Living and Working in a Multicultural Society

Multicultural counseling competencies are standards of development and practice that have been developed to help counselors better serve clients whose world views may be different than their own. The first of these is developing   awareness of one's own biases , belief systems. This begins with   understanding one's own cultural heritage. According to Arredondo(1999) even understanding the time frame when our ancestors entered the United States will help us will help us understand our perspective of what is normal and why this may be different than others perspectives.
To be culturally skilled we need to learn how we are affected by discrimination and bias in order to begin to recognize our own biases.   This allows us to develop an understanding of the worldview of culturally different clients. The more knowledge we gain of why we have our own belief systems the better we are equipped to then create helping interventions in a framework that is culturally appropriate to our client and be able to understand their world view with empathy, regardless of our differences.
Historically most counselors "have been socialized in White, middle-class models of human development and behavior." (Arredondo,1999)   This has caused   cultural minorities to have barriers in receiving equal treatment. This has not only been in counseling, America as a melting pot began in a framework of inequity with slavery and total disregard of indigenous peoples human rights. They were not even considered 'human'.   Oppression of those we did not understand was a norm and gaining multicultural counseling competencies seeks to address that issue.
Hawley's article on resilience takes a look at the strengths families have when they are not in crisis and works to build on those positives . Gaining an understanding of the family unit is another form of using cultural competencies on a micro-level. The family unit has its own 'culture' based on their roots. Each adult has preformed belief systems...