An empirical examination of the relationships among authenticity, self-actualization, and multicultural counseling competency
Prince, Kevin Jostÿn
MetadataShow full item record
Multiculturalism has played an important role in expanding mental health professionals' perspectives on working with people. Multicultural counseling competency has become an area of growing interest for researchers, practitioners, teachers, and clinical supervisors, as the helping professions focus more comprehensive efforts to improve the quality of counseling services for all people in the community. Unfortunately, too many efforts at enhancing multicultural counseling competencies have focused on specific knowledge variables regarding cultures and ethnic groups. Too few instructional and supervisory efforts have focused on more complex human development variables such as authenticity. Perhaps, the absence of focus on deeper personal constructs is a result of the relative paucity of knowledge about the role of authenticity in multicultural counseling competencies. Because of the depth it may add to multicultural counseling training, authenticity and a related construct, self-actualization, may serve as keystone constructs for examining core variables that may possibly be associated with multicultural counseling competency. Authenticity offers the depth needed to stretch efforts to increase multicultural counseling competency. Inauthenticity and self- actualization, which are closely related to authenticity, served as sufficient constructs to examine the relationship with multicultural counseling competency. The purpose behind the current study was to investigate the relationships among multicultural counseling competency, inauthenticity and self-actualization. The present study also examined the unique contribution of inauthenticity and the self-actualization factors (i.e., core self- actualization, autonomy, openness to experience, and comfort with solitude) to the variance explained in multicultural counseling competency after demographic variables, social desirability, and ethnic identity were controlled. Counselors-in-training and professional therapists were solicited using an email invitation to participate in the study to student and professional organizations' listserv and contacts with professionals. As designed, the test battery was administered over the Internet and 284 participants completed the test battery. There were several self-identified racial/ethnic groups. Participants' educational degree levels ranged from a bachelor's degree to diplomate/advanced certification. Findings support the significant interrelationships among multicultural counseling competency, self-actualization, and inauthenticity. Moreover, evidence suggested that ethnic identity search and openness to experience made significant, unique contributions to the variance explained in multicultural counseling competency. Although inauthenticity had a unique contribution to the variance explained in multicultural counseling competency, when the self-actualizaton factors were entered into the equation, the contribution of inauthenticity was not significant. Results also indicated that gender, prior multicultural training, theoretical orientation, and field of professional training significantly affected differences on multicultural knowledge and awareness. These findings suggest a developmental multicultural counseling competency process, where ethnic identity search, openness to experience, and other demographic variables meaningfully affect multicultural competency. Moreover, the current study seems to suggest that one's ability to acquire multicultural knowledge would be uniquely different from receiving multicultural awareness. The current study seems to support, at least, one's acquisition of multicultural knowledge comes well before one develops a distinctive level of multicultural awareness. The later development of multicultural awareness coincides with the position that there has to be a more sophist icated level of mult icultural counseling competency. Counselors- in-training and professionals early in their career may be limited in their capacity to develop multicultural awareness. Within a master or doctoral level training program, one may be limited simply as a function of one's professional or psychosocial development. Additional findings along with implications for training and research are discussed.