Exploring the process of multicultural competence development and training of counselor trainees of color

Jaya Thoppil Mathew, Fordham University


This study explored the process of multicultural competence development and training of counselor trainees of color through a mixed-method research design. Specifically, a correlational design was utilized examine the relationship between the perceptions of trainees of color regarding their multicultural training (climate/comfort; multicultural curriculum/supervision) and their multicultural competence development in the self-awareness domain. Seventy-six participants (67 female; 9 male) completed the Multicultural Counseling Competence and Training Survey-Revised, the Multicultural Environment inventory Revised measures, and a demographic questionnaire online. Ten participants (7 female, 3 male) participated in 1–2 hour semi-structured interviews. The data was examined from a phenomenological approach, which allowed participants the opportunity to give meaning to their lived experiences of multicultural training. Results empirically substantiated the relationship between trainees of colors' experiences of the climate/comfort and curriculum/supervision and their self-awareness development. Quantitative results indicate that trainees of color who perceive greater climate/comfort and curriculum/supervision in their multicultural training environment report greater self-awareness. Qualitative findings indicate that although trainees of color perceive themselves as multiculturally self-aware in key identity domains, they largely found the curriculum/supervision and climate/comfort of their training programs to not have aided in their self-awareness development in personally challenging multicultural domains. The quantitative results of this study suggest that effective multicultural training is associated with higher multicultural self-awareness in trainees of color. However, the qualitative results suggest that many unique needs of trainees of color for multicultural competence development in the self-awareness component are not being met or are thwarted by their multicultural training. Trainees' of color experiences in their training programs indicate that APA guidelines for multicultural education are not only being violated, but also inadvertently re-stigmatizing a vulnerable population. The findings of this study highlight the importance of curriculum/supervision and climate/comfort in developing the self-awareness domain of multicultural competence for trainees of color. Implications for multicultural competence training and curriculum development with trainees of color, methodological limitations, and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Multicultural Education|Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Mathew, Jaya Thoppil, "Exploring the process of multicultural competence development and training of counselor trainees of color" (2011). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3452794.