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INSTRUCTOR - Joseph E. Trimble, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Director, Office of Institutional Assessment and Testing

OFFICE/OFFICE HOURS - Old Main 120. No set hours. Appointments may be necessary.

TEXT - Pedersen, P., Dragons, J., Lonner, W., & Trimble, J. (Eds.), (1996). Counseling Across Cultures, 4th Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


"We who live in the hollows of the earth imagine that we dwell on the surface above - as if a creature at the bottom of the sea were to fancy itself living on the surface of the water. But if any man could take wings and fly upward, he would - like a fish putting its head out of the water and seeing this world - see a world above this world, where common stones are transparent gems, where unknown colors shine, where gods really walk in the sacred , groves and speak to men in the temples. And if man's nature could bear such a seeing, he would acknowledge that there, not here, is the true earth."

-Socrates to Simmias

Phaedo of Plato

"No great improvements in the lot o mankind are possible, until a great !f change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought. "

-John Stuart Mill


"When you find anything good in the white man's road pick it up. When you find something that is bad or turns out bad drop it and leave it alone. "

-Sitting Bull Hunkpapa oyati


The seminar will review and explore fundamental issues concerning the practice of providing counseling services for people from different cultural, ethnic, and national backgrounds, and, to some extent, other people who have been "marginalized" in some way. Emphasis is placed on problems, cultural similarities and differences, and approaches and techniques useful in crosscultural counseling settings. Additionally, some emphasis is placed on exploring those factors that differentiate one cultural group from another.


1. To familiarize students with alternative conceptions of culture and the role played by culture in influencing an individual's behavior, world view, attitudes, values, and other dimensions of subjective culture.

2. To facilitate students' awareness of the perceived or actual cultural bias in relation to clients from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

3. To assist students in identifying their own personal cultural values, assumptions and priorities, and sources of their own biases and ethnocentrism.

4. To increase student awareness of the complexity of culture-related issues in counseling.

5. To increase student awareness of how mental health (and/or mental health services) are defined in other cultural settings.

6. To familiarize students with basic issues in the field of culture and psychopathology such as: normality versus abnormality; classification of mental disorders and psychiatric epidemiology and so-called "emic" versus Iletic" topics, and conceptions of mental health or its absence in cultural or ethnic groups different from one's own.

7. To familiarize students with the concept of therapies and alternative interventions across cultural boundaries.

8. To assist students to articulate problems from different cultural points of view.

9. To identify specific skills for working with clients in a cross-cultural interview relevant to the participant's present or future work situation.

10. To assist students in diminishing counselor defensiveness and uneasiness when interviewing and working with clients from distinctly different cultural or ethnic groups.


A student's final letter grade will be determined by the number of activities successfully completed. Activities are listed below. All written reports will be evaluated according to their level of professional quality, accuracy of findings, and quality of expression. An individual's final letter grade for the course will be determined by the following:

A = Successfully complete Activities A and B and any 3 of the remaining 4 activities.

B = Successfully complete Activities A and B and any 2 of the remaining 4 activities.

C = Successfully complete Activities A and B and any I of the remaining 4 activities,

D = Successfully complete Activities A and B.

The activities are as follows:

A. Maintain a journal containing responses to all of the essay questions associated with each of the text's chapters. Essay questions will be distributed at the beginning of the quarter. Answers and responses to the essay questions must be more than a repeat and rewrite of the material contained in each chapter. Students are expected to write responses that also capture their own thoughts and ideas about the content and thrust of each question. Journals will be collected about 5 weeks into the quarter (about February 15, 1996) and at the end of the quarter.

B. Write a literature review of articles that would provide background material leading to the defense and support of one of David
Sue's and Norman Sundberg's 15 cross-cultural counseling 11 protohypotheses" (see pp. 339-344 in our text). Students should carefully review the 15 hypotheses and select one that suits their interest.

C. Review a book about the field of cross-cultural counseling or any topic that focuses on some aspect of the course. The review should include a summary paragraph or two on the overall theme of the book, summary of its contents, and, in general, a thorough assessment of the ebb and flow of the book's contents. A significant portion of the review should include your position and, therefore, criticism, of what the book is all about. For example, you could take issue with the author (or authors if it's a book of readings) on several points, offer alternative explanations, etc. The review should be about 8 - 12 pages, double-spaced, in length. I will provide you with a list of possible books and the book, itself, for review.

D. Select a term or concept that is frequently used in the literature in the field of cross-cultural counseling (examples of the terms will be discussed in class). Conduct an exhaustive literature search of the definition and use of the term. Each definition should be limited to about 2 pages (maximum of 350 - 400 words). Students have the freedom to format the definition in a style that best suits their background, expertise and interests however they must provide information that answers the following questions: Where did the term come from? What are the alternative definitions? What is the preferred definition and why? What one or two primary sources can one go to find out more about the term? The meaning of some terms changes over time so you may want to consider providing a short historical perspective in writing the definition. Definitions should be typed, doubled space throughout. APA style guidelines should be used with reference citations.

E. Write a case study about an ethnic-minority or culturally unique client who experienced (or is experiencing) a mental health or chemical dependency problem. In preparing the description of the client you should include the following information: 1) sociodemographic information; 2) acculturative status and level of identify with own or preferred culture; 3) nature of presenting problem; 4) background information on the nature of the presenting problem; 5) identification and discussion of cultural factors likely to be contributing to the problem including their response to counseling and/or therapy; 6) intervention technique (if any); 7) description of problems client experienced (or is experiencing) that derive from the intervention process. Some of the case studies likely will be discussed in class probably during the latter half of the quarter.

F. Interview a mental health worker (counselor, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, psychiatric social worker, school counselor) concerning his/her views and experiences in the general area of crosscultural counseling. Prepare a report on the interview and be prepared to discuss the results of the interview in class, if time and circumstances allow.

With the exception of the journal all projects are due on or before the end of the quarter (March 18, 1996).


This is a seminar and, as such, students not only should read the assigned material in advance of class sessions but be prepared to discuss the substance of the reading material. Thematic presentations will be given at the beginning of each class and these will be used to stimulate class discussion. From time to time, exercises and simulations will be presented to punctuate and illustrate different concepts and themes germane to the topic of discussion.



1 Introduction and Overview (January 9, 11)

Common themes and distinct perspectives in cross-cultural counseling. Topics include the definition of culture, ethnicity, the so-called "emic-etic" dilemma, history of the field, underutilization hypothesis, rules and roles of the conventional counselor. Readings -- Introduction and Chapter 1.

2 - 3 General Considerations (January 16, 18, and 23)

Cultural inclusiveness in the counseling and mental health field. Topics include cultural systems, intercultural adjustment, cultural biases, counselor encapsulation, barriers to 3 - 5 effective counseling, communication styles, client-counselor matching, racism and prejudice, counselor credibility, ethics, and various sociopolitical considerations. In general, the education and training of counseling, clinical, and school psychologists to become more effective in settings requiring multicultural sensitivity. Readings -- Chapters 2, 3, and 11.

Assessment in Cross-Cultural Counseling

(January 25, 30, and February 1, 6)

Racial/ethnic/cultural/gender identity development, assessment of personality, values, pathology, and other important dimensions in attempting to understand clients who are culturally different. Readings -- Chapters 4, 5, and 12.

6 - 8 Culture-General versus Culture-Specific Counseling (February 8, 13, 15, 20, 22 and 26)

The culturally skilled counselor and how he or she works with clients from distinctly different ethnic and cultural groups. Pros and cons of conceptualizing cross-cultural counseling as either group-specific or culture-general. Readings -Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

ยท Research and Research Issues in Cross- Cultural Counseling (February 28, March 5)

The consideration of various hypotheses involving crosscultural counseling. Conceptualizing different researchable questions. Readings -- Chapter 13.

9 - 10 General Discussion and Review of Course Content (March 7, 12, and 14)

During these two weeks students accomplishments and, in particular, the different reports, interviews, hypotheses, etc. will serve as the source of information. The intent of this time period is to engage in a wide-ranging discussion of the issues, problems, and future of cross-cultural counseling.

NOTE -- Student interest may necessitate spending more or less time on certain topics thus requiring a rearrangement of the topics or schedules presented above.