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Cross Cultural Practices, Cultural Diversity & Ethical Boundaries: Overcoming Barriers to Counseling Effectiveness
On the last track we discussed Atkinson’s Minority Identity Development Model and its five stages. The five stages of the Minority Identity Development Model were the Conformity Stage, the Dissonance Stage, the Resistance and Immersion Stage, the Introspection Stage, and the Synergetic Articulation and Awareness Stage.
On this track we will discuss the culturally different client’s Locus of Control. Obviously a client may have one of two Loci of Control. Your client may have either an Internal Locus of Control or an External Locus of Control. Later in this track we will discuss the Locus of Responsibility. Again, there may be either an Internal Locus of Responsibility or an External Locus of Responsibility.
Ethically you as a therapist should consider your culturally different client’s Locus of Control in counseling him or her. A high Internal Locus of Control is correlated with greater attempts at mastering the environment, superior coping strategies, better cognitive processing of information, lower predisposition to anxiety, higher achievement motivation, greater social action involvement, and placing greater value on skill determined rewards. As you are probably aware these are all attributes that are highly valued by the traditional white American society and constitute core features of mental health.
However, culturally different clients often have a high External Locus of Control. Thus, a counselor who doesn’t take this External Locus of Control into account in counseling a client of a different culture may inaccurately interpret the client as being inherently apathetic, lazy, or depressed.
From the typical white American perspective, as you are well aware, the External Locus of Control is simply based on chance and luck. I have found that these two forces of chance and luck tend to be impersonal and have little value. However, in both Chinese and Native American culture for example, the External Locus of Control is often greatly valued. Among Chinese the External Locus of Control places the importance on the family, traditions, and social roles, which are highly valued in their culture.
If Chieu had been a traditional white client, I would have suspected that she had many repressed feelings. I then would have had her take a personality test to better guide the counseling process. However, because Chieu was Chinese, I knew that this behavior was typical and reflected her cultural values of the External Locus of Control. Make sense?
Locus of Responsibility
However, instead of an Internal Locus of Responsibility, culturally different clients may require an External Locus of Responsibility, which places responsibility on society. As you are well aware, because racism still exists in society, ethically, an External Locus of Responsibility may be appropriate in some situations. For clients who may need to adopt an External Locus of Responsibility, counseling that operates on an Internal Locus of Responsibility may reinforce inappropriate blame the client is feeling.
What is your culturally different client’s Locus of Control? What is his or her Locus of Responsibility? What ethical implications might his or her Locus of Control and Locus of Responsibility have on your counseling methods?
On this track we have discussed the culturally different client’s Locus of Control, as well as the Locus of Responsibility. Your culturally different client may have either an Internal Locus of Control or an External Locus of Control. In counseling, your culturally different client may adopt either an Internal Locus of Responsibility or an External Locus of Responsibility.
On the next track we will discuss the treatment of fear in culturally different clients who are coping with the loci of control and responsibility discussed on the previous track and the five stages of identity development discussed on this track.
McGinnies, E., Nordholm, L. A., Ward, C. D., & Bhanthumnavin, D. L. (1974). Sex and cultural differences in perceived locus of control among students in five countries. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42(3), 451–455.
Sodowsky, G. R., Kuo-Jackson, P. Y., Richardson, M. F., & Corey, A. T.
(1998). Correlates of self-reported multicultural competencies: Counselor multicultural social desirability, race, social inadequacy, locus of control racial ideology, and multicultural training. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 45(3), 256–264.
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