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Table I describes 10 examples of these assumptions that Pedersen used in 2002 to demonstrate their pervasive influence in applications of counseling.TABLE I Western Cultural Assumptions in Counseling One way in which to challenge the universal application of dominant culture perspectives, regardless of the cultural context, is to separate behaviors from expectations in counseling.
Fifth, everyone is judged from the viewpoint of one’s self-reference criteria without regard for the other person’s separate cultural context. There is evidence that the profession of counseling is even more encapsulated now than it was when Wrenn wrote his original research paper.
In 1994, Albee described how completely psychology— and counseling as based on a psychological foundation— in the United States has been encapsulated during the past 100 years: Most of the early leaders in psychology embraced ideological views that stressed the natural superiority of a white male patriarchy, the acceptance of social Darwinism, [and] the inferiority of women and of the brunette races.
Anthropologists have tended to take a relativistic position when classifying and interpreting behavior across cultures.
Psychologists, in contrast, have linked social characteristics and psychological phenomena with minimal attention to cultural differences.
Making the consumer’s cultural context central rather than marginal when providing psychodynamic, behavioral, and humanistic services strengthens those traditional counseling perspectives.
However, because counseling first developed as a field in a Euro-American cultural context, counseling typically reflects Euro-American assumptions in textbooks, theories, tests, ethical guidelines, methods, and other services.The cultural grid shows an ‘‘inside-the-person’’ or intrapersonal cultural framework for demonstrating how cultural and personal factors interact.Through the cultural grid, each individual behavior can be linked to the culturally learned expectation on which that behavior is based, and each expectation can be linked to the culture teachers from whom those expectations were learned.Fifth, most providers come from a majority culture, whereas most clients are members of minority cultures.If the standard practices of mental health services are themselves encapsulated, as suggested by the NAMHC report, these cultural biases will certainly influence the practical applications of psychology through counseling and therapy.Third, assumptions are not dependent on reasonable proof or rational consistency but are believed to be true regardless of evidence to the contrary.Fourth, solutions are sought in technique-oriented strategies and quick or simple remedies.In 2001, Ponterotto and colleagues described how counseling has a reputation among many minorities as protecting the status quo of the dominant culture by requiring minority clients to fit the dominant culture system even when that system is acknowledged to be unjust.In 1999, Sue and Sue described how these attitudes have resulted in documented examples of scientific racism.First, reality is defined according to one set of cultural assumptions.Second, people become insensitive to cultural variations among individuals and assume that their own view is the only right one.