Posted by Kate Walsh-Soucheray
on 28 September 2021
Given the growth of diverse immigrant populations in the United States over the past few decades, as well as the increasing awareness of cultural diversity of all kinds, this dissertation provides keen insights into how Christian counselors can support, affirm, and assist clients from a culture not their own. The study is structured in ways familiar to anyone who has conducted a “qualitative, hermeneutic phenomenological study” (66).
Chapter One presents the problem to be investigated, in this case how self-described Christian counselors working in an explicitly defined Christian counseling center can support clients coming from “other” cultures. While it is not entirely clear, it seems that these clients were all – or at least the majority – immigrants (xii, 121-123). Chapter Two offers a robust review of the literature. This would be a very good starting point for anyone interested in the issue of “cross-cultural” counseling, its challenges, and the competencies necessary to engage in such therapy.
Chapter Three outlines the methodology employed in the study, including factors such as the participants, setting, structure, instrument(s) used, process, coding and analysis, ethical issues, and so on. Chapter Four presents the results of the study – surely the key chapter – and an analysis of the five foundational findings or learnings from the research interviews. Chapter Five, the final chapter, presents a relatively brief summary, discussion, and conclusions.
This study is based on interviews with 12 Christian counselors employed by a “Christian, private counseling practice in an upper Midwest metropolitan area of the United States” (xii). Given the subjects and the context in which they work, this study is relatively limited as to generalizability. At the same time, it lays the groundwork for additional work in this critically important area. These 12 therapists who had engaged in counseling sessions with at least two “multicultural clients” in the previous 12 months were found within a larger group of 35 therapists in this practice. A small matter is that there is some slight bit of confusion as to the 12 who participated in the study per se, and where the 2 pilot study participants came from. Mention is made of 12 and that “[T]he first two interviews were conducted on a trial basis as the Pilot Study . . . [and] were not included in the final analysis of the data” (95). The table a few pages later does list 12 counselors (100).