle growing up. I saw no distinctions based on race or ethnicity and treated everyone with dignity and equality. I became very irritated with the people in town when they discriminated against others and would become very vocal in college, where I went to a culturally diverse school and had many friends from all walks of life. When I had my daughter, whose father is Ecuadorian, I became an even stronger opponent of racism and discrimination.
I returned to my hometown for a short time to enroll my daughter in school. Because her last name was of Hispanic origin, she had been a victim of the town’s ignorance and bias. Growing up in my hometown and with my family shaped who I am as an adult. It has taught me how not to act and treat others. It has been incorporated into my moral code and interactions with the patients I treat. Although I began working in a culturally diverse, urban, lower socioeconomic area, I attempted to work in the place where I was born and raised. I did not particularly appreciate working with people who reminded me of my childhood friends. I chose to return to my original treatment setting and work with a broader range of people who may not have the same opportunities as others. Although I believe I have a strong foundation in multicultural awareness, I look forward to progressing through the course and learning more from this class and the textbook to supplement my current skills.
The Potential Impact of a Specific Set of Beliefs, Values, Norms, and Expectations on the Counseling Relationship
In the field of counseling, multicultural awareness is crucial. A wide range of cultural awareness topics is covered by the CACREP Standards, which serve as educational benchmarks for counselors. These standards strongly emphasize the value of studying social and cultural diversity to learn about the relationships, problems, and trends that are important in a multicultural society. Regarding multiculturalism, social justice is a further crucial ethical principle for school counselors (Ethical Standards for Counselors, 2016). The best strategy for addressing diversity in this profession can result from acknowledging these educational objectives and ethical standards. When I think about my cultural background, I understand that it could affect how I work as a counselor in several ways.
One example of this is in terms of religion, I do not consider myself particularly religious, so I could see how I might feel alienated from highly spiritual people. However, the most significant way my cultural bias and worldview may affect how I behave as a counselor is when students I am working with perceive me as belonging to a dominant group. Moreover, feel thus alienated from me, or my method of helping them is not empathic enough. Clearly, as a counselor, it will be critical for me to step outside of my existing cultural worldview and adopt a stance on the world that empowers students through appreciating their cultural heritage and worldviews.
How the Implications of the Score Can Aid an Individual to Become a More Effective Counselor
I completed the Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills survey as part of the assignment. I drew some important conclusions about myself and the 20 years’ worth of cultural competency instruction I have received from both my employers and my school. In the multicultural counseling awareness, knowledge, and skills categories of my assessment, I received scores of 59, 51, and 50. I was taken aback to learn that, despite formal training at work and school, I had never heard of many of the terms used frequently in multicultural counseling, including cultural encapsulation, transcultural, attribution, and pluralism. I have always worked with individuals whose cultures were dissimilar, and they always thought I was doing a good job. However, I now believe there is always room for development and learning to enhance my clinical abilities.
The MAKSS is a 60-item self-assessment tool for evaluating ones’ awareness, knowledge, and skills in multicultural counseling. My most significant area of expertise on the MAKSS was awareness of intercultural counseling. I received a 53/80, even though my multicultural counseling knowledge was my highest score, indicating that I still have room to grow in this area. My weakest MAKSS category was knowledge and skills in intercultural counseling. It enables me to develop in every facet of MAKSS. Reading books and articles about other works, particularly those written from the viewpoint of a minority person or group, is one strategy I can use. I can also attend conferences and seminars to learn more about multicultural counseling.
I want to improve my multicultural counseling awareness because, as a counselor, knowing the values, beliefs, assumptions, prejudices, and privileged and disadvantaged position is necessary and valuable. This is done to understand better the client’s worldview, how attitudes and beliefs affect the counseling relationship, and how the client’s attitudes and beliefs affect one as a counselor. I intend to accomplish this by keeping a journal and checking in with myself every Sunday night before bed. I believe awareness is being overlooked, so I must continue identifying and working through my values, beliefs, prejudices, and privileged and marginalized status. In my diary, I will write about my values, beliefs, prejudices, and privileged and marginalized group.
Future careers in clinical mental health counseling and therapy should pay the most attention to ethics and professional practice in counseling. According to Delaware Valley University, multicultural counseling is the procedure used when a licensed counselor from a different cultural group works with a client and considers how one’s culture influences that communication. Along with enhancing my multicultural counseling skills and knowledge, I want to raise my intercultural counseling awareness. I will achieve this by going out into the community to interact with people and learn about their backgrounds, interests, and communities. Developing intercultural understanding, knowledge, and skills involves more than just diversity and different cultures.
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