Indiana Psychological Association News

PsychBytes: Multicultural Counseling Competencies and Standards: A Call to the Profession


Multicultural Counseling Competencies and Standards: A Call to the Profession
There is a strong need in the field of psychology to continuously develop and implement universally-held multicultural proficiencies. This is especially important as the United States is experiencing the largest immigration rates in its history, and is on track to have non-White minority populations numerically exceed White Americans (United States Department of Homeland Security, 2016).
In their now classic article, Sue, Arredondo, and McDavis (1992) encouraged clinicians to expand upon the definition of culture and what it encompasses. They proposed that culture is comprised of several characteristics including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, class, and age. These researchers also encouraged clinicians to acknowledge the ineffectiveness of mainstream therapeutic approaches and interventions among minority populations. They suggested this ineffectiveness stems from overarching ethnic and racial forces within the larger society, a culturally-diverse client’s natural wariness towards clinicians, and a clinician’s own lack of awareness towards his/her inherent biases and attitudes.
The authors proposed that clinicians actively engage in understanding and becoming self-aware of any personal biases, stereotypes, and misconceptions.  Further, they proposed that clinicians must work to continually improve their nonjudgmental understanding of diverse cultures and worldviews, and vigorously develop and implement interventions that are sensitive and compatible with the culture of their clients.  With that in mind, we should strive to adopt these steps as competency standards at the level of professional accreditation bodies for both individuals and organizations (Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992).
To learn more visit: &
Sue, D. W., Arredondo, P., & McDavis, R. J. (1992). Multicultural counseling competencies and standards: A call to the profession. Journal of Counseling & Development, 70, 477-486.
United States Department of Homeland Security (2016). Yearbook of immigration statistics: 2015. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics.

Shervin Tehranirad, M.A., M.P.H., & Carolyn Certilman, M.A.
Doctoral Interns in Clinical Psychology
St. Vincent Neuroscience Institute – St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital
Elizabeth N. Andresen, Ph.D., HSPP
Clinical Neuropsychologist
Diversity Coordinator, Doctoral Internship Program
St. Vincent Neuroscience Institute – St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital


"PsychBytes” is a weekly educational resource from the Indiana Psychological Association (IPA) provided for psychologists, their colleagues and their patients.