Multicultural Counseling Critique: Counseling Utilization by Ethnic Minority College Students
Although the practice of counseling has evolved considerably since its inception, the concept of multicultural competence remains novel. Engrossed in the lives of every clinician are underlined biases and prejudices that act as filters in which every interaction with a clients is affected. Current research on the topic of multicultural counseling has shown that although multicultural awareness is on the rise there is still a remarkable gap in research regarding the use of counseling service and outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities (Kerney,Draper, & Baron, 2005). Insights such as these have encouraged researchers to investigate multicultural counseling, on many different levels of delivery. One such level is that of the university counseling center setting. Kerney, Draper, & Baron (2005) suggest that in order to address the need for research on the effectiveness of therapy for minorities, one must examine the current effectiveness of therapy on university campuses and the coinciding utilization of counseling services by racial and ethnic minorities. In order to do this the researchers examined the differences among African American, Asian American, Latino, and Caucasian students in therapy attendance after intake, and the severity of distress at both intake and last session (Kerney,Draper, & Baron, 2005). The current paper will critique the research conducted by Kerney, Draper, & Baron, in order to gain further awareness into multicultural competent methods of working with ethnic and racial minorities.
The current research addressed the issue of ethnic and racial minorities’ utilization of counseling services in a university setting, by suggesting numerous factors that affect usage. One factor suggested was that minorities may perceive mental health services as unrelated to their needs. Another is the potential stigma associated with the use of mental health services. Closely associated with this stigma is the belief in seeking help from religious leaders, such as pastors, and or priest. The authors suggest that a combination of these factors coupled with a lack of clinician multicultural awareness, serves as a powerful force keeping individuals of ethnic and racial backgrounds from utilizing counseling services (Kerney,Draper, & Baron, 2005). Due to these factors the researchers hypothesized that ethnic and racial minority participation in counseling services will be lower than that of their Caucasian counterparts. Furthermore they suggest that ethnic and racial minorities will present for counseling services with increased severity of symptomatology. Lastly researchers propose that Caucasians students will report more positive outcomes than minority students even when severity and number of session are controlled.
In order to test their hypothesis researchers gathered students who attended colleges that are part of the Research Consortium of...