In 2001, Ponterotto and colleagues described how counseling has a reputation among many minorities as protecting the status quo of the dominant culture by requiring minority clients to fit the dominant culture system even when that system is acknowledged to be unjust.In 1999, Sue and Sue described how these attitudes have resulted in documented examples of scientific racism.
Counseling is a product of Western cultures whose values have continued to dominate the counseling profession through the imposition of cultural assumptions as counseling services have spread to other cultures, demonstrating the generic centrality of culture to achieve competence in the counseling process.
Because all behaviors are learned and displayed in a cultural context, accurate assessment, meaningful understanding, and appropriate intervention require consideration of the cultural context when providing counseling services.
When counselors have assumed the same interpretation of similar behaviors regardless of the cultural context, cultural bias has been the consequence.
The influence of cultural bias has led to the encapsulation of counselors by dominant culture perspectives regardless of the cultural context.
The encapsulation of counselors is most evident in the way in which counselors are trained and educated.
The training of counselors has been characterized by conventional assumptions that reflect the values and priorities of the Euro-American cultural context.
In 1962, Wrenn first introduced the concept of cultural encapsulation.
This perspective assumes five basic identifying features.
First, anthropological and cross-cultural research has demonstrated that cultural beliefs influence the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
Second, the diagnosis of mental illness differs across cultures.