Cultural Competence

Cultural Competence. In today’s diverse world, it is imperative for professional counselors to become culturally competent. Each culture has their own ways of doing things and beliefs in family structure, how emotions are addressed, and how they interact with one another. For this reason, it is very important for a counselor to understand that there is no one size fits all method to counseling and he or she must be aware of how to address problems with clients of a different culture.

Cultural Competence

To be culturally competent not only means a professional counselor understand themselves and their personal biases, but also takes the time to understand their client’s cultural background, beliefs, values, and heritage (Jones, et al., 2016). The Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD) Multicultural Counseling Competencies (1996) note the need for counselors to understand social injustices that clients of multicultural backgrounds face; discrimination, racism, and oppression. The competencies go further to discuss the necessity for counselors to understand his or her social impact and seek further education of multicultural backgrounds to be better able to help multicultural clients.

Personal Cultural Competence

Since beginning my journey to become a licensed marriage, couple, and family counselor, I have spent quite some time working on my self-awareness. I have come to understand that I benefit from white privilege. I also have become aware how that privilege plays a role to continue to discriminate and create a world of inequality. Although, this privilege is not something I asked for, I am inherently positioned with it and it is my responsibility to use that to help advocate for social justice. Pamela A. Hays (2016) discusses how understanding privilege could create a sense of authority or power, which has not been the case with me. As Hays goes on to discuss, humility is an important trait for counselors to have. I believe I have that humility and compassion she discusses.

As for my knowledge, I have the self-awareness of my own biases and privilege, but I hold very little knowledge of other cultures. However, I do feel that I have cultural sensitivity and desire to learn as much as I can of other cultures to be able to help multicultural clients. Derald Wing Sue and David Sue (2016) discuss how many white students begin feeling defensive and unfairly blamed for the injustice the members of minority groups face. The one advantage I have is that my anger is directed towards the injustice itself and it encourages me to pursue how I can increase my skill set and become an advocate.

Training Needed

Further education in other cultures is something I definitely need to focus on. Learning through observation of a supervisor, who is culturally competent, is another way to develop a better understanding of helping multicultural clients. The AMCD Multicultural Counseling Competencies (1996) also state that competent counselors continue to seek out education and review their self-awareness regularly. Seminars, educational classes, and collaboration with multicultural competent colleagues will help me to gain the skills needed to become a well-trained and multicultural competent counselor.


AMCD multicultural counseling competencies. (1996). Retrieved from

Hays, P. A. (2016). Addressing cultural complexities in practice: Assessment, diagnosis, and therapy (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Jones, J. M., Begay, K. K., Nakagawa, Y., Cevasco, M., & Sit, J. (2016). Multicultural counseling competence training: Adding value with multicultural consultation. Journal Of Educational & Psychological Consultation, 26(3), 241-265. doi:10.1080/10474412.2015.1012671

Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2016). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Cultural Competence