Multicultural Competence in Counseling & Psychotherapy
by Derald Wing Sue
In this provocative interview with multicultural expert Derald Wing Sue, learn about the history of multicultural counseling, the unmet needs of diverse clients, and ways to counter the culture-bound values that may be impacting your work.
How do we as therapists work most effectively with clients from different cultural backgrounds? Despite the rise in cross-cultural training, many clinicians are still mystified about how to actually integrate multicultural issues and interventions into their work with clients. In this conversation between Victor Yalom and Derald Wing Sue—the renowned psychologist who literally wrote the book on multicultural counseling—we learn about the origins of Sue’s research, the ways in which conventional practice has both neglected and harmed clients of color, and clinical practices and interventions that all therapists can use to become more culturally aware and competent.

Multicultural counseling, says Sue, is the development of cultural competence with minority groups—yet this seemingly simple idea has represented a complex, and controversial, paradigm shift in the field. In his experience first as a student and later as a new clinician, Sue discovered that not only were members of minority groups failing to take advantage of psychotherapy, but those who did didn’t last. He sought to find out why, and his answers became the foundation for the thought-provoking theories on race and clinical practice that have been cited for more than three decades.

Culture- and class-bound values, white privilege, and implicit bias are just a few of the factors Sue addresses here. Inappropriate at best and oppressive at worst, therapeutic interventions based on these factors serve to pathologize difference, alienate minority clients, and erode the therapeutic alliance. Sue describes these phenomena in detail, along with an overview of microagressions, developing multicultural competence, and his unique training program designed to immerse students in diverse cultures.

If you’re looking to deepen your knowledge of cross-cultural concepts or want to see them presented by their originator, watch this interview for eye-opening insights and tools you can start using right away.

What therapists are saying…

"This video is ideally suited for doctoral students and could be used as part of the didactic curricula in courses focused on pedagogy, supervision, leadership and advocacy, or during doctoral fieldwork as students intern as instructors and supervisors. ... Sue’s expertise and personal disclosures have the potential to crystalize concepts for counselor trainees, normalize the challenges of developing cultural competence and inspire students to commit to a continual journey toward cultural competence. Multicultural Competence in Counseling & Psychotherapy is well suited for classroom use or as an accompaniment to lessons or assigned readings for students engaged in distance learning."

-- Amie Manis, NCC, Capella University, reviewed in The Professional Counselor




"This video is a gem! Teaching culture to others is difficult; it’s like explaining water to goldfish. Dr. Sue has masterfully summarized some of the key principles and insights in multicultural counseling with this engaging and wide-ranging interview."

-- Frederick Leong, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Director of the Consortium for Multicultural Psychology Research, Michigan State University
"Derald Wing Sue is a national treasure! With a wonderful historical context of the development of multicultural competence, Sue provides concrete, empirically supported strategies for examining one’s beliefs, increasing knowledge, and identifying appropriate skills for culturally responsive therapy. An essential resource that should be shown in every beginning-level counseling course."

-- Helen A. Neville, Professor, Educational Psychology and African American Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“Derald Wing Sue provides an intriguing overview of his remarkable career, seamlessly integrating his early work with recent directions on microaggressions and race talk. By offering a viable multicultural alternative, Sue effectively challenges the dominant Western European psychology paradigm. In this interview, Dr. Sue offers convincing evidence that race always matters via case examples that clearly illustrate his points.”

-- Gordon C. Nagayama Hall, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon
"An essential mini-course on cross-cultural competence in the helping professions, this fascinating interview provides an ideal cognitive map for topics to include in multicultural counseling courses as well as clinical training programs generally. Dr. Sue is engaging, knowledgeable, self-reflective, and at times poignant and humorous as he talks from the heart and from his four decades of pioneering research and training experience. This video is one for the archives—Sue’s influence on 21st-century counseling and psychology is reminiscent of Freud’s a century ago."

-- Joseph G. Ponterotto, PhD, Professor & Coordinator, Mental Health Counseling Program, Fordham University
"Perhaps the best part of the video is witnessing Race Talk' (Sue, 2013) in action. During the discussion on culture competence, Yalom and Sue’s real time cross-cultural encounter cannot help but be played out in front of the viewer as well. Their courageous dialogue, though uncomfortable at times, seems to parallel the difficult explorations that we must all endure, nay embrace, if we aim to continue the personal journey towards cultural competence....This video generated tremendous in-depth discussion and self-reflection by our group"

-- Len Jennings, PhD & Consuelo Cavalieri, PhD, reviewed in American Psychological Association PsycCritiques
In Depth
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It’s not enough to bring an empathic stance to multicultural clients, argues Dr. Derald Wing Sue in this brand-new video interview. The seasoned researcher, clinician, and author of Counseling the Culturally Diverse—the groundbreaking text that, more than three decades after its release, remains the most frequently cited and widely used resource on cross-cultural counseling—maintains that when it comes to working with minority clients, taking a frank, unbiased look at our own place within our culture is crucial for attracting clients of a differing culture to your office, establishing a trusting working alliance, and meeting their ongoing therapeutic needs.

Sue breaks down several of his well-known concepts here, illustrating ideas such as white privilege and its invisibility in traditional clinical theory; the three levels of identification that white therapists tend to miss with minority clients, leading them to feel dismissed and potentially pathologized; and the cumulative microaggresions that plague members of cultural minorities on a daily basis. He also describes why talking about race can be challenging in the consulting room.

In addition to these frameworks, you’ll watch Sue discuss ways to counter this cultural conditioning during clinical training, including his first-of-its-kind program that weaves cross-cultural immersion into multiple aspects of the educational process.

Whether you’re looking to deepen your cultural competence, wanting to learn more about the origin of multicultural counseling theories, or are searching for practical applications for your work with clients, you’ll find plenty to chew on in this riveting interview with a pioneer in our field.
By watching this video, you will:
  • Deepen your understanding of white privilege, microagressions, and other important cross-cultural counseling concepts.
  • Consider how your own cultural background may be impacting your approach to clinical work.
  • Learn tools for developing multicultural competence with diverse client populations.

Length of video: 01:24:00

Number of Discs: 1

English subtitles available on: Stream, DVD

This DVD plays in All Regions

Individual ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-386-3

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-387-1

Derald Wing Sue is Professor of Psychology and Education in the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Teachers College and the School of Social Work, Columbia University. He received his PhD from the University of Oregon, and has served as a training faculty member with the Institute for Management Studies and the Columbia University Executive Training Programs. He was the Co-Founder and first President of the Asian American Psychological Association and author of several books, including Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice, Overcoming our Racism, and Understanding Abnormal Behavior.

CE credits: 1.5

Learning Objectives:

  • Deepen your understanding of white privilege, microagressions, and other important cross-cultural counseling concepts.
  • Consider how your own cultural background may be impacting your approach to clinical work.
  • Learn tools for developing multicultural competence with diverse client populations.
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