ADVANTAGES

As for multiculturalism, the definition includes diversity and diversification efforts, but moves far beyond it. Multiculturalism is a concerted plan (i.e., strategy) that employs multiple knowledges of people, histories, and contexts in an effort to challenge the current state of mental health practice, theory, and training. Multiculturalism is not just a philosophical worldview (Helms & Richardson, 1997) wherein clinicians will take into account the similar and different experiences that people have and remember to be sensitive to them. Instead, multiculturalism should be omnipresent in every course taught and in the way training is conducted. Multiculturalism is not just remembering to be beneficent for the client, but a plan of action that employs the knowledge of people, culture, history, and context to effect the way theories are used, diagnoses are done, and treatment plans are made. In training, whether or not an instructor states it explicitly, some psychological theory is invoked. This psychological theory helps the instructor organize and make sense of the client, and these are the learned experiences that he or she want to impart onto the trainee. When multiculturalism becomes a part of all training, such that it becomes an unconscious schema (i.e., non-explicit) used to organize and make sense of the environment, then multiculturalism will have met the goal of integration. This integration would be beyond the ability of people to point it out, since multiculturalism is a part of everything. Finally, multiculturalism would be a part of everyone’s life and would not be limited to only diverse groups or “people of color.”

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