Multicultural psychology is a discipline that is closely related to cross-cultural psychology and in fact is difficult to make that distinction ( Weiner, Freedheim, Schinka, &Gallagher, 2003). Multicultural psychology focuses on individuals with ethnic
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Multicultural Psychology Anthony Stamatouras University of Phoenix May 3, 2010 Multicultural Psychology Multicultural psychology is something that is relevant in this day and age. Today, with a vast number of people of different minority attachments living together, the idea of multicultural psychology is a good thing. Multicultural psychology is a discipline that is closely related to cross-cultural psychology and in fact is difficult to make that distinction ( Weiner, Freedheim, Schinka, &Gallagher, 2003). Multicultural psychology focuses on individuals with ethnic or minority backgrounds and is important in the field of psychology today. What is multicultural psychology exactly? The psychology department of Wheaton College defines it as follows: "Multicultural psychology is the systematic study of all aspects of human behavior as it occurs in settings where people of different cultural backgrounds encounter each other" ("Multicultural Psychology," 2008). In the United States, there is attention to different racial groups, inter-marriage, minority adoptions and so forth. In Canada, there is attention to French and English differences as well as to the Natives who live there (Adair, Paivio & Ritchie, 1996).
There is still a need for more research and training in the field, but multicultural psychology has come a long way and it has place it's self among the forces of psychology. Criticism has emerged in respect to this specialty. However, there does seem to be a rationale for distinguishing multicultural psychology from ordinary psychology because individuals who seek help for their problems need certain issues addressed. A psychologist without experience in multicultural matters may not have a keen understanding of such issues. Again, some dilemmas involve how extended families of an intermarried couple get along. What are the problems that their children face? Someone who is a product of a mixed marriage may struggle with his or her own racial or ethnic identity. The importance of such matters are all too often minimized by traditional psychology. Further, the society is more and more diverse than ever before. With people coming together from different nations, and different cultures, there is a need to address different patterns of behavior and attitudes that exist amongst these groups.
Multicultural psychology proved that mental health professionals might be using unethical and harmful practices if they are not familiar with cultural backgrounds. Mental health professionals need to understand and be trained in all relative issues to provide the best possible services for all people. The cohesiveness from the past had no choice but to lift the tight controls which established its authority and inherent control. Multicultural trends, diverse population and a society that does not resemble no longer the white Anglo Saxon enabled this to become reality. Multicultural psychology is merely the study of culture and how it influences human behavior. Just as anything important in the scope of psychology might be, culture makes a difference and is an important topic. Of course, it is also important not to lose sight of other relevant aspects of an individual's makeup, particularly in a counseling situation. Not all individuals from a certain background will have the same needs or disposition. That said, as multicultural psychology emerges as its own specialty, it becomes quite relevant in today's world where cultural issues seem to be plentiful.
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