Multicultural and diversity issues in counseling field supervision

Date of Completion

January 2002


Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Education, Guidance and Counseling




The present study examined field supervisors' multicultural competence and the inclusion of multicultural and diversity issues in field supervision within masters' degree counselor training programs. Changing demographics in the United States have necessitated that counseling move away from the ethnocentric framework that has dominated the field. Consequently, professional organizations and academic institutions now include a multicultural component to training. However, much counselor training takes place with supervisors in the field, many of whom were trained prior to multicultural and diversity issues being included in academic programs. ^ This study was designed to begin to address the scarcity of theoretical knowledge and the lack of empirical scholarship relating to multicultural supervision, by assessing field supervisors' multicultural competency. It is hoped that this research will assist academic institutions in providing support and training opportunities for field supervisors. The Multicultural Counseling Competencies (Sue, Bernier, Durran, Feinberg, Pedersen, Smith, & Vasquez-Nuttal, 1982; Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992) were used as the theoretical model for measuring multicultural competence. Specifically, the Multicultural Counseling Inventory (MCI) (Sodowsky, Taffe, Gutkin, & Wise, 1994) was used to asses the multicultural competence of counseling students' field supervisors, and a researcher designed survey, the Questionnaire for Field Supervisors, (QFS) (Durham, 1999) was used to assess the inclusion of multicultural and diversity issues in the process of supervision. Selected demographic variables, including supervisors' gender (Carter, 1990), race/ethnicity (Holcomb-McCoy & Myers, 1999; Ponterotto & Casas, 1987), exposure to diverse populations (Pope-Davis & Ottavi, 1994; Sodowsky et al., 1991), years since graduate training (Ponterotto & Casas, 1987), and formal training in supervision (Durham, 1999) which have been previously associated with multicultural competence were correlated with the field supervisors' multicultural competence and the inclusion of multicultural issues in supervision. ^ The study indicates that multicultural training, (e.g. formal course work, seminars, and workshops) increases supervisors' multicultural competence as indicated by MCI Total, Awareness, and Knowledge scores. Also, the inclusion of multicultural issues within supervision is related to multicultural competence, again as measured by the MCI. And finally, being female and professional employment in a multiculturally diverse geographic area is correlated with the Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge and Skills MCI scores. ^