Education | Multicultural Counseling and Psychotherapy
G575 | 5505 | Dr. Chalmer Thompson
Research, theory, and practice in the area of cross-cultural or
multicultural counseling/psychotherapy took prominence in the United
States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, prompted largely by the
civil rights movement and other subsequent social movements that
occurred during that era. A primary goal of the multicultural
movement in counseling and psychology is to prepare practitioners to
integrate culture, race and other aspects of human socialization into
mental health assessment and delivery. Factors considered
"multicultural" include not only race ethnicity/culture, but also
social class, sexual orientation, gender, intellectual ability,
religious preference, and physical ability. In this course, we will
address each of these factors but the focus will be a study of race,
culture, and similarities between the different aspects of human
In this course I underscore the processes that prevent people from
appreciating and incorporating these factors into their learning
schemes. Therefore, the question continually addressed is, "Why
wouldn't people integrate these factors into their repertoire of
learning?" and concomitantly, "How can students in different applied
fields overcome these learning challenges?" I have found that a very
useful way of examining the processes of learning that are both
inhibitive of and facilitative to multicultural competence is to
expose students to an array of narrative, historical, and empirical
literature. Throughout this course, a systems perspectives is
emphasized as we examine societal oppression and its manifestations at
macro- and micro-levels. I also have prepared a set of requirements
that will hopefully help students tune in to their own personal levels
of change and transformation. New to this course is an emphasis on
application, whereby students are asked to document both strengths and
areas of improvement in their efforts to communicate effectively with
Also underscored in this course are the following assumptions: (1) the
development of culturally/socially responsive practitioners is a
lifelong process; (2) growth is difficult and strewn with resistances;
(3) key ingredients of change in personal development, such as
risk-taking, reality-testing, self-reflection, and moral
decision-making, are essential to this type of learning; (4)
"multicultural" learning can be transformational in nature; and (5)
professional excellence in counseling and psychotherapy can be
achieved ultimately by the practitioner's ability to integrate
often-painful aspects about reality into one's learning repertoire.
In the course, students will learn:
1. Definitions of terms and constructs related to human diversity and
their relevance to psychological functioning and development;
2. Life experiences of diverse groups that are inclusive of their
sociocultural and sociopolitical perspectives;
3. How the development of enlightened perspectives on societal
oppression has an impact on counseling and psychotherapy for all
4. Theory-based skills for working effectively with diverse
individuals, families, and groups primarily in (but not limited to)
counseling and psychotherapy contexts; and
5. Ethical and moral considerations relevant to the integration of
"multicultural learning" to the practice of counseling and
Readings and Rationales for their Selection
Helms, J. E., & Cook, D. A. (1999). Using race and culture in
counseling and psychotherapy: Theory and process. Boston, MA: Allyn
I've come across a lot of different books for a course like this, and
this one is by far the best. I hope that your reading of this book
will help generate some thinking on a number of different topics as it
has done for me.
Cyrus, V. (1993). Experiencing race, class, and gender in the United
States (3rd ed.). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.
Psychology is, at core, a study of human action, thought, and beliefs,
and what tends to occur all too frequently is an oversight of the
perspectives of different people based on their sociocultural and
sociopolitical experiences. These experiences are embedded in human
Stalvey, L. M. (1989). The education of a WASP. Madison, WI:
University of Wisconsin.
Written by a White woman, this is a rare narrative account of how the
author unlearns racism.
Thompson, C. E., & Carter, R. T. (1997). Racial identity theory:
Applications to individual, group, and organizational interventions.
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
This book offers practical illustrations of how psychologists apply a
theory on overcoming racism in their practices as therapists,
supervisors, consultants, and organizational/forensic psychologists.
Ball, E. Slaves in the family. New York: Bantam.
How do Whites evolve a positive, non-racist identity? Ball's story is
about his journey and provides an excellent illustration of what this
journey can entail.
Coles, R. (1994). The story of Ruby Bridges. New York: Scholastic.
Because all of us are socialized as racial, gendered, and classed
beings, it is important to recognize that experiences in childhood
combine to shape our understanding of and approach to reality.
Critical literacy is one pathway to helping children understand and
approach reality in ways that are non-racist and promoting of human
Fordham, S. A. (1996). Blacked out: Dilemmas of race, identity, and
Capital High. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.
Weis, L. (1990). Working class without work: High school students in
a deindustrializing economy. New York: Routledge.
Fordham and Weis are anthropologists who studied how identities of
children are shaped by school and community environments. Both authors
focus on race; Weis also includes the interaction of how race and
gender identity formation is forged among White adolescents in a
Dyadic Interaction Project
Choose a time after the midterm to meet with a volunteer (I'll provide
a list of names) who will be given a scenario to role-play. The
volunteer will be asked to pretend to be a client with an assortment
of issues that he/she needs to resolve with a counselor or therapist.
You are asked to assume the role of counselor. This session should
last for 50 minutes.
More important than your performance in the role of counselor is your
ability to conduct an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses
during the session. Consequently, I am also asking that you audiotape
this session and choose two five-minute segments to transcribe. In
the margins of this transcription, write comments about your
performance. You may state "I may have spent too much time here on
gender issues," "I liked the way I pursued this line of questions," "I
was silent here because I simply didn't know which direction to go
on," etc. In addition to the written comments, your paper should also
respond to the following questions:
What are some of your assessment hypotheses about your client in
regards to his or her racial/social identity development? What
evidence supports your hypotheses? Please try to integrate your
assessment hypotheses with other aspects of the client and his/her
What information processing strategies (IPS) are employed by your
client? Which of these are facilitative of development? Which are
What sort of interpersonal dynamics were occurring between you and the
client? In other words, were there any challenges to developing a
good working relationship? Were there aspects of your relationship
(and identities) that proved facilitative of the developing
What would you have done differently if you were to see this client
again? In addition, what concerns would you have in future sessions
with this client?
For those of you who are not in applied mental health programs like
counseling or social work, let me know and I'll be happy to modify
this project. My initial thoughts are that you agree to role-play
with a person who seek your guidance in resolving an issue. In these
scenarios, I ask that you select the person and that I come up with
the scenario. The same questions as presented above should be used in
preparing your paper.
All applied mental health program students are able to use the Center
for Human Growth to schedule these meetings. The best time to do so
is in the mornings when there is limited activity in the Center. For
those of you not in applied mental health programs, you can meet at
other sites, but do let me know your plans. If necessary, we can
arrange to have you meet with your person at the Center as well.
Resistance is defined as behaviors that can potentially obstruct
learning. It stems from a contradiction between an ideal that a
person has and his or her actual practices. Because of the dissonance
the contradiction creates, the person can experience feelings of
anger, guilt, shame, rage, or confusion. Behaviorally, the individual
can avoid situations or learning experiences that heighten the
dissonance, or even dismiss or marginalize others who happen to spur
the dilemma. I am asking each student to identify an area of
resistance, identity 5 strategies to challenge the resistance, and
then actually do the strategies. I am not suggesting here that you
have to completely resolve your dissonance regarding a certain issue
but to demonstrate that you have made some inroads in viewing the
issue more complexly.
EVERYONE HAS RESISTANCE. It isn't positive or negative. It simply
is. Coming up with your resistance may be difficult at first, but as
you read the textbook and some of the narratives and view the films
shown in class, you will likely find yourself coming up with ideas and
questions that may serve as blocks to learning.
For example, one area of resistance is a reliance on color-blindness.
In this instance, a person believes that it is best to avoid examining
issues of difference because of the discomfort he/she experiences in
knowing about and dealing with pervasive oppression. This person may
rely on a color-blind perspective that diminishes unpleasant
sociopolitical realities and simultaneously, believe that he or she
should merely treat everyone the same (we'll talk further about
color-blindness in class). The basic contradiction here is that the
person believes that he/she treats everyone the same but in actuality,
may not know whether or not his/her color-blindness is a welcomed
gesture. The person may also believe that to be color-blind is to be
humanistic, and that concentrating on societal oppression and
difference is anti-humanistic. One way to test this resistance is for
the person to try to determine if in fact, attention to societal
oppression and difference is indeed anti-humanistic, especially in his
or her interpersonal interactions.
Your assignment then is to identify one resistance and describe it as
thoroughly as possible. Next, you are to develop five strategies that
will help you confront the dilemma and then to implement the
strategies. Please keep in mind that you will likely be involved in
assorted risk-taking strategies as you proceed through the course,
such as being more vocal in matters related to social injustices.
However, the assignment is for you to do strategies that are
pre-established and deliberate. The less "intellectual" and more
hands-on and interactive the experience, the better.
Keep track of your work throughout the course of the semester. There
is no paper requirement for the Resistance Project, but you are
expected to write on it in the final exam. Project ideas should be
submitted on January 28th during class.
Calculation of Course Requirements
Midterm Examination (Take-home) 100
Dyadic Interaction Project 100
Final Examination 100
F Below 75
Schedule of Events and Readings
Introduction and overview of course
Lecture: Systems-oriented perspectives
Assignment: Take the Implicit Association Test
(http://buster.cs.yale.edu/implicit/ --- go to "Measure Your Implicit
Helms & Cook, chapters 1-4
In Cyrus: Franklin, 14
Exercise: When Did You First. . .?
Lecture: A history of psychology's role in societal racism
Film: "Africans in America"
Helms & Cook, chapter 5
In Cyrus: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 171; Gioseffi, 202;
Muwakkil, 254; Watts, 260
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. No classes.
Film: "Savagery and the American Indian"
Stalvey, chapters 1-3
In Cyrus: Kolodzey, 118; Allen, 137; Churchill, 197; McCollom, 276
SUBMIT IDEA ON RESISTANCE PROJECT (a paragraph, hand-written, is
Films: "Ethnic Notions" and "Killing Us Softly 2000"
Examining the Construction of Oppression and Marginality/Privilege: A
Stalvey, chapters 4-6
In Cyrus: Daseler, 225; Bingham, 115; McIntosh, 184; Sanders, 83;
Thompson, 86; Cofer, 214; Hyde, 75
A Systems Framework (continued from past week)
Film: "Who Killed Vincent Chin?"
Implicit Social Conditioning and Training Challenges
Exercise: My Socialization
Stalvey, chapters 7-9
In Cyrus: Williams, 140; Klanwatch, 251; Pogrebin, 208; Swet, 147;
Kuttner, 362; Lorde, 302
From macro- to micro-level processes: Identity development, culture,
and structural disadvantage
A review of definitions of mental health
Facilitating change through counseling/therapy
Helms & Cook, chapters 6-7
Thompson & Carter, pp. 49-53; chapters 4-5
Racial identity theory
Scenarios for conducting social identity assessments
No readings: TAKE-HOME MIDTERMS DISTRIBUTED IN CLASS (test will cover
material up through 2/18)
A discussion of change facilitation
Live demonstrations of counseling dyads
Thompson & Carter, chapter 3 and 6
Helms & Cook, 14
MIDTERMS DUE AT START OF CLASS
Group level processes to change
Thompson & Carter, pp. chapter 8-11
Helms & Cook, 12-13
Critical pedagogy and peace education
Moral psychology and mental health practice
Film: "Starting Small"
Stalvey: 16-end of book (through Afterword)
In Cyrus: Marklein, 272; National PTA, 411
Guest Speakers: Lee Heffernan, 3rd grade teacher, Child Elementary,
and Valerie Long, 2nd grade teacher, Rogers Elementary
The Heritage Project (if time allows)
Helms & Cook, 14
In Cyrus: Pharr, 303; Chavez, 463; Kimbrill, p. 431; Rhoads, 442
Thompson & Carter, Part III introduction, chapters 12-14
In Cyrus: Rhoads, 442; Lawrence, 454; Baldwin, p. 479; Pfister, p. 493
Thompson & Carter, 15-16
In Cyrus: Tallinghast, 475; Taliman, p. 483; Davis, p. 485
Last day of class; Wrap-up
OPEN BOOK/NOTES FINAL
References Commonly Cited in Lectures
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Aronson, E., & Patnoe, S. (1997). The jigsaw classroom: Building
cooperation in the classroom (2nd edition). New York: Longman
Brodkin, K. (1998). How Jews became White folks and what that says
about racism in America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University.
Browne, A. (1998). Voices in the park. New York: DK Publishing.
Bulhan, H. A. (1985). Frantz Fanon and the psychology of oppression.
New York: Plenum.
Crenshaw, K., Gotanda, N., Peller, G., & Thomas, K (1995)(Eds.)
Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement. New
York: The New Press.
Delpit, L. (1988). The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in
educating other people's children. Harvard Educational Review, 54,
Diaz, J. (1987). Learning through action in a violent environment:
An experience of adult non-formal education at the grassroots level?
In T. R. Carson & H. D. Gideonse (Eds.), Peace education and the task
for peace educators. A World Council for Curriculum and Instruction
Fanon, F. (1968). Black skin, white masks. New York: Grove
Franklin, J. H., & Moss, A. A. (2000). From slavery to freedom: A
history of African Americans, 8th edition. Boston: MacGraw-Hill.
Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Herder &
Freire, P. (1986). Pedagogy of hope. New York: Continuum
Gould, S. (1996). The mismeasure of man, 2nd edition. New York:
hooks, b. (1992). Race and representation. Boston, MA: South End.
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