An Investigation of the Relationship Between Self-reported Multicultural Counseling Competence and Middle School Counselors' Efforts to Broach Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Factors with Students

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Virginia Tech


Despite several decades of theoretical support and empirical validation concerning Multicultural Counseling Competence (MCC), the mental health field has been criticized for a lack of measurable constructs that embody multicultural counseling skills (Sanchez-Hucles & Jones, 2005; Weinrach & Thomas, 1998). In an effort to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of observable multicultural counseling interventions, web-based survey research was used to examine the relationship between the counselor’s broaching behavior and multicultural counseling competence in a sample of middle school counselors. Broaching has been conceptualized as a measurable multicultural counseling skill and refers to a counselor’s effort to initiate and process discussions of race, ethnicity, and culture in the counseling relationship (Day-Vines, et al., 2007).

Results revealed a statistically significant relationship between broaching and multicultural counseling competence. Most notably, advanced attitudes toward broaching as conceptualized in the broaching construct are predictive of multicultural counseling competence. Additionally, the relationship between broaching skills and MCC seems to indicate that even rudimentary attempts at broaching may also be predictive of multicultural counseling competence. Equally as important, the study supported the conclusion that avoiding discussions of race, ethnicity, and culture has a negative impact on the counseling relationship. Results need to be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size (N = 65) and the continued validation of the Broaching Attitudes and Behavior Scale.



Middle School Counselors, Broaching Race, Ethnicity, Culture,, Continuum of Broaching Behaviors, Multicultural Counseling Competence