Tyranny of Multiculturalism

The irony of defining “multi-cultural” standards…

Tyranny of Multiculturalism
This essay was written early in my graduate career (2013) and while some of my views have changed, it seems particularly germane in today’s discussions of “woke-ness” and “cancel culture.”

Abstract:

This essay will discuss concerns of the author around suggested standards for practice in the category of multicultural counseling. The argumentative backdrop is set by a questioning of evidence-based practice and empirically-supported treatments. Further literature review includes suggested multicultural initiatives and criticisms of such directives. Considerable length is given to discussion on the necessity of a “political therapy”, consequences of practice, and “everyday evilness.”

Introduction:

C.S. Lewis once said that “of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive (Bohart, et al., 2013, p.265). The following essay will explore the concerns, found in recent literature as well as those hosted by the author, about the theory and application of multicultural practices in psychotherapy. The first portion of this essay will address distinctions between multicultural terminology provided by Whaley (2004). Following will be an examination of evidence-based practice (EBP) and empirically supported treatment (EST). The purpose of this essay is not to host a debate between evidence based practices or more “qualitative” methods of operation, however, the intricacies therein prove to be useful metaphors in regard to multicultural theories and practices. Next, the essay will review published literature which criticizes the implementation of mandatory multicultural standards. The following section will discuss less traditional and stringent views of multicultural therapeutic practices. Lastly, two sections will demonstrate the inherent moral and political contexts of therapeutic and counseling practices; as well as designations of what constitutes “social” and “everyday” evil — which is particularly imperative given the organizational constructs under which therapeutic practitioners often operate.

“There is insufficient evidence that cultural differences account for sufficient variance in the mental health of clients from different groups to justify unique treatment protocols. And even if there were sufficient evidence, the myriad of permutations of protocols would be impossible to achieve (Weinrach & Thomas, 2004, p.82). It is from this premise that I found my primary objection to the concept of multiculturalism, more specifically, the methods in which such a concept has been applicated in practice. I suggest that the assertion of a “multi-culture” is an ethical duplicity in by its very inception. Some authors have even suggested that the movements towards multiculturalism as the “best” culture be explicitly labeled as “anti-therapeutic (Weinrach & Thomas, 2004, p.83).

Furthermore, there are other arguments that persist within this article that pertain to the very notion of an embodied multicure and multicultural standard. “For (Carl) Rogers, the alienation of human beings from their constructive actualizing tendency, is the source of suffering (Schmid, 2012, p.97). Schmid also wrote (see Bohart, et al., 2013, p.50) his answer to the question of “whence evil?” as the deprivation of love. It is, perhaps, too far a stretch to state that multiculturalism evokes such a deprivation. However, I present an inquiry into whether multiculturalism separates us from our own culturally biased meaning-making practices; that is, the robbery of the potential “strengths” and support mechanisms found in the specificities of an individual’s own culture. Perhaps the only unified concept that spans across all cultures is that they all have varying degrees of strengths and functional methods of serving principles of universal human concern. This writing does not aim to initiate an attack on “multicultural” efforts so much as it endeavors to raise awareness of cautionary warning of connections and relationships inherent in considering the role of culture in psychotherapy.

Conceptions of Multiculturalism:

“Many authors freely interchange the terms cultural sensitivity, cross-cultural competence, cross-cultural expertise, cross-cultural effectiveness, cultural responsiveness, cultural awareness, and culturally skilled. This terminological jumble gives rise to the proliferation of hazy constructs with indeterminable meanings (Whaley, 2008, p.215). The preliminary discussion provided by Whaley illustrates the need for clarification of what one means when speaking of “multicultural.” Specific problems appear to be centered around the verbification of what follows the cultural/multicultural adjunct. Indeed, there is cause for “multicultural concern” when such terms as “responsiveness”, “awareness”, “skills”, “effectiveness”, “competence”, and “expertise” are used interchangeably. Certainly, there is a broad degree of variance in the range between awareness and responsiveness or competence and expertise.

Whaley (2008) states that his “quantitative analysis of psychological literature” found consistent results “supporting the hypothesis that ‘cultural sensitivity’ and ‘cultural competence’ were the most significant terms (p.220).” This provides a much more specific target of inquiry. To refine things further, Whaley stated that “cultural sensitivity” is the most frequent term used in psychological literature per descriptive analysis (2008, p.220). “The current findings also challenge the assertion that terms like culturally relevant are adequate descriptions of the issues of counselors and psychotherapists’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, and skills in the realm of culture as it pertains to mental health service delivery (Whaley, 2008, p.221).” Perhaps a more enthralling discussion might be one over the “tyrannical threat” of “cultural sensitivity.” But alas, that is not the case at hand. Whaley’s research is evidence enough that while “cultural sensitivity” may be more direct, to the point, and “adequate” in conveying the cultural confounds of therapeutic work, it is still a onerous task to discern what those words and principles entail. The further contents of this body of work will examine a point of concern surrounding what is embodied by and grows forth from this confusion.

Evidence Based Practice (EBP) and Empirically Supported Treatment (EST): “Thus, although EBPs are noble in their intention, they have the potential to dominate the therapeutic landscape, eclipse more nuanced, complex, and individualized intervention strategies, and be misused (Marquis, 2011, p.397).” As stated earlier, it is not the purpose of this writing to hedge a case against evidence based practices. However, the inherently moral dialogue in such a debate bears great resemblance to a similar discussion over multicultural practices. Thus, some description and discussion must be had to convey some of the depth of that landscape.

“Proponents of EBPs claim that a problem of accountability is created by the ‘institutionalization of untested psychological theory as fact’ as well as the lack of standardization in clinical practice (Marquis, 2011, p.397).” Naturally, the case for evidence based practices is a fairly obvious ethical obligation. Professionals may do well to caution themselves against an “anything goes” mentality if for no other reason than just as we attribute different meanings to different words, there are reasons (with due diligence) that some “helping professions” require state or nationally accredited licensure and others do not. However, the other side of the coin is very Kantian in nature. “… reason leads us into self-contradiction and impasse, for reality does not correspond to reason therefore it cannot be possible even in principle for us to understand reality by the use of reason alone.” — Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason (Laungani, 2005, p.248).

Marquis (2011) refers to the empirically supported treatment and evidence based practice movements as “represent(ing) a narrow, medicalized approach to counseling research and practice that relies excessively on traditional experimental research methods and easily measured outcomes, as well as places undue emphasis on treatment models at the expense of factors such as ‘person of the counselor,’ the counseling relationship, and clients’ nondiagnostic characteristics (p.397).” One could, in turn, raise the same concern of efforts to enforce mandatory multicultural “standards” and “competencies.” (See later sections). Marquis summarizes both spectrums well by stating that the “dimensions of counseling practice” are highly client-specific and “tend not to fit neatly into a standardized protocol (2011, p.398).”

“Postmodern philosophy has illuminated the ways in which forms of dominant knowledge and meaning are partially contingent on the social and institutional systems of power in which they arise, a phenomenon readily apparent in the EST arena (Marquis, 2011, p.400).” I would argue that the same holds true of desired enforcement of multicultural standards. Perhaps more to the heart of the matter is that being attune to one’s client’s cultural background, motivations, and influences is certainly helpful; but to announce and declare a prescription of mandatory “competencies” does nothing but further separation and stigmatization. While the following statement from Marquis is in regard to concerns over evidence based practices and empirically supported treatments, the similarities to the multicultural “concerns” raised herein are apparent: “… postmodernist scholars decry the extreme universalist attempt to mandate particular approaches to knowledge and practice alleged to be ‘objectively’ superior, as if free of the subjectives and limitations outlined (in Marquis’s original article) previously (Marquis, 2011, p.401).”

Marquis does make some more direct points towards multiculturalism. He writes, “Multicultural competence is closely linked to social justice concerns, including marginalization and inequalities related to poverty, race, ability, sexual orientation, gender, and so on, as well as the corresponding goals of client empowerment and systemic change (Marquis, 2011, p.401).” The following section of this essay will review specific concerns and of attempted enforcement of multicultural practices by Weinrach and Thomas (2004) with particular reference to the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Psychological Association (APA). As with Marquis’s concerns of “empirically supported” treatments, I offer the same concerns over standardizing multicultural attunement and flexibility reduced to bleak “awareness” and “concern.” I argue, in this work, that such impositions reify stereotypical biases, highlight differences while ignoring similarities, and invoke their own socially biased discriminations by the very dubbing of such imperatives as “standards.” “We have a moral responsibility to question this dogma of scientific purity that serves as it has before in history to produce research findings that justify the social and political policies of those who finance the research laboratories regardless of the evil those policies produce (Bohart, et al., 2013, p.243).”

Criticism of Multicultural Competency Standards:

Weinrach and Thomas (2004) refer to the “philosophical and clinical premise” of Patterson who declares that “humans are more similar than dissimilar and that cultural differences cannot possibly justify differential treatment for clients. Therefore… there is absolutely no need for any form of multicultural counseling competencies (p.82).” Indeed, Patterson has a very sharp point. It is within the ethical obligations of a therapist (at the very least, personally if not publicly published by a licensing body) to work with the client as they are in front of them. Essentially, Patterson’s point is that therapy is inherently multiculturally “concerned” right down to the sub-sub-sub… level of the individual. Imposing rigid standards seems to dull this acute awareness and unique perspective.

The criticisms, concerns, and debates referred to by Weinrach and Thomas are in reference to the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development’s (AMCD) Multicultural Counseling Competencies as published in 1996 (Weinrach & Thomas, 2004, p.81). Of important note is the fact that both the ACA and APA have stated that they “endorse” and “approved” such competencies but have not “adopted” them; the APA having provided “discretionary guidelines” but not “mandatory standards” (Weinrach & Thomas, 2004, p.84–85). “Both ACA and APA have backed away from the adoption of, and thereby mandatory compliance with, any version of multicultural counseling competencies (Weinrach & Thomas, 2004, p.85).”

Indeed, there appears to be a very daunting risk if such standards were to become a mandated compliance. Firstly, what discretionary power does the AMCD (or any other organization for that matter) have to tell a practitioner that they are not “multicultural enough” or are “doing multicultural counseling wrong?” Perhaps Patterson was onto something very poignant. Furthermore, I fear that such “mandatory recommendations” would lead to a similar fate as diagnostic treatment models. The point in case is that the establishment of mandatory prescriptions for multicultural practice are confining not because they are “evil”, “bad,” or “not good” — but by the very act of mandated compliance — and as such are a pathologizing discriminatory stereotyping of the purest form. Imagine, if you will, the irony of socially and politically motivated directive lobbying for subscription to their standards of how to, of all things, be more flexible and considerate to other socio-cultural-economic contingencies.

As mentioned earlier, such intentions may, in fact, be noble. However, as expressed by Weinrach and Thomas, the majority of criticized at an applied level (2004, p.88). The authors also note that support of “The Competencies” is done so at the “symbolic level” and that “for some of the supporters of the Competencies, the specifics of the document matter far les than does their universal adoption and concomitant mandatory implementation (Weinrach &

Thomas, 2004, p.88).” Weinrach and Thomas do give some credit to The Competencies, stating that they “have successfully brought to professional counselors’ awareness the importance of attending to the diverse counseling needs of visible minorities (2004, p.91).” However, the concern for Weinrach and Thomas — as well as myself — outweighs the previous benefit(s). “…they have been a failure, as we see it. We would prefer to see their demise in order to foster the recognition that client needs should not be assumed to be based upon group membership alone, but rather on the unique constellation of individual client characteristics, including but not limited to cultural distinctiveness (Weinrach & Thomas, 2004, p.91).”

Laungani (2005) take a more broad approach to multicultural competencies, citing eight “major elements” (p.258–259). Firstly, “all human beings are products of their own culture.” Secondly, “multiculturalism is not a political credo.” Third, “each culture has its own uniquely acquired ways of constructing its own world(s) which give meaning to their lives.” Fourth, “within each culture there exists a plurality of values and traditions.” Fifth, “The ‘plasticity’ of human behavior enables persons to transcend (within certain limitations) their own culturally embedded boundaries.” Sixth, “each culture is in some ways flawed because no culture has all the answers to the Socratic question of what constitutes the good life and how it should be lived.” Seventh, “each culture has something of value to offer to another culture and, equally important, has something of value to learn and imbibe from another culture.”

Eighth, “a mixture of culture is more likely to lead to an enrichment of one’s intellectual, emotional, artistic, spiritual, humanitarian and moral vision.” In general this approach is more holistic than the enforcement of any mandated practice. Particularly, there is an emphasis on the preservation of individual importance while acknowledging potential benefits of exposure to and involvement with other cultures. However, some concern still remains. Laungani proposal appears marvelous and well intended, but it does not appear to bear clinical application. The provided “elements” look to be a very stable, knowledgeable, and insightful cornerstone for the individual or in theoretical abstraction of macro-social change. However, little evidence is gleaned on the relevance of clinical practice and therapy. Could such practices, as those acknowledged by Laungani, benefit a therapist in terms of personal development? I certainly hope so. Would it do a great deal of “global good” if even a handful of countries would embrace these elements? I think so as well. However, as mentioned earlier, the concern herein is not over the content of what multicultural competence may entail but how such practices are enacted and/or regulated. “I believe that it is important to remind oneself again and again and again that neither the popularity of a theory nor a high degree of consensus among its practitioners guarantees its value or validity (Laungani, 2005, p254). And so it is the case with multiculturalism. Laungani provides a provocative conclusion, stating, “But the romantic in me believes that it is better to have tried and lost than never to have tried at all.

I know not what the answer is, or what it might be. Luckily, I am sustained by hope — blind, reckless hope. The last thing, if you recall, that came tumbling out of Pandora’s box was ‘hope’. Life without delusional hope is like a body without a soul (Laungani, 2005, p.258).” Several pertinent ideas stem from this profound confession. Firstly, one should note that the lack of hope is not explicitly imply an incline in desperation. However, have attempts at standardized multicultural competencies displayed just that? Are such efforts an act of desperation from a perspective of immutable deficiency? Laungani may be suggesting a striving towards “harmony” whereas previous literature (Weinrach and Thomas) may have been demanding a “melody.” Distinctions between the two are easy targets in a discussion of this nature, however, the more quintessential task may be to emphasize where differences (between cultures as well as the opinions of scholars) orchestrate. Lastly, I would advise against Laungani’s emphasis on hope. This is not to devalue the insight found in his publication, but because such a practice overlooks the potential value of what else “came out of Pandora’s Box.” Perhaps the most unifying concept across humanity is that we are all left to deal with the misfortunes handed to us. Perhaps the very fact that cultures are so uniquely different — and potentially valuable to each other — is a unifying rhythm rather than a mere harbinger of segregation and misery.

Politics:

Previous references have been made in the article which regard multicultural competencies and practices of mandated standards having political underpinnings. For example, “‘The Competencies’ content is understandably a reflection of their authors’ values. We see the search for universal adoption as a case study in creative, relentless, and zealous social action. Further, it seems to us that, to a large extent, the Competencies have been ignored, except by those who have a passion for a particular socio-political value system that, seemingly, drives them to foist it upon others (Weinrach & Thomas, 2004, p.87).” This point can be further emphasized by Laungani’s statement that “in any counseling situation our observations and interpretations are guided by rationality and logic. But what needs to be made clear is that they do not necessarily form the basis of arriving at truth!” (Laungani, 2005, p.248).

Some authors (Schmid, 2012) emphasize the point that the practice of psychotherapy (and people in general) are inherently political by their very nature. “Politics is the consequence of an image of the human being. Or the other way round. From a certain image of the human being follows inevitably political action (Schmid, 2012, p.99).” Further support is gleaned from Laungani who states that “it is this subjectivity of our perceptions and interpretations that strikes at the very root of all counseling theories (2005, p.248).” Schmid (2012) also suggests that the very act of “personalization” is “necessarily also a political process and therefore a political program (p.106).”

Schmid continues by citing “the message of the early feminist movement” that the “personal is the political. The actualizing tendency as a personalizing tendency is necessarily also a political tendency, a tendency to become a political being (2012, p.106).” Furthermore, one might argue that humans are hopelessly political beings by the very necessity of their social nature and interaction. Therefore, psychotherapy and counseling — having direct dealings with such persons — cannot (entirely) avoid some extent of political skewing, pressings, and pursuing.

Schmid (2012) summizes the connection between psychotherapy and politics (and the intricacies therein) quite well: “Psychotherapy as politics therefore means: to realize the prevailing conditions, the established political culture (polity); in order to stand up for our image of the human being with its values (policy); in appropriate and adequate way (politics); aiming at a change of the political culture (policy) (p.101).” The fault, then, for the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development’s initiative (and similar movements) may not lie in the motivations and intentions of such proposals but in the failure to recognize, admit to, and take ownership of the the inherent political motivations and consequences of such standards.

Schmid also warns against naivete or denial of political origins. “A psychotherapist or counselor who does not care about politics in fact does harm to their clients. To be apolitical means to stabilize, to fortify the status quo. If psychotherapists do not raise their voices in society, they do not take

themselves or their clients seriously. They contribute to cement in, or reinforce, the current circumstances (Schmid, 2012, p.106).” What Schmid is getting at is the point that a stance is dis-concern, silence, and apathy is, in fact, a very loud profession; one that confirms and solidifies current practices, structures, and policies. Indeed, one should not quietly abide to submissively to standards of multicultural competencies, nor should the circumstances that birthed such motivations be ignored. “Rogers said that ‘the most personal is the most universal’ — and we need to add to that — is the most political (Schmid, 2012, p.106).”

Humanity’s Dark Side

“The duality of human nature is expressed in contradictory images of light and dark, man and beast, and epitomizes the split in personality between the known and unknown parts… (Levin, 1999, p.87).” There appears to be an inherent duality in discussions of multiculturalism in counseling and psychotherapy. Indeed, it is the responsibility of the therapist to be aware of their client’s social and cultural influences (as well as their own influences and biases); on the other hand, defining a critical level of awareness and categorical descriptions of these influences is quite a prejudicial contradiction. This writing offers to bring awareness to this epitome of discrimination and its counterintuitivity. At what point do such practices become “evil” or unethical? The development of one’s own personal identity is a crucial matter in this discussion for several reasons. There is, on one hand, the therapist’s development of his or her own personality. Then there is the (hopeful) growth and development of the client that is fostered through “therapeutic” measures. On the other, other hand, there is the development of social structures and organizations — which may take on their own entitative persona — which therapists and clients alike find themselves inevitably connected to. Schmid (2012) states; “To develop one’s own identity involves the development of a political identity — which makes it necessary to take a stand and not shrink from debate and not place one’s hopes in ignoring or sealing oneself off or believe in ‘anything goes’ (p.105).”

Schmid’s statement brings several issues to light. There is, at first, the personal association and development process which Schmid views — and I agree — as inherently political. What needs to be considered here from a “multicultural” standpoint is how one’s (political) personal and social development may be “evil”, “wrong”, or destructive to the person’s they are serving. Secondly, it is the responsibility (one that has apparently been foreclosed on) of organizations such as AMCD to be aware of the potential impact and fallout of their directives and propositions. That is, persons in helping professions bear a heavy onus to be sensitive to how things can go badly from their actions. Put another way, what are the potential negatives or detrimental consequences that could occur as a result of my actions, even if I am trying to do something “right?”

Laungani (2005, p.258) presents the following; “Can we learn to merge, mix and melt, accept, assimilate and accommodate our differences and diversities and create a genuine multicultural society where each member is equal to the other, equal before the law, and respect for the law of the country, freedom from alienation, discrimination, persecution, rejection, and victimization?” The answer to that question is, in part, a resounding “no.” People are inherently unique, different, and complicated. I do not believe that a completely “melded” society is the answer. I believe that to do so devalues the uniqueness that each “culture” holds as an independent entity. I believe that some of that is “lost in translation” when a “compromise” is the requested result. However, there is something deeper and richer to be found in Laungani’s question. That is the notion of respect and willingness to understand. Speaking as a para-professional in the field, I would rather hear from the client his/herself — “straight from the horse’s mouth” — what their individual culture “is”, is not, and how it has (or hasn’t) affected and influenced them (both positively and negatively). In my opinion, this lack of respect and incapacity (or unwillingness) to understand lies at the root of our professional “evils.”

“According to Jung’s theory of the unconscious, the shadow is defined as the ‘negative side of the personality, the sum of all those unpleasant qualities we like to hide’ (Levin, 1999, p.87).” There is an organizational element to this theory as well. What is ever more present (and apparent) is that attempts at universal multicultural standards (and ideological societies) are a blatant, anxiety ridden, fear our having to admit that we are all (sometimes “unfairly”) judgmental. People are inevitably judgmental, how is anyone to develop an authentic opinion otherwise? Striving blindly for the “hope” of mandated multicultural practices seems, to me, to be a denial of our “shadow.” “Jung explains that although the disgraceful impulse is denied and forgotten, it does not disappear but continues to assert a presence in the psyche (Levin, 1999, p.87). Furthermore, we cannot “shoo away” discrimination and insensitivity simply by mandating the opposite. I am a firm believer that social change is an “inside job.” That is, it starts at the foundation, the most basic element; for organizations and societies that means invoking a captivation to change within the hearts of its people and practitioners.

“Jungian analyst John Sanford argues that, ‘religion tends to attract those people who are, consciously or unconsciously, struggling to hold in check their own shadow personalities’ (Levin, 1999, p.89).” I believe that it would be appropriate to replace sentiments of religion (in the above statement) with the notion of ignorant and rigid “multicultural standards.” They are ignorant (or apparently so) of their potentially detrimental repercussions. Larry Leitner summarizes the point I’m trying to make here wonderfully; “… a therapist who is incapable of gaining access to her or his own capacity for violent destructiveness will not be of much help to a client who has actually acted on that capacity (Bohart, et al., 2013, p.130).”

Conclusion:

To summarize, Weinrach and Thomas remind us that “mental health professionals” are “called” to “be aware of the manner in which their own racialized experience has served to organize their sense of the world, and use that awareness to serve the needs of clients (2004, p.83–84).” This statement is largely what lies at the heart of this essay. It is imperative to understand that implementation and training of “multicultural” skills/awareness/competence is intimately skewed by the manner of practice and methodological and political motivations such standards’ content. Weinrach and Thomas (2004) further the point by citing Pogrebin who states; “Some have to serve the soup and some have to fight the system that makes soup kitchens necessary (p.87)”; and the authors continue by saying, “We believe that mental health counselors need to actively provide counseling services, and those professionals who wish to change the system should do so on their own time and according to their own political orientation (p.87).” While many of Weinrach and Thomas’s arguments have been used favorably in throughout this article, Schmid (2012) offers a further cautionary reminder for both sides (Weinrach & Thomas — AMCD); “An emancipatory psychotherapeutic approach that takes its foundational assumptions seriously must not only be aware of its political implications: understanding, investigating, formulating, developing them… it must be actively political (p.98).”

“There is no human being who has stopped projecting onto others his dark inferiorities or his light heroic longing (Levin, 1999, p.90).” Perhaps there is not “evil” in the intention of reminding therapists and counselors to be “multiculturally sensitive”, but, alternatively, mindfulness of one’s own prejudices and biases of one’s prowess sound a siren reminding us that “the road to hell is paved in good intentions.” Consider the following: “… what (makes) someone evil (is) not that they (are) sinful, but that they (can) not acknowledge their sinfulness due to an ‘unwillingness to suffer the discomfort of significant self-examination’ (Bohart, et al., 2013, p.125).” Perhaps I, myself, am guilty of a hopeless romanticism that herein lies every humbling conundrum of working with as complicated a matter as another human being. But, I believe that there is a sobering realism in these pages. However, apparent discrimination — or multicultural insensitivity — may be, a standardized or universalized prescription for practice will never adequately complicate the decisions at hand. “Acknowledging the shadow is a necessary step toward the integration of all parts of the personality. The repressed traits in the shadow may be in conflict with the idealized image of the self, but they are not necessarily all negative. The shadow is the secret place where shame is buried, but it is also the source of energy and creativity (Levin, 1999, p.95).” Some of the finer points to be hashed out of that statement are; A) the crucial role of acknowledgement of differences (both strengths and weaknesses); and B) a potential concern whether “integration” or “appreciation” are the aspirational achievement?

The integration of “evil” is an exceedingly complicated matter, particularly for the intentions of this essay. Certainly, many people would consider discrimination “evil.” Yet, I have tried to make the case for normalizing such “judgmental” behavior. Awareness of and adherence to clear boundaries are the reconciling factors here. That is, boundaries between personal opinions (judgments) and clinical approaches and decisions (clinical judgments). What’s more is that such boundaries must only be mandated by professional organizations as secondary reinforcement. Rather, motivations for such boundaries and ethical practices (multiculturalism for example) must be decidedly “worth while” not because the practitioner feels threatened to do so but because they can think of no other possibility of serving their vocation. “Evil is the perpetration of acts, out of our own woundedness, that injure the meaning-making process of the other (Bohart, et al., 2013, p.130).” In this case, both personal and organizational implications can be drawn. “Everyday evil may be understood as the refusal to be accountable for the harmful impact of one’s choices (Bohart, et al., 2013, p.183).” It is apparent, then, that doing “evil” or “harm” comes not only from pro-activity but from impasse negligence as well. Perhaps, even under the guise of “benefiting victims.” “… if groups are to do more good than harm, they must first become realistic and humble about their mission and about the blindness caused by pseudo-innocence (Bohart, et al., 2013, p.184).”

References:

Bohart, A. C., Held, B. S., Mendelowitz, E., & Schneider, K. J. (Eds.). (2013). Humanity’s dark side: Evil, destructiveness, experience, and

psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Laungani, P. (2005, December). Building multicultural counseling bridges: The holy grail or a poisoned chalice. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 18(4), 247–259.

Levin, L. (1999). Shadow into light: A Jungian analysis of The Night of the Iguana. The Tennessee Williams Annual Review, 87–98.

Marquis, A., Douthit, K. Z., & Elliot, A. J. (2011). Best practices: A critical yet inclusive vision for the counseling profession. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89, 397–405.

Schmid, P. F. (2012, June). Psychotherapy is political or it is not psychotherapy: The person-centered approach as an essentially political venture. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies, 11(2), 95–108.

Weinrach, S. G., & Thomas, K. R. (2004, January). The AMCD multicultural counseling competencies: A critically flawed initiative. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 26(1), 81–93.

Whaley, A. L. Thomas, K. R. (2008, September). Cultural sensitivity and cultural competence: Toward clarity of definitions in cross-cultural counseling and psychotherapy. Counseling Psychology Quarterly,21(3), 215–222.


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