Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson are two prominent psychologists in the field of human growth and development. Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development and Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development provide a background for understanding the developmental context of clients. Life-span development theory states that individuals continue to develop from infancy to late adulthood. Therefore, it is important to recognize that each client is in a particular stage of development. For example, if you are working with a 9-year-old client and an 80-year-old client, their current stages of emotional, physical, social, spiritual, and cognitive development would be vastly different. This understanding of the developmental context of your clients is foundational for client conceptualization and choosing appropriate intervention methods.
A client’s cultural background is also critically important. Where your client was born and raised, the cultural beliefs and religious convictions of the client’s family, and the different cultures and beliefs of the communities where the client lived is also fundamental to understanding your client and determining appropriate intervention methods.
While you must be aware of your client’s developmental and socio-cultural context, it is just as important to be aware of your own, with its biases and beliefs, so that your client conceptualization is not influenced by a lack of self-awareness. Participating in self-assessment can help counselors gain an understanding of who they are, what they believe, and how to separate personal biases from the counseling process.
For this Journal Assignment, you will assess your multicultural awareness and cultural competence, and consider the importance of multicultural awareness and cultural competence to the practice of clinical mental health counseling.
Due to the somewhat abstract topic of this Assignment, you are asked to present your thoughts as a reflective journal entry. Regular reflection through journaling is a common practice for counselors, and both counseling students and professionals find the practice helpful to their self-awareness and professional growth (Woodbridge & Rust O’Beirne, 2017).
- Take the Multicultural Self-Assessment (Petrone, 2004) in the Learning Resources and save your results. Please note: the assessment is a self-reflection tool. It does not yield a numerical score; your interpretation of the process and results is the outcome.
- Take two Harvard Implicit Bias self-assessments of your choice from https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html
- Reflect on your personal attitudes, cultural beliefs, biases, behavior, and world view and how these factors might impact your delivery of counseling techniques.
- Reflect on your level of self-awareness, the importance of cultural awareness to the practice of clinical mental health counseling, and any changes you plan to implement as a result of the self-assessments.
Assignment: Journal Entry (3-4 pages)
Use the Multicultural Awareness Journal Template to create your journal entry. In your journal entry, include the following:
- Summaries and reactions to the self-assessment results and reflection process
- Summarize the results of your Multicultural Self-Assessment.
- Identify which Harvard Implicit Bias self-assessments you took and summarize the results
- Explain how your results might make sense in light of the cultural influences in your life and/or your life experiences.
- Reflections on being “other
- Based on the media for this week, briefly tell the story of the first time you realized you were “other.”
- Discuss your reactions to your realization of being “other.”
- Explain how your developmental stage impacted your experience of “otherness.”
- Implications for personal development and professional practice
- Describe perceived gaps in cultural competency and actions you plan to take as a result of the self-assessment and reflection process.
- Explain the importance of multicultural awareness and cultural competency to the practice of clinical mental health counseling.