The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least 450 million people worldwide live with unmet mental health problems. Additionally, one in four people will experience psychological distress and meet criteria for a diagnosable mental health disorder at some point in their lives. This data speaks to the need for accessible, effective and equitable global mental health care. Available mental health resources are inequitably distributed, with low- to middle-income countries showing significantly fewer mental health human resources than high-income countries. The need to proactively address this care-need gap has been identified by WHO and various national organizations, including NBCC International (NBCC-I). NBCC-I’s Mental Health Facilitator (MHF) program addresses the global need for community-based mental health training that can be adapted to reflect the social, cultural, economic and political climate of any population, nation or region.
As the counseling profession continues to build an international community, the need to examine cultural competence training also increases. This quantitative study examined the impact of the Diversity and Counseling Institute in Ireland (DCII) on participants’ multicultural counseling competencies. Two instruments were utilized to examine participants’ cross-cultural competence before and after the study abroad institute. Results indicated that after the institute experience, participants perceived themselves to be more culturally competent, knowledgeable about the Irish culture, skilled in working with clients from Ireland, and aware of cultural similarities and differences. Implications for counselor education and supervision, and future research also are outlined.
Increases in diverse clientele have caused counselor education to enhance its focus on multicultural pedagogy, using the Tripartite Model (TM) to impart multicultural learning. While knowledge and awareness are important, it also is important to enhance skill development in counselors-in-training. Counselor educators have a unique opportunity to blend knowledge and awareness with skills learned in counseling techniques courses by incorporating microskills training in the multicultural classroom. Additionally, other theories, such as Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT), can be used as a framework to merge the TM and microskills. This article includes an overview of RCT, a brief history on microskills training and a case study to integrate the two concepts for use in counselor training. The reader should begin to see how microskills, RCT and the TM can serve to enhance skill development in the multicultural classroom.