Education | Multicultural Counseling and Psychotherapy
G575 | 5943 | Dr. Chalmer Thompson
Research, theory, and practice in the area of cross-cultural or
multicultural counseling and psychotherapy took prominence in the
United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, prompted primarily
by the civil rights movement and the spawning of other social
movements during this 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 race, ethnicity, social class,
sexual orientation, gender, age, religious orientation, and physical
ability. In this course, we will address each of these factors at
In this course, I focus on the conditioning that prevents people from
appreciating and incorporating race, culture, and other
sociopolitical forces into their learning schemes. Therefore, one
issue that is continually addressed in this course is, “Why wouldn’t
people integrate these factors into their learning schemes?” Another
important question that we’ll address is: “How can students in
different applied fields overcome these learning challenges?” By
examining the conditioning or processes of learning that inhibit
people from establishing meaningful relationships with others, I have
found that most people can learn to become more open to disengaging
from acts that prevent them from being effective agents of change.
Research in the area of social cognitive and racial identity theories
supports this conclusion. I have prepared a set of requirements that
I believe can help you facilitate your skills as practitioners.
Underscored in this course are the following assumptions: (1) the
development of culturally, socially, and morally responsive
practitioners is a lifelong process; (2) growth is difficult and
strewn with resistance to change; (3) key ingredients to positive
change --- including risk-taking, reality-testing, self-reflection,
and moral decision-making --- are essential to this type of learning;
and (4) professional excellence can be achieved ultimately by the
practitioner’s ability to integrate often-painful aspects about
reality into her or his 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.about some of the life experiences of people from different groups
to enhance their understanding of sociocultural and sociopolitical
3.about concepts that lead to an understanding of the social
construction of culture and other structures that influence and are
influenced by individual and group development;
4.theory-informed 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
Stalvey, L. M. (1989). The education of a WASP. Madison, WI:
University of Wisconsin.
Other readings for this course are available electronically on
There are five requirements for the course: (1) Media Project; (2)
Panel Feedback; (3) Resistance Project Annotated Bibliography; (4)
Resistance Project Presentation; and (5) Final Exam.
Requirement 1: Media Project.
During the first class session, I’ll address how visual media
influence our understanding of reality, including our perceptions
about people. You will be asked to select one demographic group of
people and examine (1) the frequency in which they appear in
mainstream film, TV, and the magazines you commonly may find in
professional offices and (2) how members of this group are portrayed,
e.g., Are they alone or with others? Who do they appear with? How do
they appear (describe)? What is the context of the presentation
(e.g., advertising, reporting news, starring role in TV show)? Are
they featured prominently or in cameo appearances? Include any other
observations you come up with. Overlap on group selections is
perfectly fine as it can prove helpful to our discussions during the
next class meeting (after the King holiday).
There are a few warnings: the group you select has to be visibly
identifiable. In other words, instead of choosing “Polish
Americans,” you will need instead to choose “Whites,” or some
subgroup of Whites, like European immigrants with accents/who don’t
appear overtly American, or Whites who dress in expensive clothing,
etc. Or instead of choosing “bi- or multi-racial people or
children,” you will need instead to choose “racially ambiguous people
or children.” The main idea is to think of portrayals and some of
the rather immediate or automatic impressions we get about people
based on their visible association with another group. And please be
specific. Instead of choosing Asian Americans, for example, choose
Asian American men.
This requirement is to be typewritten. No more than 3 pages please.
Please bring the assignment to class on January 26th and be prepared
to discuss it. This requirement is worth 5 points toward the final
Requirement 2: Panel Feedback
We will have three panel presentations this semester. Both sections
of G575 will come together for these presentations. We’ll give you
plenty of notice about which room we’ll use for these presentations.
After each presentation, we the instructors will ask that you prepare
some written feedback about the presentation. Specifically, please
address the points and impressions gained from the panel
discussions. Also provide insight on how you can use the information
to assist you in your development as a culturally competent
Please provide no more than 2 pages of typewritten text. A total of
10 points is given for this requirement, 1 point extra credit. If
any of the feedback forms are submitted late, then the extra point
will be taken away.
Requirements 3 and 4: Resistance Project
Resistance is defined as behaviors and attitudes that can potentially
obstruct learning about a group of people or a particular issue and
consequently, one’s ability to work with that group or work through
the issue. Resistance can occur because you know very little about
the group or issue. Fortunately, most students I’ve encountered are
willing to learn more about their resistance and are willing, if not
eager, to try to overcome their resistances.
Certain groups or topics can also generate some discomfort in people,
as well as fear, anger, guilt, shame or rage. Some of these feelings
may occur because of personal experience, especially a negative
experience that may pollute one’s feelings toward others in that
group. The tendency to stereotype can promote some dehumanization,
that is, divesting human qualities onto an individual because one
quickly assumes that certain qualities can be ascribed to that
person. Some feelings that stem from resistance can also be overly
positive feelings, like when someone idealizes a particular group.
This is still a process of dehumanization. But in general,
resistance can cause people to avoid situations or learning
experiences that could heighten their understanding of human
complexity --- the ways in which people are different, the same, or
merely capable of a range of human emotions. I am asking that each
of you identify an area of resistance. Then, identify FIVE
strategies that can help you challenge the resistance, “humanize” a
group of people better, and actually do the strategies.
Because we cover some broad groups in this course (Native Americans,
gays, the poor, etc.),I’m asking that each student choose a subgroup
within these different headings --- like Black adolescent men, White
wealthy women, older gay men, and so forth --- or an entirely
different group altogether, like Arab-Americans.
Keep in mind: EVERYONE HAS RESISTANCE. It seems to be part of the
territory in living as social beings. And I am not suggesting here
that you have to completely overcome your resistance during this
exercise. Overcoming resistance can be life-long. It is also
developmental, consequently each person’s sojourn will differ
according to their experiences, age, and so forth. It is also an
interactional process influenced in large part by societal factors.
During this semester, we’ll address several factors that contribute
to people’s resistance to change. But as we wrangle with issues of
positive mental health and growth, I believe it is important that you
experience a taste of what this growth could be like for others, like
As mentioned earlier, instead of targeting a group, you can also
examine an issue or topic, like the fallacy of color-blindness,
internalized racism/oppression, feminism as applied to educating
young children, or educational approaches that promote the
advancement of peace.
Please keep in mind that you will likely be involved in assorted risk-
taking strategies in this course, such as (perhaps) being more vocal
in matters related to social injustice. However, the assignment is
for you to do strategies that are pre-established and deliberate.
The less “intellectual” and more hands-on the experience the better.
Annotated Bibliography (Requirement 3): On March 8th, I am asking
that you turn in an annotated bibliography about the particular group
or topic. The annotated bibliography will include 6 sources from your
field (counseling, higher education, etc.) that provides knowledge
about the group or topic.
Aside from the annotated bibliography, there is no paper that you’ll
need to hand in this Resistance Project. HOWEVER, I will expect you
to write about your project on the final exam. You will be asked to
describe your strategies in at least one of the items, and other
items will likely incorporate your project with some of the material
and constructs addressed in the course. The annotated bibliography
is worth 25.
Presentation (Requirement 4): On April 12 and 19th, students will
give presentations on their annotated bibliographies. You will also
be expected to talk about strategies for overcoming the resistance.
You can choose to talk about your own strategies OR strategies in
general for clients who may have similar resistances. (For those of
you in other field, you may replace “clients,” with students,
colleagues, and so forth). If you plan to talk about your own
strategies, have at least 3 of your strategies completed by this
time. Presentations are worth 20 points.
There is one final in this course, a take-home exam. It will consist
of short answer and essay questions that will encourage you to
integrate all of the material from the semester. I’ll pass out the
exam on March 22, right after the spring break. The final exams are
due to me on Monday, May 5th by 5 p.m., and you may turn it in a hard-
copy to me personally (I’ll be in my office), or deliver it to my
mailbox. This time lapse will give you an opportunity to work on the
portions you’re able to work on well before the deadline. Some
portions of the exam will focus on your resistance project. The exam
is worth 40 points toward your final grade.
GUIDELINES FOR CLASSROOM DISCUSSIONS
The best way to learn and grow is to be open and self-reflective.
Remember that the first few weeks of the semester will be focused on
the conditioning we ALL receive that inform our biases. No one is
immune from the conditioning.
Don’t be discouraged if you recognize behaviors that you’ve done or
attitudes that you’ve expressed that have been dehumanizing. I will
guarantee that you will recognize not only yourself, but those whom
you love and are close to.
With that in mind, I want to encourage you to talk about your
feelings about the material. If you feel that your perspective is
not being heard, do say so in the group. Allow the group to try to
come up with ways to make you feel more included. Remember that one
way we can learn in this course is by trying new things. We’ll work
hard to create a classroom environment that feels welcoming and where
everyone can feel comfortable with their human frailties.
CALCULATION OF COURSE REQUIREMENTS
Media Project 5
Panel Feedback 10 (3 points each, 1 point extra credit)
Annotated Bibliography 25
Presentation of Resistance Project 20
Final Exam 40
SCHEDULE OF READINGS, TOPICS, AND EVENTS
Week 1 1/12 Introduction and overview of course
Explanation of Media Assignment
Lecture topics: What IS Multiculturalism? Definitions
Identifying Factors Related to Moral Disengagement
“Ethnic Notions” (Film); “Killing Us Softly”
Reading for 1/27: Stalvey’s The Education of a WASP
Week 2 1/19 REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. HOLIDAY -
Week 3 1/26 Discussion of Media Assignment
A Discussion on The Education of a WASP
Lecture topics: How Fragmentation of Reality, People Leads to
Dehumanization (The Helix Model)
Mental Health Implications: An Interactionist Model
Reading for 2/3: Loewen, “Gone with the Wind”: The invisibility of
racism in American history textbooks, from Lies my teacher told me;
Helms & Cook, The sociopolitical histories of the original
socioracial groups (chapter 4) from UsingrRace and culture in
counseling and psychotherapy
Week 4 2/2 Lecture topics: African, Native, and White Americans
Racism and Internalized Racism
Discussion of Readings and Lecture Material
“Savagery and the American Indian” (Film)
Exercise: Developing a History Course That Acknowledges Racism
Readings for 2/9: Helms & Cook, The sociopolitical histories of the
culture-based socioracial groups (chapter 5) from Using race and
culture in counseling and psychotherapy; Daesler, Asian American
battle “model minority” myth from Cyrus’s Experiencing race, class,
and gender in the United States;
Week 5 2/9 Lecture topics: Asian and Hispanic/Latino/a Americans
Discussion of Readings and Lecture Material
Readings for 2/16: Thompson & Carter, Racial Identity Theory (set of
chapters on individual interventions); McIntosh, White privilege:
Unpacking the invisible knapsack, from Cyrus’s Experiencing race,
class, and gender in the United States
Week 6 2/16 Lecture topics: Racial Identity Theory
Discussion of Readings and Lecture Material
Role-play Demonstration and Role-plays
Readings for 2/23: Thompson & Carter, Racial Identity Theory (set of
chapters on group-level interventions)
Week 7 2/23 Panel Presentation
Discussion of Readings
Readings for 3/1: Tavris, The mismeasure of woman: Paradoxes and
perspectives in the study of gender from Goodchilds, Psychological
perspectives on human diversity in America; Doyle, Rape and sexual
assault, (in Cyrus); Hirsch, Fraternities of fear (in Cyrus).
Optional reading: Glassner, Culture of Fear
Week 8 3/1 Lecture topics: Gender
“What a Girl Wants” (Film)
Readings for 3/8: Ehrenreich, Scrubbing in Maine from Nickel and
dimed; Liu & Pope-Davis, Understanding Classism to Effect Personal
Change,” from Practicing multiculturalism; Kasser, Ryan, Couchman, &
Sheldon, Materialistic values: Their causes and consequences from
Psychology and the Consumer Culture
Week 9 3/8 Annotated Bibliography Due Today
SECTIONS WILL MEET TOGETHER
Lecture topics: Classism
Exercise: (Based on Nickel and Dimed reading)
“Mickey Mouse Monopoly” (Film)
Week 10 3/15 SPRING BREAK— NO CLASS
Week 11 3/22 Final Exams will be distributed today
Training Videos: A Look at Disability, Age, Language, and Religious
Week 12 3/29 Panel Presentation
Week 13 4/5 Panel Presentation
Week 14 4/12 Resistance Project Presentations
Week 15 4/19 Resistance Project Presentations
Week 16 4/26 Evaluation/Wrap-up
Lecture topic: Multiple Perspective-Taking and Critical Literacy
Multiculturalism and the Advancement of Peace
Exercise: A reading of Making Up Megaboy
“Starting Small” (Film)
PLEASE REMEMBER: FINAL EXAMS ARE DUE ON MONDAY, MAY 3rd BY 5 P.M.
YOU CAN DELIVER THE EXAM TO ME IN MY OFFICE OR PLACE IT IN MY
MAILBOX. EARLY SUBMISSIONS ARE APPRECIATED!
Bibliography and References Cited in Lectures
Axelson, J. (1999). Counseling and development in a multicultural
society, 3rd edition. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Bandura, A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of moral thought and
action. In W. M. Kurtines & J. L. Gervitz (Eds.) Handbook of moral
behavior and development (Vol. 1). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
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.
Cyrus, V. (1993). Experiencing race, class, and gender in the United
States, 3rd edition. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.
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
Doherty, W. J. (1995). Soul searching: Why psychotherapy must
promote moral responsibility. New York: Basic.
Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in
America. New York: Owl.
Fanon, F. (1968). Black skin, white masks. New York: Grove
Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Herder &
Glassner, B. (1999). The culture of fear: Why Americans are afraid
of the wrong things. New York: Basic Books.
Gomes, P. J. (1996). The good book: Reading the Bible with mind and
heart. New York: Harper.
Goodchilds, J. D. (1991). Psychological perspectives on human
diversity in America. Washington, DC: American Psychological
Gould, S. (1996). The mismeasure of man, 2nd edition. New York:
Helms, J. E., & Cook, D. A. (Helms, J. E., & Cook, D. A. (1999).
Using race and culture in counseling and psychotherapy: Theory and
process. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
hooks, b. (1992). Race and representation. Boston, MA: South End.
hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice
of freedom. New York: Routledge.
Kasser, T. & Kanner, A. (2003). Psychology and consumer culture:
The struggle for a good life in a materialistic world. Washington,
DC: American Psychological Association.
Loewen, J. W. (1996). Lies my teacher told me: Everything your
American history textbook got wrong. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Massey, D. S., & Denton, N. A. (1993). American apartheid:
Segregation and the making of the underclass. Cambridge, MA:
Martín-Baró, I. (1994). Writings for a liberation psychology.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.
Miller, J. G. (1999). Cultural psychology: Implications for basic
psychological theory. Psychological Science, 10, 85-91.
Miller, A. (1990). For your own good: Hidden cruelty in child-
rearing and the roots of violence. New York: Farrar, Straus, &
Morrison, T. (1992). Playing in the dark: Whiteness and the
literary imagination. Cambridge, MA: Harvard.
Myers, L. J. (1988). Understanding an Afrocentric world view:
Introduction to an optimal psychology. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.
Paley, V. G. (1997). The girl with the brown crayon: How children
use stories to shape their lives. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.
Smedley, A. (1993). Race in North America: Origins and evolution of
a worldview. Boulder, CO: Westview.
Smith, T. (2003). Practicing multiculturalism: Affirming diversity
in counseling and psychotherapy. Boston: Pearson.
Stalvey, L. M. (1989). The education of a WASP. Madison, WI:
University of Wisconsin.
Takaki, R. (1993). A different mirror: A history of multicultural
America. Boston: Little & Brown.
Tec, Nechama (1984). Dry tears: The story of a lost childhood. New
York: Oxford University.
Thompson, C. E. (in press). Psychological theory and culture:
Implications for practice. In. R. T. Carter (Ed.) Handbook of racial-
cultural psychology. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Thompson, C. E. (2003). Awareness and identity. In T. B. Smith and
P. S. Richards (Eds.) Practicing multiculturalism: Internalizing and
affirming diversity in counseling psychology. Boston, MA: Allyn &
Thompson, C. E., & Carter, R. T. (1997). Racial identity theory:
Applications to individual, group, and organizational interventions.
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Thompson, C. E., & Neville, H. A. (1999). Racism, mental health, and
mental health practice. The Counseling Psychologist, 27, 155-223.
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NJ: Africa World.
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people. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.