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Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson are two prominent psychologists in the field of human growth and development. Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development and Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development provide a background for understanding the developmental context of clients. Life-span development theory states that individuals continue to develop from infancy to late adulthood. Therefore, it is important to recognize that each client is in a particular stage of development. For example, if you are working with a 9-year-old client and an 80-year-old client, their current stages of emotional, physical, social, spiritual, and cognitive development would be vastly different. This understanding of the developmental context of your clients is foundational for client conceptualization and choosing appropriate intervention methods.
A client’s cultural background is also critically important. Where your client was born and raised, the cultural beliefs and religious convictions of the client’s family, and the different cultures and beliefs of the communities where the client lived is also fundamental to understanding your client and determining appropriate intervention methods.
While you must be aware of your client’s developmental and socio-cultural context, it is just as important to be aware of your own, with its biases and beliefs, so that your client conceptualization is not influenced by a lack of self-awareness. Participating in self-assessment can help counselors gain an understanding of who they are, what they believe, and how to separate personal biases from the counseling process.
For this Journal Assignment, you will assess your multicultural awareness and cultural competence, and consider the importance of multicultural awareness and cultural competence to the practice of clinical mental health counseling.
Due to the somewhat abstract topic of this Assignment, you are asked to present your thoughts as a reflective journal entry. Regular reflection through journaling is a common practice for counselors, and both counseling students and professionals find the practice helpful to their self-awareness and professional growth (Woodbridge & Rust O’Beirne, 2017).
Note that this Assignment is assessed according to the criteria in the assignment rubric with the exception of APA format. While you need to support your assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation, Journals are intended to be informal. APA format is not expected in journal assignments.
Woodbridge, L., & Rust O’Beirne, B. (2017). Counseling students’ perceptions of journaling as a tool for developing reflective thinking.
Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision, 9(2). Retrieved from
Erford, B. T. (Ed.). (2018). Orientation to the counseling profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
- Chapter 10, “Human Development Throughout the Life Span” (pp. 311–336)
- Chapter 11, “Multicultural Counseling” (pp. 337–372)
- Review Chapters 10 and 11 in the Erford course text and focus on the importance of human development and multicultural awareness.
- Review the media program found in the Learning Resources for this week and think about the first time you realized you were “other.” Reflect on how this self-awareness impacted your cultural beliefs.
- Note: “Otherness” is a broad concept. It can be intense, such as experiencing racial prejudice, or more subtle, such as feeling uncomfortable in unfamiliar social situations. Otherness is a universal human experience and can look and feel many different ways.
- Take the Multicultural Self-Assessment (Petrone, 2004) in the Learning Resources and save your results. Please note: the assessment is a self-reflection tool. It does not yield a numerical score; your interpretation of the process and results is the outcome.
- Reflect on your cultural beliefs and your level of self-awareness. Think about any changes you plan to implement as a result of the self-assessment.
- Think about the importance of cultural awareness to the practice of clinical mental health counseling.
Assignment: Journal Entry (2–4 pages)
Use the Multicultural Awareness Journal Template to create your journal entry. In your journal entry, include the following:
- A brief summary of the results of your Multicultural Self-Assessment.
- Based on the media for this week, briefly tell the story of the first time you realized you were “other.”
- An explanation of your reaction(s) to both the self-assessment and your realization of being “other.”
- An explanation of how your developmental stage impacted your experience of “otherness.”
- An explanation of what actions you plan to take as a result of the self-assessment.
- An explanation of the importance of multicultural awareness and cultural competency to the practice of clinical mental health counseling.