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African Journal for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

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Multicultural Competencies for Community Counsellors

A Elkchirid

Abstract


Multicultural competence has recently been explicitly stated by organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA) through their codes and guidelines. Literatures generally relate multicultural competence with work involving high-context situations or diverse cultural groups such as social work, counselling, research, etc. Although multicultural competence has been encouraged in community counselling, the link between the two still has to be strengthened in the actual practice. The common assumption has been that because counsellors and clients are both in-group members and insiders to their community, they share similar worldviews and agree on group-accepted counselling or therapeutic interventions. In practice, counsellors working in their communities are often placed in the middle ground in which they need to objectively reconcile the biases of their clients with what realistically exists in the larger society. Community counsellors are often faced with the “you know what I mean” dilemma or over assumptions of clients in their capacity as experts to diagnose issues and provide appropriate counselling or therapeutic interventions. In this paper, case vignettes are provided to illustrate some of the challenges encountered by the author in the many years of working with his own community. This paper aims to add to the discourse on the growth of community counselling with emphasis on the necessity of using a multicultural competence framework.



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