Assignment: Cultural Autobiography

In the last unit, we began to consider the characteristics of counselors and clients with respect to culture, class, and language, and how important it is to be mindful of how we attend to these in our counseling practice. In this exercise we will be asked to take our personal exploration further by investigating our own cultural heritage and its impact on our worldviews.

Sue and Sue (2013) define worldview as the way “people perceive their relationship to the world” (p. 136) and explain that our worldviews are related to our cultural upbringing and experiences. They also explain that our worldviews are “composed of our attitudes, values, opinions, and concepts, [and] also affect how we think, define events, make decisions, and behave” (p. 137).

For this assignment you will need to interview at least one family member, and you may wish to include more as you investigate your own cultural background. Based upon the data you gather from the interview process, your own reflections, and at least two peer-reviewed articles that address counselor characteristics and cultural heritage, address the following points.

Awareness of Your Cultural Heritage

Describe your and your family’s (either birth or adopted) cultural heritage (for example, your paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy, and your maternal grandparents emigrated from Ireland).
Share the cultural traditions that have been passed down in your family.
Does your family have one or more religious or spiritual traditions?
Consider your cultural heritage in terms of those aspects of which you and your family are:Most proud.
What aspects of your cultural heritage have been or currently do result in discrimination and oppression for you and your family?
What aspects of your cultural heritage have been or do currently result in privileges for you and your family?
How does your worldview contribute to your ideas about the purpose of counseling, role of the counselor, and approaches to therapy that you’ll be using in your work with clients from diverse backgrounds?
Consider potential barriers or opportunities your worldview could present in counseling a client of a different:Ethnicity or race.
Socioeconomic status.
Strategies to Overcome Your Cultural Competence Limitations

Identify and discuss at least one competency from each of the aspects of multicultural competence (awareness, knowledge, skill) that would be important to apply in ensuring that you eliminate these barriers.
Your paper should be a maximum of 7 pages long and should include at least two references from current peer reviewed journals. You may include your text as a reference as well. Use APA 6th edition format for all citations and references.


Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2013). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN: 9781118022023.


The following required readings are linked to electronic books in the Capella University Library. If you need assistance, please refer to the How Do I Find Books?library guide.

Pedersen, P. B., Crethar, H. C., & Carlson, J. (2008). Conclusion: Developing multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skill. In P. B. Pedersen, H. C. Crethar, & J. Carlson (Eds.), Inclusive cultural empathy: Making relationships central in counseling and psychotherapy (1st ed., pp. 223–241). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Sue, D. W., & Torino, G. C. (2004). Racial-cultural competence: Awareness, knowledge, and skills. In R. T. Carter (Ed.), Handbook of racial-cultural psychology and counseling, volume 2: Training and practice (pp. 3–18). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.



The following required readings are provided for you in the Capella University Library or linked directly in this course. To find library resources, use the Journal and Book Locator tool found on the library home page.

Alessandria, K. P. (2002). Acknowledging white ethnic groups in multicultural counseling. The Family Journal, 10(1), 57–60.

Arredondo, P. (1999). Multicultural counseling competencies as tools to address oppression and racism. Journal of Counseling and Development, 77(1), 102–107.

Assouline, S. G., Nicpon, M. F., & Huber, D. H. (2006). The impact of vulnerabilities and strengths on the academic experiences of twice-exceptional students: A message to school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 10(1), 14–24.

Barret, R., &Barzan, R. (1996). Spiritual experiences of gay men and lesbians. Counseling and Values, 41(1), 4–15.

Beckerman, N. L., & Corbett, L. (2008). Immigration and families: Treating acculturative stress from a systemic framework. Family Therapy, 35(2), 63–81.

Blustein, D. L., Kenna, A. C., Gill, N., &DeVoy, J. E. (2008). The psychology of working: A new framework for counseling practice and public policy. The Career Development Quarterly, 56(4), 294–308.

Carroll, L., Gilroy, P. J., & Ryan, J. (2002). Counseling transgendered, transsexual, and gender-variant clients. Journal of Counseling and Development, 80(2), 131–139.

Chen-Hayes, S. F. (2001). Social justice advocacy readiness questionnaire.Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 13(1/2), 191–203.

Hawley, D. R. (2000). Clinical implications of family resilience. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 28(2), 101–116.

Hermann, M. A., & Richter Herlihy, B. (2006). Legal and ethical implications of refusing to counsel homosexual clients. Journal of Counseling & Development, 84(4), 414–418.

Kashubeck-West, S., Meyer, S., & Szymanski, D. M. (2008). Internalized heterosexism: A historical and theoretical overview. The Counseling Psychologist, 36(4), 615–630.

Lopez-Baez, S. I., &Paylo, M. J. (2009). Social justice advocacy: Community collaboration and systems advocacy. Journal of Counseling and Development, 87(3), 276–283.

McCall-Perez, Z. (2000). The counselor as advocate for English language learners: An action research approach. Professional School Counseling, 4(1), 13–22.

Monahan, M. J. (2014). The concept of privilege: A critical appraisal. South African Journal of Philosophy, 33(1), 73–83.

Pedersen, P. B. (1991). Multiculturalism as a generic approach to counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development, 70(1), 6–12.

Sacks, I., &Peled, E. (2008). The self-perception of women who live with an alcoholic partner: Dialoging with deviance, strength, and self-fulfillment. Family Relations, 57(3), 390–403.

Schroeder, S. (2005). An agenda to combat substance abuse. Health Affairs, 24(4), 1005–1013.

Singh, R. (2004). Exploring culture in practice: A few facets of a training course. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 15(1/2), 87–104.

Spence, N. J., Adkins, D. E., &Dupre, M. E. (2011). Racial differences in depression trajectories among older women: Socioeconomic, family and health influences. Journal of Health and Behavior, 52(4), 444–459.

Volker, T., & Ray, K. E. (2006). Counseling exceptional individuals and their families: A systems perspective. Professional School Counseling, 10(1), 58–65.

Yakushko, O., Backhaus, A., Watson, M., Ngaruiya, K., & Gonzalez, J. (2008). Career development concerns of recent immigrants and refugees. Journal of Career Development, 34(4), 362–396.

Reserved Readings

The following reserved readings are provided for your use in this course.

Laszloffy, T. A. (2008). Therapy with mixed-race families. In M. McGoldrick& K. V. Hardy (Eds.), Re-visioning family therapy: Race, culture, and gender in clinical practice (2nd ed., pp. 275–285). New York, NY: Guilford.

Internet Resources

Please note that URLs change frequently. While the URLs were current when this course was designed, some may no longer be valid. If you cannot access a specific link, contact your instructor for an alternative URL. Permissions for the following links have been either granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication.

Adkison-Bradley, C., Johnson, P. D., Rawls, G., & Plunkett, D. (2006). Overrepresentation of African American males in special education programs: Implications and advocacy strategies for school counselors. Journal of School Counseling, 4(16). Retrieved from

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. (2011). Retrieved from

American Counseling Association. (2011). Retrieved from

American Counseling Association. (2011). Advocacy competencies. Retrieved from

American Counseling Association. (2011). Ethics & professional standards. Retrieved from

American Mental Health Counselors Association. (2011). Retrieved from

American School Counselor Association. (2011). Retrieved from

Association for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Issues in Counseling. (2011). Retrieved from

Center for Applied Linguistics: Cultural Orientation Resource Center. (2004). Muslim refugees in the United States, chapter 3: Challenges in resettlement and adaptation of Muslim refugees. Retrieved from

Gay Affirmative Therapy. (2012). Ten common mistakes straight clinicians make when working with gay and lesbian clients. Retrieved from

GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. (2012). Retrieved from

Huffington Post. (2011). Jamie Hubley, Gay 15-year-old Ottawa, Canada teen commits suicide, cites depression, school troubles. Retrieved from

Matthew Shepherd Foundation. (2011). Retrieved from

NAADAC: The Association for Addiction Professionals. (2011). Retrieved from

National Career Development Association. (2011). Retrieved from

Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays. (2011). Retrieved from

Payne, R. K. (2003). Understanding and working with students and adults from poverty. Retrieved from

PBS. (1997). Out of the past. Retrieved from

Project Implicit. (2011). Retrieved from

The National Association of Lesbian and Gay Bisexual and Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies. (2011). Retrieved from


The following optional materials are offered to provide you with a better understanding of the topics in this course. These materials are not required to complete the course.

Optional Books

Use the Journal and Book Locator tool to see if the library has access to the book or the How Do I Find Books?library guide for additional options.

Addison, S. M., & Thomas, V. (2010). Searching for mutuality: A feminist/multicultural approach to couple therapy. In A. S. Gurman (Ed.), Clinical casebook of couple therapy. New York, NY: Guilford.

Almeida, R. V., Dolan Del-Vecchio, K., & Parker, L. (2008). Transformative family therapy: Just families in a just society. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Bradley, J. M., & Palmer, G. (2003). Attachment in later life: Implications for intervention with older adults. In S. M. Johnson & V. E. Whiffen (Eds.), Attachment processes in couple and family therapy (pp. 281–299). New York, NY: Guilford.

Carbado, D. (2004). Straight out of the closet: Men, feminism, and male heterosexual privilege. In L. Heldke& P. O’Connor (Eds.), Oppression, privilege, and resistance: Theoretical perspectives on racism, sexism, and heterosexism. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.

Falicov, C. J. (1998). The cultural meaning of family triangles. In M. McGoldrick (Ed.), Re-visioning family therapy: Race, culture, and gender in clinical practice (1st ed., pp. 37–49). New York, NY: Guilford.

Ivey, A. E., & Brooks-Harris, J. E. (2005). Integrative psychotherapy with culturally diverse clients. In J. C. Norcross & M. R. Goldfried (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy integration (2nd ed.). Cary, NC: Oxford University Press.

Knudson-Martin, C. (2009). An unequal burden: Gendered power in diabetes care. In C. Knudson-Martin & A. R. Mahoney (Eds.), Couples, gender, and power: Creating change in intimate relationships (pp. 105–123). New York, NY: Springer.

McGoldrick, M., & Hardy, K. V. (Eds.). (2008). Re-visioning family therapy: Race, culture, and gender in clinical practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford.

Naaman, S., Radwan, K., & Johnson, S. M. (2011). Emotionally focused couple therapy in chronic medical illness: Working with the aftermath of breast cancer. In J. L. Furrow, S. M. Johnson, & B. A. Bradley (Eds.), The emotionally focused casebook: New directions in treating couples (pp. 141–164). New York, NY: Routledge.

Rastogi, M., & Thomas, V. (Eds.). (2009). Multicultural couple therapy. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.

Rothblum, E., &Solovay, S. (Eds.). (2009). The fat studies reader. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Optional Articles

Use Journal and Book Locator to see if the library has access to the full text of an article. If the full text is not available, try using Interlibrary Loan to obtain a copy.


Arminio, J. (2001). Exploring the nature of race-related guilt. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 29(4), 239–252.

Boone, L. R., Mayberry, R. M., Betancourt, J. R., Coggins, P. C., & Yancey, E. M. (2006). Cultural competence in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. American Journal of Health Studies, 21(3/4), 199–208.

Bowers, R., Minichiello, V., & Plummer, D. (2010). Religious attitudes, homophobia, and professional counseling. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling 4(2), 70–91.

Briggs, W. P., Magnus, V. A., Lassiter, P., Patterson, A., & Smith, L. (2011). Substance use, misuse, and abuse among older adults: Implications for clinical mental health counselors. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 33(2), 112–127.

Brucker, D. L. (2009). Social construction of disability and substance abuse within public disability benefit systems. International Journal of Drug Policy, 20(5), 418–423.

Burnam, M. A., & Watkins, K. E. (2006). Substance abuse with mental disorders: Specialized public systems and integrated care. Health Affairs, 25(3), 648–658.

Choi, Y., Harachi, T. W., Gillmore, M. R., & Catalano, R. F. (2006). Are multiracial adolescents at greater risk? Comparisons of rates, patterns, and correlates of substance use and violence between monoracial and multiracial adolescents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76(1), 86–97.

Dana, H. R. (2000). The cultural self as locus for assessment and intervention with American Indian/Alaska Natives. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 28(2), 66–82.

Duchar, K., Abraham, A. J., & Roman, P. M. (2010). Counselor attitudes toward the use of motivational incentives in addiction treatment. The American Journal on Addictions, 19(6), 496–503.

Echo-Hawk, H. (2011). Indigenous communities and evidence building. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 43(4), 269–275.

Fisher, L., Gushue, G., &Cerrone, M. (2011). The influences of career support and sexual identity on sexual minority women’s career aspirations. The Career Development Quarterly, 59(5), 441–454.

Fontes, L. (2002). Child discipline and physical abuse in immigrant Latino families: Reducing violence and misunderstandings. Journal of Counseling & Development, 80(1), 31–40.

Garrett, M. T., Garrett, J. T., Torres-Rivera, E., & Roberts-Wilbur, J. (2005). Laughing it up: Native American humor as spiritual tradition. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 33(4), 194–204.

Ghazal Read, J. (2004). Family, religion and work among Arab American women. Journal of Marriage & Family, 66(4), 1042–1050.

Gone, J. P., & Calf Looking, P. E. (2011). American Indian culture as substance abuse treatment: Pursuing evidence for a local intervention. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 43(4), 291–296.

Goodrich, K. M., & Luke, M. (2009). LGBTQ responsive school counseling. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 3(2), 113–127.

Ivey, A. E. (1987). The multicultural practice of therapy: Ethics, empathy, and dialectics. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 5(2), 195–204.

Jacobs, R. J., & Kane, M. N. (2010). HIV-related stigma in midlife and older women. Social Work in Health Care, 49(1), 68–89.

Kleinig, J. (2008). The ethics of harm reduction. Substance Use & Misuse, 43(1), 1–16.

Knopf, A. (2010). Sexual health groups help patients avoid relapses. Behavioral Healthcare, 30(10), 12–13.

Lane, D. C., & Simmons, J. (2011). American Indian youth substance abuse: Community-driven interventions. Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, 78(3), 362–372.

Larios, S. E., Wright, S., Jernstrom, A., Lebron, D., & Sorensen, J. L. (2011). Evidence-based practices, attitudes, and beliefs in substance abuse treatment programs serving American Indians and Alaska Natives: A qualitative study. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 43(4), 355–359.

Lassiter, P. S., & Chang, C. Y. (2006). Perceived multicultural competency of certified substance abuse counselors. Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, 26(2), 73–83.

Leach, M. M., Behrens, T. J., &LeFleur, N. K. (2002). White racial identity and white racial consciousness: Similarities, differences, and recommendations. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 30(2), 66–80.

Lebolt, J. (1999). Gay affirmative psychotherapy: A phenomenological study. Clinical Social Work Journal, 27(4), 355–370.

Lev, A. I. (2009). The ten tasks of the mental health provider: Recommendation for the revision of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care. International Journal of Transgenderism, 11(2), 74–99.

Luoma, J. B., Twohig, M. P., Waltz, T., Hayes, S. C., Roget, N., Padilla, M., & Fisher, G. (2007). An investigation of stigma in individuals receiving treatment for substance abuse. Addictive Behaviors, 32(7), 1331–1346.

McGeorge, C., & Stone Carlson, T. (2011). Deconstructing heterosexism: Becoming an LGB affirmative heterosexual couple and family therapist. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 37(1), 14–26.

Miville, M. L., Carlozzi, A. F., Gushue, G. V., Schara, S. L., & Ueda, M. (2006). Mental health counselor qualities for a diverse clientele: Linking empathy, universal-diverse orientation, and emotional intelligence. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 28(2), 151–165.

Moghaddam, J. F., &Momper, S. L. (2011). Integrating spiritual and Western treatment modalities in a Native American substance user center: Provider perspectives. Substance Use & Misuse, 46(11), 1431–1437.

Nadal, K. L., Wong, Y., Issa, M., Meterko, V., Leon, J., &Wilderman, M. (2011). Sexual orientation microaggressions: Processes and coping mechanisms for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling 5(1), 21–46.

Ndiaye, K., Hecht, M. L., Wagstaff, D. A., &Elek, E. (2009). Mexican-heritage preadolescents’ ethnic identification and perceptions of substance use. Substance Use, 44(8), 1160–1182.

Neblett, E. W., Terzian, M., &Herriott, V. (2010). From racial discrimination to substance use: The buffering effects of racial socialization. Child Development Perspectives, 4(2), 131–137.

Patrick, M. E., Schulenberg, J. E., O’Malley, P. M., Maggs, J. L., Kloska, D. D., Johnston, L. D., & Bachman, J. G. (2011). Age-related changes in reasons for using alcohol and marijuana from ages 18 to 30 in a national sample. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 25(2), 330–339.

Real, T. (1995). Fathering our sons, refathering ourselves: Some thoughts on transforming masculine legacies. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 7(1/2), 27–43.

Richard, A. J., Trevino, R. A., Baker, M., & Valdez, J. (2010). Negative reflected appraisal, negative self-perception, and drug use intentions in a sample of suburban high school students. Journal of Child Adolescent Substance Abuse, 19(3), 193–209.

Sakai, J. T., Wang, C., & Price, R. K. (2010). Substance use and dependence among native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, and Asian ethnic groups in the United States: Contrasting multiple-race and single-race prevalence rates from a national survey. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 9(3), 173–185.

Sangganjanavanich, V. F., & Cavazos, Jr., J. (2010). Workplace aggression: Toward social justice and advocacy in counseling for transgender individuals. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 4(3/4), 187–201.

Sato Vosburg, E. (2004). Toward triadic communication: A crisis in Japanese family relationships. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 15(1/2), 105–117.

Senreich, E. (2010). Are specialized LGBT program components helpful for gay and bisexual men in substance abuse treatment? Substance Use & Misuse, 45(7/8), 1077–1096.

Smart, J. F., & Smart, D. W. (2006). Models of disability: Implications for the counseling profession. Journal of Counseling & Development, 84(1), 29–40.

Stone, C. B. (2000). Advocacy for sexual harassment victims: Legal support and ethical aspects. Professional School Counseling, 4(1), 23–30.

Sue, D., Rivera, D., Capodilupo, C., Lin, A., & Torino, G. (2010). Racial dialogues and white trainee fears: Implications for education and training. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16(2), 206–214.

Talley, A. E., Tomko, R. L., Littlefield, A. K., Trull, T. J., & Sher, K. J. (2011). The influence of general identity disturbance on reports of lifetime substance use disorders and related outcomes among sexual minority adults with a history of substance use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 25(3), 530–541.

Utsey, O. S., Ponterotto, J. G., Reynolds, A. L., &Cancelli, A. A. (2000). Racial discrimination, coping, life satisfaction, and self-esteem among African Americans. Journal of Counseling & Development, 78(1), 72–80.

Wright, R., Houston, S., Ellis, M., Holloway, S., & Hudson, M. (2003). Crossing racial lines: Geographies of mixed-race partnering and multiraciality in the United States. Progress in Human Geography, 27(4), 457–474.

Wu, L. T., Woody, G. E., Yang, C. M., Pan, J. J., & Blazer, D. G. (2011). Racial/ethnic variations in substance-related disorders among adolescents in the United States. Archives of General Psychiatry, 1176–1185.

Optional Internet Resources

McIntosh, P. (1989, July/August). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Retrieved from

Mulvaney, B. M. (1994). Gender differences in communication: An intercultural experience. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2001). Provider’s introduction to substance abuse treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2005). Children’s program kit: Supportive education for children of addicted parents. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2005). Substance abuse relapse prevention for older adults: A group treatment approach. Retrieved from



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