According to Lee (2007: 1-34) multicultural counseling is a therapeutic relationship that recognizes the importance of the racial and ethnic identifications of both the counselor and the client. Furthermore, it is a relationship based on a counseling process that rests on certain values, one of which is understanding the uniqueness of the individual in terms of learning styles, life purposes and goals.
The National Guidance Research Forum (NGRF, 2009: 1) states that all multicultural counseling includes several key recognitions despite their differences. One of the most important of these recognitions is that therapy, as well as other helping modes, has a cultural context. The NGRF (1) also notes that what makes a given therapy 'multicultural' is its emphasis upon several factors. These factors are: client differences; the impact of family and cultural factors on clients' worldviews; and familial and cultural concerns.
The purpose of this paper is to examine two theories of mutlicultural counseling. These are: The Universal Theory and The Culture Specific Theory. The paper compares and contrasts both of these multicultural counseling models in terms of their theoretical orientation as well as their counseling methods and techniques. The paper ends with a series of conclusions about the two models and their similarities and differences; these conclusions are formulated based on the reviewed literature and discussion of the studies.
The universalist approach to multicultural counseling accepts the basic premises of all multicultural counseling which is that, as stated earlier, effective counseling requires consideration of its cultural context. However, according to Vontress (2001: 83-97), the universalist model of multicultural counseling holds that there are key commonalities in the psychological and emotional nature and the experiences of human beings irrespective of cultural differences. Given this fact, the uni...