Student perspectives: Graduate education facilitation of multicultural counseling and social justice competency

Sandra Collins, Nancy Arthur, Candace Brown, Barbara Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The Critical Incident Technique (CIT) was used to gather information from master's level counseling students regarding their perceived preparedness to engage in multicultural counseling and social justice practice. Thirty-two participants provided critical incidents and responded to a series of prompts in an online survey to document the helpful and hindering aspects of their graduate education. The data analysis paralleled the Enhanced CIT three-stage inductive process for analyzing thematic content. The participants' critical incident statements were fragmented into simpler text segments representing distinct, nonoverlapping themes. More than 800 items were coded into 51 specific themes, 13 broad categories, 3 organizing domains, and 3 critical incident categories. These critical incident categories were (a) single graduate course, (b) practicum/practicum supervisor, and (b) specific learning activities. The three organizing domains described the outcomes of the participant experiences: (a) competencies facilitated, (b) barriers encountered, and (c) gaps identified. Most of the data reflected the competencies facilitated domain, indicating that students reported their multicultural and/or social justice education was generally positive, although certain barriers and gaps were identified. The data also showed that the participants' education primarily resulted from a single course design and an emphasis on awareness and knowledge of culture; however, attainment of multicultural counseling skills and attention to social justice tenets and advocacy were reported as lacking or absent from their education. Implications for counselor education are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-160
Number of pages8
JournalTraining and Education in Professional Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • Competency
  • Counselor education
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Social justice


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