Client perceptions of community mental health providers' multicultural counseling competence
Ihorn, Shasta Marie
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As the population of the United States becomes more diverse, it is important that research be done to inform the implementation of psychological services that meet the needs of a wide variety of ethnic and socioeconomic groups. One current limitation to research in multicultural counseling competence (MCC) is the lack of reliable and valid measures that consider the perspectives of the client. The standardized measures currently available are self-report measures completed by practitioners regarding their own perceived competence. These self-report measures are based largely on the well-regarded MCC guidelines set forth by Sue and colleagues (1992). Unfortunately, these measures present an incomplete (and possibly erroneous) representation of MCC as experienced by the client. The current study outlines the development of a measure meant to meet this need--the Client Experience of Provider Cultural Competence (CEPCCI)--and investigates the relationship between provider and client perceptions of the providers' abilities in this area. The CEPCCI is anchored in Sue et al.'s (1992) well-regarded theory on cultural competence and a qualitative study of client perceptions of multicultural counseling competence (Davis, 2007). The resulting scale consists of 38 items loading on one subscale with demonstrated content and construct validity and good reliability. A significant correlation between provider and client perceptions of the providers' multicultural counseling competence was also found. The need to obtain a consumer perspective on practitioner MCC is well-documented in the literature, and the present study has created a measure to fill this gap. This measure will open up a wider range of possibilities for research in MCC, as well as allowing providers of mental health services a way to assess their performance and progress in this area.