Exploring Multicultural Competence Skills of LGBTQ+ Counseling Trainees
University of North Florida
Academic -- UNF -- Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Academic -- UNF -- Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies
LGBTQ+ counseling trainees
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AbstractWhile counselors develop multicultural competence through counselor education, training, and supervision, the practice and demonstration of multicultural competence remains nebulous and lacks thorough prescription of specific counseling skills. The present study was conducted to explore and concretize the skills used by LGBTQ+ counseling trainees to demonstrate multicultural competence for understanding the client worldview and the counseling relationship. Data was gathered with twelve LGBTQ+ counseling trainees from CACREP-accredited master’s-level clinical mental health counseling programs through semi-structured interviews using a relational-cultural theoretical framework. Seven domains encompassed the 37 skill categories that emerged from phenomenological data analysis. The domains included (a) counselor authenticity facilitates healing, (b) openness and curiosity for culture to enter the client’s worldview, (c) roles in the counseling relationship promote the client as the author, (d) therapeutic alliance enables change, (e) intersections of counselor and client identities invite deeper work, (f) addressing systems and power dynamics strengthens the counseling relationship, and (g) counselor self-reflection fosters relational impact. The study suggests that LGBTQ+ counseling trainees prioritize skills that affirm multicultural identities through authenticity and empower clients through accountability. Implications for counselor education and practice expand current knowledge of counseling skills in master’s-level trainees and promote encouragement of skill development in multicultural counseling courses.
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