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Moving towards a comprehensive understanding of multicultural counseling competence: the role of diversity cognitive complexity

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This study explored several training variables that may contribute to counseling trainees' multicultural counseling self-efficacy and multicultural case conceptualization ability. Specifically, this study aimed to examine the cognitive processes that

This study explored several training variables that may contribute to counseling trainees' multicultural counseling self-efficacy and multicultural case conceptualization ability. Specifically, this study aimed to examine the cognitive processes that contribute to multicultural counseling competence (MCC) outcome variables. Clinical experience, multicultural knowledge, and multicultural awareness are assumed to provide the foundation for the development of these outcome variables. The role of how a counselor trainee utilizes this knowledge and awareness in working with diverse populations has not been explored. Diversity cognitive complexity (DCC) quantifies the process by which a counselor thinks about different elements of diversity in a multidimensional manner. The current study examined the role of DCC on the relationship between training variables of direct clinical experience with diverse populations, multicultural knowledge, and multicultural awareness and the two training outcomes (multicultural counseling self-efficacy and multicultural case conceptualization ability). A total of one hundred and sixty-one graduate trainees participated in the study. A series of hypotheses were tested to examine the impact of DCC on the relationship between MCC predictors (multicultural knowledge, multicultural awareness, and direct contact hours with diverse clinical populations) and two MCC outcomes: multicultural counseling self-efficacy and multicultural case conceptualization ability. Hierarchical regression analyses were utilized to test whether DCC mediated or moderated the relationship between the predictors and the outcome variables. Multicultural knowledge and clinical hours with diverse populations were significant predictors of multicultural counseling self-efficacy. Multicultural awareness was a significant predictor of multicultural case conceptualization ability. Diversity cognitive complexity was not a significantly related to any predictor or outcome variable, thus all hypotheses tested were rejected. The results of the current study support graduate programs emphasizing counselor trainees gaining multicultural knowledge and awareness as well as direct clinical experience with diverse clinical populations in an effort to foster MCC. Although diversity cognitive complexity was not significantly related to the predictor or outcome variables in this study, further research is warranted to determine the validity of the measure used to assess DCC. The findings in this study support the need for further research exploring training variables that contribute to multicultural counseling outcomes.

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  • 2013

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Counselors-in-training's perceptions of clients: the influences of client weight and job status

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It is crucial for counselors to be aware of their own attitudes and beliefs and to prevent them from influencing the counseling process. The prevalence of obesity is growing and

It is crucial for counselors to be aware of their own attitudes and beliefs and to prevent them from influencing the counseling process. The prevalence of obesity is growing and biases against obese people are becoming more apparent. Counselors must become aware of the potential weight bias and what factors influence it. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether counselors- in-training hold negative attitudes toward obese clients and whether the career status of the client affects these perceptions. Seventy-six students in graduate level counseling programs at Arizona State University were randomly assigned one of four vignettes describing either an obese bookkeeper, a normal weight bookkeeper, an obese executive, or a normal weight executive. Negative attitudes were measured using two scales; one evaluating perceived personal characteristics of the client and one evaluating the perceived work efficacy. Results indicated that counselors-in-training perceived the client with more negative characteristics when the client was described as obese rather than normal weight, and also when she was described as having a low status job compared to a high status job. The perceived work efficacy of the presented client was not affected by the client’s weight or job status. It is important for students in counseling programs to receive training regarding weight biases and job status biases.

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  • 2011