Assessment and Reflection Paper on Cultural Competencies

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From the outset of my class until today, my multicultural experience has been substantially enhanced and transformed. In this regard I am willing, in order to communicate and connect effectively, to enhance my understanding of the value or significance of multicultural awareness. In terms of multicultural surroundings, these advantages include achieving a greater consciousness of oneself, deeper comprehension of others, forming new friendships, improving interpersonal skills, fostering cure and a survived platform in the multicultural universe. Alternatively, I have been able to demonstrate greater understanding, appreciation, and sensitivity to the values, experiences, and lifestyles of different groups in agreement with race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, and mental/physical abilities. Moreover, I have been able to understand elements of MAKSS (Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills Survey) tool, which will form the basis of this essay (Kim, Cartwright, Asay, & D’Andrea, 2003). The tool comes out as a self-assessment platform in the determination of the multicultural counseling awareness, knowledge, and skills. Based on the findings of the MAKSS tool, I will highlight and illustrate my development and transformation of multicultural perspective from the beginning of the class to the current state.

Multicultural Counseling Awareness

The MAKSS aims at measuring the individual’s multicultural counseling awareness, knowledge, and skills. The tool incorporates 60 items, which undergo categorization into three critical subscales. The first part contains items from 1 to 20 and aims at assessment of multicultural counseling awareness. Multicultural counseling awareness relates to the ability and potentiality of the counselor in broadening his or her awareness, as well as understanding of the critical roles of the culture, identity, race, ethnicity, gender, and other elements of diversity, which play role in the counseling process (Vincent & Torres, 2015).

It is ideal for multicultural counselors to have substantive knowledge and understanding of the implications of such aspects of diversity. The awareness is ideal in the determination of how necessary skills influence the effective engagement of the diverse clientele. Multicultural counseling relates to how a professional counselor engages the client from the diverse cultural group, thus, increased desire for understanding the implications of this diversity on the interactions and counseling relationship (Smith & Trimble, 2016). Categorically, multicultural counseling awareness relates to the ability and prowess of the counselor to identify, as well as acknowledge the existence of the differences mentioned above in the counseling relationship.

In the multicultural counseling awareness section, I was able to score 61 out of a possible 80. In this aspect, I was able to highlight my awareness of the influence of these issues or elements of diversity on counseling relationship. In most questions, I managed to record a score of three, which did relate to agreeing to the integrated statements or questions, as well as possessing appropriate knowledge of the diversity issues impact on the realization of effective and efficient relationship or interaction between the counselor and client (Keršienė & Savanevičienė, 2015). On the other hand, I recorded low scores in certain questions in the MAKSS, for this first part of multicultural counseling awareness.

In this section, one of the questions, which stood out in the assessment, is question 17. The objective of the question is to highlight the role and influence of the counselor, as well as his or her awareness skills in the counseling relationship. According to this question, counselors need to change the content of what they think, as well as the manner in which they handle the content in order to adopt accurate account for the complexity of the human behavior. This flexibility is significant in the demonstration of the counselor’s multicultural awareness in the midst of diversities among the clients, thus, the opportunity for effective interaction.

In this assessment, I did not have a score of one, which is the lowest in the four possible solutions. However, I scored two in different cases such as the first question, which I did disagree on the fact that culture is internal rather than external. Based on this score, I believe that culture integrates both biological and environmental aspects, thus, both internal and external in the development of the individual. Furthermore, in question 16, I disagreed with the obligation to direct counseling services toward assisting clients in their adjustment to the stressful environment situations. It is critical to highlight the role of multicultural counseling awareness in facilitating the development of empathy to the clients in different situations. The approach will identify and appreciate cultural diversity.

Nevertheless, I achieved the record of three or four in the remaining questions. The scores in these questions highlight the development and transformation in the multicultural perspective, especially in the identification and appreciation of the role and implication of the diversities among groups within the society. I was able to assess my skills or expertise on the issues regarding multicultural counseling.

Multicultural Counseling Knowledge

In the second section of the MAKSS, the focus is on the assessment or evaluation of the multicultural counseling knowledge while concentrating on questions 21 to 40. The objective of this section is to highlight my understanding of the critical terms and concepts regarding multicultural counseling. Since counseling in this aspect, tend to deal with the multicultural groups, I used this section to unlock the unlimited capacity and knowledge regarding multicultural awareness.

In the section, I managed to score 59 out of the possible 80 points in MAKSS. Based on this, I was able to demonstrate a mixed level of understanding and comprehension on the multicultural counseling. For instance, I scored highly in certain questions but did not score 1 in any of the questions from this section in the survey.

In addressing the expectations of this assessment section, I encountered different sophisticated questions, especially those from 21 to 32, which sought to assess my understanding of the issues or concepts in multicultural counseling. For instance, there was a question on cultural encapsulation, which I had limited knowledge about during the assessment. Nonetheless, I used this opportunity to research about this concept, thus, the platform to gain an improved understanding of the concept as lack of understanding or ignorance of the cultural background of an individual and the implication of this information on his or her perspective of the world (Lee, 2014). In other questions, I was able to learn new concepts such as mainstreaming, multicultural counseling, ethnocentrism, and pluralism. These elements were critical in arousing my desire for further research in order to improve my understanding.

In this spectrum, I was able to score lowest in diverse questions, thus, the tendency to record the score of two out of the possible four. These scores did relate to the limited knowledge and understanding I had on different issues or concepts regarding the aspects of multicultural counseling. For example, I was able to integrate the lowest scores in questions regarding cultural encapsulation, mainstreaming, multicultural counseling, ethnocentrism, and pluralism (Dillon et al., 2016). Based on the scores for these questions, I will use the output of the survey to improve my cognition on these issues and concepts. This is important to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of counseling relationship and interaction.

In this spectrum, there were also many questions, which I succeeded to score highly. In particular, I did demonstrate a good understanding of the concepts such as culture, ethnicity, good, prejudice, contact hypothesis, attribution, and transcultural. This highlights the level of knowledge I have been able to acquire since the beginning of the course to the current state (Ivers, Johnson, Clarke, Newsome, & Berry, 2016). Similarly, scored highest on the question regarding the ability or potentiality of the doctors and psychiatrists to adopt and use similar techniques in the achievement of their goals and targets. Evidently, I had the opportunity to test and unlock my understanding about the issues and concepts regarding multicultural counseling.

Multicultural Counseling Skills

In this aspect, MAKSS’ questions 41 to 60 aims at offering a substantive assessment of the multicultural counseling skills. These skills are crucial in enabling individuals to adapt to the counseling skills for the multicultural and diverse clients. Counselors need to seek out education, training experiences with the intention of improving their understanding, as well as effectiveness in working with the diverse populations. I believe that this section of the MAKSS could enable practitioners to enhance their self-actualization as national and cultural entities, thus, the platform for seeking non-racist identity.

In this section, I achieved different scores based on an understanding of the concepts and issues presented. For instance, I was able to get high marks in certain questions while rating lowly in others. I scored majorly on the ‘limited’ option to accumulate 2 points out of four. As a result, I have 46 out of the possible 80 points.

One of the most remarkable questions was one about the essence of confidentiality as evident (number 53). In this regard, I demonstrate good ability in acknowledging the importance of securing information and resources for efficient counseling relationship with the culturally diverse clients. In about 14 questions, I managed to score 2 out of 4 points. On the other hand, I had the opportunity to demonstrate effectiveness in understanding the elements in this section of MAKSS. Clearly, I have substantive skills, but there is room for improvement on the aspect of counseling culturally diverse clients in the achievement of the quality counseling relationship.

Application of MAKSS to another Culture

One of the cultures, which prove to be unique in comparison to my culture, is the Chinese one. There are diverse aspects of the Chinese language in which more than 1.2 billion people aim to communicate effectively. One of the critical aspects of this culture is the importance of ‘face.’ This reflects in the essence of honor, good reputation, and respect. There is a need for the Chinese to engage in protecting face once his or her actions and deeds become public. There is also the aspect of the face in which Chinese strive to offer the desired respect or avoide mistakes based on wise actions. From this perspective, the culture aims at the protection of the face at all times. This civilization is also associated with the element of Confucianism, thus, integration of behaviors and ethics stressing obligations of the individuals towards one another in agreement with the relationship (Yoon, Jérémie-Brink, & Kordesh, 2014).

A particular set of beliefs, norms, values, and expectations of the Chinese culture have the tendency to influence the counseling relationships. For instance, protection of the ‘face’ as a belief in the Chinese culture might play a critical role in limiting openness during the counseling session. Alternatively, Chinese non-verbal communication tends to speak volumes. From this perspective, such individuals tend to rely on facial express, posture, and tone of voice in the determination of what someone intends to communicate or feel. These elements of the culture might have substantive implications on the effectiveness of the counseling relationship (Dillon et al., 2016).

In the 21st century, counselors have the responsibility to demonstrate competencies with respect to the elements of multiculturalism, as well as diversity. From a definitional perspective, culture refers to the way of life of a defined group. This way of life can be cognitive, affective, unconscious, conscious, visible, and invisible. Some of the sources of the Chinese culture include national, universal, ecological, regional, and racial. These civilizational attributes play significant role in shaping and influencing how Chinese behave in different circumstances including counseling context (Lee, 2014). Chinese culture, in this case, tends to have major influence on the counseling relationship, treatment plan, payment, diagnosis, and potential follow-up. It is important to highlight the fact that counseling comes out as a holistic process. One of the potential implications of culture (beliefs, traditions, and customs among others) is the determination of the individual to execute the role of the helper.

These cultural attribute might influence the patient’s decision in the selection of their counselors based on specific characteristics such as age, experience, and expertise depending on their perceptions of the individuals as a culture. In the course of overcoming these implications in the counseling process, I would consider the integration of the concept of the self in the counseling process. This relates to the adoption and integration of the self-reflection towards becoming a competent multicultural counselor. In this aspect, I would start with the clear and precise identification of the personal view of the world, as well as beliefs about the Chinese culture, which is different from mine (Lee, 2014). The approach would contribute to the unveiling of the prejudices, stereotypes, and feelings concerning clients from the Chinese culture. Moreover, it is ideal to demonstrate open-mindedness or willingness to learn about the cultural diversity to enhance effective counseling relationship. These attributes will demonstrate the desire to conceptualize the role of culture in improving or destroying counseling practice and relationship.

Based on the score on MAKSS, I believe that I can integrate my skills, knowledge, and awareness in the course of becoming an effective counselor while dealing with the Chinese population. In particular, I will be able to integrate awareness and knowledge on the concepts of this culture to communicate and interact effectively with the clients from this population (Keršienė & Savanevičienė, 2015). I will also be able to use my experience and awareness, as well as skills in appreciating the diversity in culture. Moreover, I will integrate my expertise to improve the level of interaction or communication in pursuit of a quality counselor-client relationship. On the other hand, I will be able to use the results for improving my awareness, knowledge, and skills, which I recorded minimum scores, thus, the opportunity to enhance the quality of the counselor-client relationship.

Conclusion

To summarize, the MAKSS tool was useful for me in terms of highlighting and illustrating my development and transformation from multicultural perspective from the beginning of the class to current state. Based on the findings of the MAKSS, I scored 61 in awareness section, 59 in the knowledge section and 46 in the skills’ section. In average, I scored 8.3 on the MAKSS regarding the awareness, knowledge, and skills. The achieved results are significant to understand my prowess and position in cultural counseling, thus, the platform to improve on the cultural competencies. This assignment fostered my understanding of the culture appreciation, as well as diversity for effective counselor-client relationship. I will integrate the scores from MAKSS with the intention to promote my knowledge about the concepts and elements, which I had limited understanding about or ability to use. Overall, proper understanding and application of these elements are crucial for the improvement of the cultural competences.

References

Dillon, F. R., et al. (2016). A dyadic study of multicultural counseling competence. Journal of counseling psychology, 63(1), 57

Ivers, N. N., Johnson, D. A., Clarke, P. B., Newsome, D. W., & Berry, R. A. (2016). The relationship between mindfulness and multicultural counseling competence. Journal of Counseling & Development, 94(1), 72-82.

Keršienė, K., & Savanevičienė, A. (2015). Defining and understanding organization multicultural competence. Engineering economics, 42(2), 45-52.

Kim, B. S., Cartwright, B. Y., Asay, P. A., & D’Andrea, M. J. (2003). A revision of the multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills survey-counselor edition. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 36(3), 161-181

Lee, C. C. (Ed.). (2014). Multicultural issues in counseling: New approaches to diversity. John Wiley & Sons.

Smith, T. B., & Trimble, J. E. (2016). Multicultural education/training and experience: A meta-analysis of surveys and outcome studies. In foundations of multicultural psychology: Research to inform effective practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Vincent, S., & Torres, R. (2015). Multicultural competence: A case study of teachers and their student perceptions. Journal of Agricultural Education, 56(2), 64-75.

Yoon, E., Jérémie-Brink, G., & Kordesh, K. (2014). Critical issues in teaching a multicultural counseling course. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 36(4), 359-371

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