Assignment 2: Multiculturalism in Graduate Programs and Continuing Education

| October 3, 2018

M5 A2

Module 5 Overview

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Module 5 is
devoted to ethics—one of the cornerstones of the mental health professions.
It is important to know professional codes of ethics such as those developed
by the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American Psychological
Association (APA), and other professional organizations as they provide
standards for all aspects of professional work. It is also important to be
aware of the existence of other guidelines that have been developed by the
professional organizations that offer additional information about working
with multiculturally diverse clients. Finally, counselors should also
consider possible legal aspects involved in working with culturally diverse
clients. Some of these legal aspects will be reviewed briefly in Module
5. In this module, you will review ethical codes and guidelines and apply
them to a vignette. You will also address ways to train mental health
professionals, both in graduate programs and through continuing education

What Are Ethics

Welfel (2010, p. 4) proposed five
dimensions that comprise ethics in the mental health professions:

Having sufficient knowledge, skill, and
judgment to use efficacious interventions
Respecting the human dignity and freedom of
the clients
Using the power inherent in the
professional’s role responsibly
Acting in ways that promote the confidence
of the public in the profession
Committing to placing the welfare of the
clients as the professional’s highest priority
She further stated that professional codes
of ethics serve as guidelines in following these five dimensions of
professional behavior. It is easy to see how Welfel’s five dimensions encompass
working with culturally diverse clients.

Vasquez (2010) discussed several areas that
counselors should consider when working with clients in order to provide more
multiculturally competent and, therefore, ethical services. These include
recognizing the importance of the therapeutic alliance, understanding some of
the barriers to effective treatment, being aware of one’s own unconscious bias,
and monitoring self for missed opportunities to exhibit empathy toward the
client. In addition to recognizing the adversities that culturally diverse
clients may face, it is also important to recognize their areas of strength and
resilience. Such acknowledgment can legitimately contribute to clients’ sense
of empowerment and self-efficacy (Vasquez, 2010).

Vasquez, M. J. T. (2010). Ethics in
multicultural counseling practice. In J. G.

Ponterotto, J. M. Casas, L. A. Suzuki, & C. M. Alexander (Eds.),

Handbook of multicultural counseling (3rd ed., pp. 127–145). Thousand

Oaks, CA: Sage.
Welfel, E. R. (2010). Ethics in counseling
and psychotherapy: Standards,

research, and emerging issues (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Codes of Ethics and Multiculturalism

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Both ACA’s (2005) and APA’s (2010) codes
of ethics specifically address cultural diversity. Both of these
organizations emphasize the acknowledgment of diversity in introductory
sections to their codes of ethics. The ACA’s (2005) code of ethics states,
“Association members recognize diversity and embrace a cross-cultural
approach in support of the worth, dignity, potential, and uniqueness of
people within their social and cultural contexts” (“Preamble,” p. 1).
Principle D in the APA’s (2010) code of conduct states that psychologists are
sensitive to and respectful of cultural diversity and lists a number of
characteristics that contribute to diversity (e.g., age, gender, race,
religion, sexual orientation, etc.). Both codes have additional sections that
address multiculturalism; some of these sections apply to therapist
sensitivity and awareness, while others address the issue of competence when
working with culturally diverse individuals. At times, the relationship
between specific sections of codes of ethics and cultural diversity may be
more oblique. For example, the ability of a client to give informed consent
for treatment may be affected by the language used. If the informed consent
is written in English and the client speaks Urdu, can the client really give
informed consent? Other professional organizations have codes of ethics with
a similar emphasis on sensitivity to multiculturalism.
In regard to professional competence,
Pope and Vasquez (2011) discussed two aspects of competence associated with
working with culturally diverse clients. First, the counselor should be
knowledgeable of the client’s culture. However, the counselor should avoid
making stereotypes about the client based on this knowledge. Pope and Vasquez
summarized this dilemma nicely, “Knowledge of cultural and socioeconomic
contexts becomes the basis for informed inquiry rather than the illusion of
uniform group characteristics with which to stereotype the client”
(2011, p. 262).
American Counseling Association.
(2005). ACA code of ethics. Alexandria,
VA: Author.
Retrieved from
American Psychological Association.
(2010). Ethical principles of psychologists
and code of
conduct. Washington, DC: Retrieved from
Pope, K. S., & Vasquez, M. J. T.
(2011). Ethics in psychotherapy and counseling:
A practical guide
(4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Additional Guidance

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It is easy to see the importance of
multiculturalism to professional organizations when one reviews the number of
additional guidelines on various aspects of working with cultural diversity.
Sometimes, divisions of professional organizations develop additional
materials. For example, within ACA, the Association for Spiritual, Ethical,
and Religious Values in Counseling has developed its own competencies.
Another division within ACA, i.e., the Association for Multicultural
Counseling and Development, has its multicultural counseling competencies.
Professional organizations also develop
additional guidelines that help inform their members and the mental health
professions as a whole. APA has created a number of guidelines addressing
various aspects of multiculturalism (e.g., education and training in the area
of cultural diversity; working with older adults; working with individuals
with disabilities; working with women and children; and working with lesbian,
gay, and bisexual clients). The National Association of Social Workers has
prepared an additional document specifying indicators for cultural
You, as a mental health professional,
should know that these resources exist and how to review them. They provide
helpful guidance and serve as professional standards of practice.

Legal Factors to Consider

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One area of multiculturalism and
counseling that has seen recent legal involvement is dispute over refusal to
counsel specific groups of clients. One case involved the dismissal of a
graduate student enrolled in a counseling program at Eastern Michigan
University after the student refused to work with a gay client. The student
was subsequently dismissed from the program; he or she sued the university.
This case was heard in federal court and then appealed through the federal
court of appeals (Ward v. Polite, 2012). It would be worthwhile
to review professional codes of ethics to see if they offer any guidance on
this type of situation.
Legal issues related to multiculturalism
may come into play in unexpected ways. Pope and Vasquez (2011) presented an
excellent scenario for consideration. Essentially, the scenario involves you,
as a therapist, who works in an office with other therapists, one of whom is
Jewish. One night, your colleague’s office is vandalized with painted
derogatory symbols and phrases. You suspect that one of your clients has
committed this crime due to statements he or she has made during your counseling
sessions. Questions are posed about actions you might take: Would you share
your suspicions about your client with the victim of the vandalism or hate
crime? Would you notify the police of your suspicions? If so, would you have
concerns about breaching confidentiality? Would you talk with your client
about your suspicions? Would you address his or her attitudes toward Jewish
people? (Pope & Vasquez, 2011, pp. 273–274). These are interesting
questions to consider, and the answers are not clear or easy.
Pope, K. S., & Vasquez, M. J. T.
(2011). Ethics in psychotherapy and counseling:
A practical
guide (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Ward v. Polite, 667 F.3d 727 (6th Cir.


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In this module, you became familiar with
the many resources that are available to mental health professionals through
professional organizations. It is important to have a good understanding of
these sources of information as they provide standards and guidelines for
ethical practice. Counselors should be familiar with revisions to codes of
ethics and guidelines as they are expected to follow the most recent version
of such documents. When a counselor has questions about working with
multicultural clients, ethical resources are an excellent starting place in
researching answers.
In this module’s assignments, you will
explore when it is the right time to refer clients to another mental health
professional for therapy. You will also create a syllabus for a multicultural
course for mental health graduate students and summarize two continuing
education courses or workshops.

M5 A2
Assignment 2: Multiculturalism in
Graduate Programs and Continuing Education
If one accepts the premise that knowledge
of multiculturalism is important for mental health professionals, then
decisions must be made on when and how professionals should learn this
information. How should graduate training programs integrate multiculturalism
into their curricula? Is the training that professionals receive in graduate
programs sufficient or should they supplement their knowledge after graduation
through continuing education opportunities? Hopefully, these two common
learning modalities—individual courses and continuing education units—provide
sufficient information for a counselor to develop awareness, knowledge, and
skills in working with culturally diverse individuals.

Part 1: Create a syllabus for a
multicultural course for mental health graduate students. You may either
create a course that is specific to multiculturalism (i.e., a
multicultural or diversity course) or create a course that covers
different subject matter (e.g., assessment, diagnosis, theories of
counseling, etc.) that you expand upon to integrate multicultural
information. For your syllabus, include the following information: course
title, target audience, credit, course description, learning objectives or
outcomes, and an outline of assignments.
Part 2: Summarize two continuing
education courses or workshops that are offered by or approved by the
American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association,
or your local or regional professional organization. Given the description
of the course or workshop, recommend whether it would be beneficial for
you to complete it. Explain why the course or workshop would be beneficial
or unnecessary, given your current level of awareness, knowledge, and
skills in working with culturally diverse individuals. Provide suggestions
on ways you would improve the course or workshop if you were the
Your final product will be a Word document, approximately 5–6
pages long. Utilize at least 3–4 scholarly sources in your research. Make
sure that you write in a clear, concise, and organized manner; demonstrate
ethical scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of sources;
and display accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Submission Details:

By Wednesday, June 10, 2015, save your Microsoft
Word document as M5_A2_Lastname_Firstname.doc and submit it to the M5
Assignment 2 Dropbox.

This assignment is worth 100 points and
will be graded according to the following rubric.

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