This article presents an integrative reaction to the lead contributions by Kiselica, Lark and Paul, and Rooney, Flores, and Mercier. Following the narrative path set by these contributors, the author begins with some personal reflections regarding his own multicultural development. A theme analysis of the lead contributions, along with. A the author's own experiences, leads to the delineation of 31 characteristics of effective multicultural training organized in three sections: characteristics of effective trainers and mentors, characteristics of promising trainees, and characteristics of facilitative training environments. The second half of this article presents both a general and specific research agenda for multicultural counseling training in the coming decade. Building from the identified themes, research recommendations are presented in five areas: racial identity development, multicultural competency assessment, mentoring, model programs, and the role of program diversity in training effectiveness. The article closes with a general discussion of the current and evolving status of multicultural counseling research. Embedded in the proposed research agenda is a strong call for qualitative research methods.
I feel deeply honored by The Counseling Psychologist (TCP) editor's invitation to respond to the three lead articles of this major contribution on multicultural counseling training. In the 18 years that I have been reading TCP, I have never come across a set of articles quite like those presented here. They have affected me greatly, and they will have an impact on TCP readers well into the 21st century. In fact, I am quite confident that the lead authors of this major contribution, Kiselica (1998 [this issue]), Lark and Paul (1998 [this issue]), and Rooney, Flores, and Mercier (1998 [this issue]), have altered the status of multicultural training in a significant way--one that moves from content to process, from knowledge to experience, from quantification to personal narratives. Therefore, I want to begin this article by commending the lead authors for their insight and courage. They have paved a road that I now step on.
It is important, furthermore, to acknowledge the TCP editor and editorial board for their vision, flexibility, and courage. They have embraced and helped develop a cluster of articles whose form and content is rarely found in the profession's most prestigious journals. First, five of the seven authors who contributed to this novel effort are graduate students. Thus, TCP has given powerful voice to the profession's target for multicultural training--the trainees themselves. Second, the contents of the three lead articles stray from the traditional "objective scholarship" so often characteristic of TCP and other premier journals. The three lead articles are very personal in nature--they provide a window into the world and experiences of both the trainer and trainee ensconced in the emotionally challenging process of self- and multicultural development.
This integrative and extension article is organized along four major sections that address (a) some personal reflection in the vein of the lead authors to this special issue, (b) the identification of specific characteristics of effective multicultural training, (c) a specific agenda for research in multicultural training, and (d) a general commentary on the status of multicultural counseling research. The contents for the sections emanate from the thoughts and experiences of the six lead authors, my own experiences and opinions, and the published literature.
THE TASK AT HAND, JUST ONE OF MY MANY EMBARRASSING MOMENTS, AND SOME PERSONAL REFLECTION
My charge from TCP Editor Puncky Heppner is quite clear. In fact, let me quote briefly from his invitation letter to me regarding my contribution:
I would like to specifically invite you to develop a manuscript ... with the
goal of charting a course for needed research in this particular area,
multicultural training. I would be particularly interested in your assessment
for future research on this topic, as well as building on the three papers
above to suggest relevant research directions and hypotheses. In essence, I
am hopeful that you would be able to extend the above three papers to
identify future research directions, but also do not necessarily feel
restricted to the ideas in the three papers.
A glance at this quote will reveal that the word research is mentioned four times. I think my charge, at least from the editor's perspective, is quite evident. Although I am very excited by the challenge to chart a course for research in multicultural training, I feel I cannot begin this article with that task. The lead authors of this major contribution have all told, on some level, very personal stories. They have role-modeled for me, and the profession, honesty, courage, and insight through their own self-disclosures vis a vis multicultural identity development.
Clearly, the present article is not the forum to share my complete, ongoing personal journey and struggles in multicultural development, but as an expression of my appreciation to the aforementioned authors who have charted a narrative path to follow, I will begin this article with some self-disclosure and personal reflection. Following my personal narrative, I will return to the editor's charge and attempt to chart a specific course for research on multicultural counseling training.
That One (of many) Embarrassing Moment
In his lead article, Kiselica (1998) discusses the fact that Anglo trainees are likely to make mistakes early in training as they work to shed their ethnocentrism and become more multicultural in worldview. I can attest to Kiselica's observation, as I made many mistakes in my early training, and I continue to blunder 18 years into my multicultural development.
The series of articles in this TCP issue cause me to reflect on my own multicultural development in counseling that began in 1980 at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). I hail from a large Italian American family (parents, six kids, grandparents) and prior to moving to Santa Barbara had lived either in the Bronx, New York, or Rome, Italy. Moving to California and joining the UCSB program was an eye-opening experience on many levels.
As I think back to my UCSB days, I must have embarrassed myself at least twice a month or so with something I said regarding racial or sexual orientation issues. My academic advisor and dissertation chair was J. Manuel Casas (Manny). Manny reminds me a lot of the unnamed dissertation chair so poignantly described by Lark and Paul (1998). As I worked to understand the role of race and ethnicity in counseling, and as I got in touch with my own ethnocentrism, Manny was my guide and my anchor. He never failed to prod and challenge me to confront my own stereotypes, and he did so always within a supportive, caring context. I felt safe with Manny and would often ask him about cultural issues. Many of our research meetings and work sessions took place off campus, often in small Mexican restaurants in a part of town that was not often frequented by university people. He never failed to spontaneously offer a cultural insight when he had one (which was often), and I never failed to ask him questions regarding his cultural background and experiences.
In any case, throughout my 5 years of matriculation at UCSB, I said many "stupid" things and embarrassed myself on numerous occasions. However, the "embarrassing moment" I would like to share now did not happen when I was a fledgling trainee at UCSB; rather, it happened when I was a faculty member around 1990. At that time, I was a bit established as a multicultural researcher. I define established as when walking around at an APA Division 17 social hour, graduate students glance at your name tag and then look up quickly at you, signaling, on some level, that they have "heard of you."
Haresh Sabnani and I had just finished an extensive citation count of the most frequently cited authors, conceptual articles, and empirical studies in the multicultural counseling literature (Ponterotto & Sabnani, 1989). In that review, Dr. William E. Cross Jr.'s article on the "Negro to Black conversion experience" (Cross, 1971) was one of the most frequently cited conceptual articles. In the article, we also listed the racial/ethnic background of the most frequently cited authors. Given the focus of his writing, I assumed that Cross was African American, although at that point I had never met him.
Roughly 2 years later, Cross was giving the keynote address at the Winter Roundtable on Cross-Cultural Counseling held each year at Teachers College, Columbia University. I remember the time well, as Cross's (1991) classic book, Shades of Black: Diversity in African American Identity, had just been published. As I sat in the audience, I was struck by his stature--tall, thin, and very light-skinned--"Caucasian looking." I remember thinking, "Wow, I should not have assumed he was African American--I guess White people can write great stuff on the African American experience." Some months later, a colleague in one of our multicultural network groups wrote to ask the group about the racial background of Cross and other leading scholars. I wrote back saying that Cross was White. A day or two later, Dr. Janet Helms, who was part of the network group, left a message on my voice mail letting me know that Cross was indeed African American, and she did not know how he would feel about me calling him White. Needless to say, as I listened to the message I cringed in embarrassment. I chided myself. "You idiot; some people may already be questioning your place as a White man in multicultural research, and now you have given credence to their doubts. How could you forget that African Americans vary widely in their skin shade or tone!"
I ran into Helms at the next Winter Roundtable and sheepishly thanked her for taking the time to enlighten me and save me from further embarrassment. She smiled and said, "you're welcome." As I think back on that faux pas and others, I am still embarrassed, but not on the level that I once was. As I get older (and I am not that old), I find it a little easier to laugh at myself and forgive myself for my "cultural mistakes."
Two important lessons I learned from this story and others of a similar nature were as …