Professional counsellors’ understanding and practice of multicultural counselling in malaysia

2017-02-06T06:15:59Z (GMT) by Aga Mohd Jaladin, Rafidah
The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceived multicultural counselling competencies (MCCs) of practising professional counsellors and their practice reflections of multicultural counselling in Malaysia. A national survey with the aid of a questionnaire was conducted as a primary data collection method and a total of 508 responses were statistically analysed. To enhance and supplement the surveys, semi-structured interviews with 12 licensed professional counsellors were conducted and thematically analysed. The results of the survey revealed five factors as constituents of MCCs: Multicultural Knowledge, Multicultural Understanding, Multicultural Skills, Multicultural Awareness, and Cross-Cultural Skills dimensions. Participants generally perceived themselves to be multiculturally competent: they felt most competent on the multicultural knowledge and least competent on the multicultural skills dimensions. Among a list of participant characteristics investigated as potential correlates of MCC (e.g., gender, ethnicity, completion of multicultural counselling courses, and years of practice), ethnicity, highest education level, and participation in professional development training have the ability to influence and predict perceived MCCs. The interviews revealed that some Malaysian counsellors were indeed using a culturally sensitive approach when engaging with culture and diversity. Although the approach resembles a general counselling process, it was found that the drivers and facilitators of the multicultural counselling process were mostly counsellors’ perceived MCCs and their multicultural experiences. The study has implications for theory, practice, training, and future research. It is hoped that the Malaysian counselling profession will begin incorporating these competencies to develop guidelines for better practice and training of counsellors in Malaysia.