Examining basic helping skills in cross-cultural counseling in the U.S.
AbstractWe address the need for culturally informed counseling skills by using a multiple case study design that evaluates the basic helping skills with four volunteer Mexican American clients and four European American counselors in the U.S. While viewing vignettes of each skill used in their counseling session, four clients responded to written measures and verbal interview questions immediately after each of their three sessions. A mixed methods (QUAL + QUAN) analyses of verbal and written client assessments of the skills yielded converging results revealing variability in the perceived helpfulness of the skills. The concern regarding being understood by the counselor (i.e. empathy) was the most important criteria used by the clients to judge the skills. Feeling understood was most enhanced by the skills of restatement and immediacy. The most negatively rated skills were challenge, closed questions, information giving and direct guidance. Recommendations for future research and practice are discussed.
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