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Theories in Cross-Cultural Contexts

  • Frederick. T. L. Leong
  • Arpana Gupta

During the last two decades, there has been an increased attention towards being able to provide culturally appropriate mental health services to ethnic and racial minorities. This increased vigilance has been mirrored in other areas of counselling such as in vocational counselling/career guidance. In order to be able to better serve culturally different clients, researchers have to be able to develop career theories and models that are culturally sensitive, effective and appropriate. At the same time researchers have to examine the strengths and weaknesses of Western based models and challenge them so that they can be more applicable on a global/international level (Leong, 1995). In order to meet this need in career counselling many scholars have begun to do this on two levels. One way is to reformulate the already existing career theories so that greater attention is given to the cultural, ethnic and racial background of the client. The second level involves scholars designing more culturally appropriate career models from scratch.

Many scholars have argued that in order to improve the process and outcome of career counselling, it needs to occur within a cultural context (Fouad & Bingham, 1995; Fouad, 1995; Fouad & Arbona, 1994; Leong, 1993; Leong & Brown, 1995; Leong & Hartung, 1997). This means that in order to be able to provide career services that are effective, appropriate and desirable career counsellors need to address issues such as ethnicity, race, identity, language, values, interpersonal communication style and time orientation, etc. simultaneously to the presenting career concern. This has become even more of a reality in most societies especially as the current demographics continue to change in diversity. In addition, minorities often are most likely to initially seek counselling services that address career, work and/ or educational issues. If racial and ethnic minority clients initially receive culturally appropriate and effective career guidance services, it will open the door to additional mental health services in the future, increasing the likelihood of them coming back when the need arises (Leong, 1993; Sue & Sue, 1990).

Keywords

Ethnic Minority Career Development Career Choice Racial Identity Career Guidance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick. T. L. Leong
    • 1
  • Arpana Gupta
    • 2
  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityUSA
  2. 2.University of TennesseeUSA

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