Title page for ETD etd-04062010-181936

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Arnold, Kristy Michelle
URN etd-04062010-181936
Title A Qualitative Examination of African American Counselors' Experiences of Addressing Issues of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture with Clients Of Color
Degree PhD
Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Day-Vines, Norma L. Committee Chair
Bodenhorn, Nancy E. Committee Member
Brand, Brenda R. Committee Member
Hein, Serge F. Committee Member
  • clients of color
  • cultural
  • racial
Date of Defense 2010-03-25
Availability unrestricted
Although many counselors consider themselves to be culturally aware, research has shown that deliberately and respectfully addressing race, culture, and ethnicity—particularly with clients of color—does not occur as consistently as it should, despite empirical evidence which documents that discussions about how racial and cultural factors shape the client’s presenting problem contribute to favorable counseling outcomes. This exploratory study used a qualitative method to examine professional African American counselors’ experiences of discussing racial, ethnic, and cultural issues with their culturally diverse clients. Critical race theory functioned as the research paradigm that guided this study. As a result, this study produced seven categories and four subcategories that explored the influences, thoughts, and understandings that came to bear on their efforts to discuss race, ethnicity, and culture with clients of color. Participants found that candid discussions about racial and cultural matters, in combination with a willingness to explore counselor-client differences, greatly enhanced the therapeutic rapport with clients. Furthermore, participants provided suggestions for graduate counseling programs to improve their multicultural curriculum, and they discussed the importance of counselors exercising multicultural competency both within and outside of clinical sessions. Essentially, this study examined the strategies that African American counselors use to explore cultural dynamics with clients of color. Implications for the counseling field are also recommended based on the findings.
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