Ethnic Pluralism

In some respects, this new emphasis on ethnic pluralism has helped re- searchers focus on culture-specific models in a multicultural context. African psychology has been the forerunner of an ethnic and cultural awareness in psychology that has worked its way into the literature on child development, self-image, family dynamics, education, communication patterns, counseling and psychotherapy, and mental health delivery systems. The blossoming of African- centered psychology has been followed by the assertion on the part of Asian American psychologists that sociocultural differences in the experiential field must be considered as legitimate correlates of behavior. The development of an ethnic dimension in psychology suggested that other non-White Americans wanted to take the lead in defining themselves rather than continuing the process of being defined by the deficit-deficiency models of the majority culture. The evolution of the ethnic and cultural perspective enlarged

African-Centered Psychology in the Modern Era 21

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the scope of psychology. It served as a corrective step that reduced psychol- ogy’s reliance on obsolete and inaccurate stereotypes in defining culturally dis- tinct people. This movement has now exploded onto the field of counseling psychology as more and more professionals recognize, as Sue, Ivey, and Pederson so rightly acknowledge, that traditional theories of counseling and psychotherapy inadequately describe, explain, predict, and deal with the richness of a culturally diverse population. Their admonition is echoed by a host of new and exciting research and scholarship that speaks to the necessity of culturally specific and culturally diverse theories, assessments, and therapeu- tic practices in the areas of Latino(a) psychology, Asian psychology, traditional healing practices and even disability studies