Multicultural Metatheory

Multicultural psychotherapy models now include modifications of traditional theories, universal or culture-specific approaches, and multidimensional forms of psychotherapy. D. W. Sue, Ivey, and Pedersen (1996) have articulated the need for a metatheory or theory of theories to provide an organizational framework to study the salience or relevance of each multicultural psychotherapy model. A metatheory offsets the potential for a "crisis of relativism" (Cooper & Lewis as cited by Fukuyama, 1990) when too many theories are available to therapists and the salience of multiculturalism becomes trivialized. A multicul-

tural metatheory seeks to unify disparate approaches to multicultural psychotherapy by highlighting the common features of each model or approach. Relatedly, the metatheory is culture-centered and multidimensional but not exclusively culture-specific nor universal. It therefore accommodates the variety of worldviews that serve as the foundation for each theory.

The metatheory complements the past call to the profession for multicultural counseling competencies by providing a "buyer's guide" for therapists who are becoming culturally competent and consequently seeking to employ culturally sensitive models of psychotherapy. It serves as another benchmark to examine the comprehensiveness of existing models of multicultural psychotherapy and the development of new models. In brief, the six multicultural counseling and psychotherapy (MCT) propositions are (a) "MCT is a metatheory of counseling and psychotherapy"; (b) "Both therapist and client identities are formed and embedded in multiple levels of experiences and contexts"; (c) "Development of cultural identity is a major determinant of therapist and client attitudes toward the self, others of the same group, others of a different group, and the dominant culture"; (d) "The effectiveness of MCT theory is most likely enhanced when the therapist uses modalities and defines goals consistent with the life experiences/cultural values of the client"; (e) "MCT theory stresses the importance of multiple helping roles developed by many culturally different groups and societies"; and (f) "The liberation of consciousness is a basic goal of MCT theory" (Sue et al., 1996, pp. 23-29).

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