As we move along the culturally responsive continuum, we need to call into question our understanding of culture and its manifes- tations therapeutically. Whaley and Davis enhanced our understanding of culture as they indicated that culture influences the therapeutic process more than the therapeutic outcome. Addi- tionally, the manifestation of culture in psychology has been primarily limited to discussions of race and ethnicity only. In other words, when we equate or make synonymous culture with race and ethnicity only, we have once again limited our capacity to respond in culturally appropriate ways therapeutically. Culture is more than race and ethnicity and should include identities such as religion and spirituality, gen- der, sexual orientation, class, and disability, to name a few. Future discourse on multiculturalism will continue to expand our definition of culture to include the multiple dimensions of analysis that contain the various contexts and aspects of our client’s lives. In addition, culture is dynamic and changing, not static. Culture changes as the condition of the people change and as their interactions with the larger society change. In essence, political and religious turmoil, economic depression, and environmental changes all impact the manifes- tation of culture. As these societal changes impact our client’s culture, we as practitioners are also changed and impacted culturally by these very same social changes and interactions. Ultimately, this deepens the complexity as we strive for a life-long process of being culturally responsive practitioners, not only in theory but also in practice.
As we expand this lens, the complexity of therapeutic encoun- ters between psychotherapist and client will also change. However, with this complexity comes opportunity. As the fourth force in psychology, multiculturalism has had many ad- vocates. For years, supporters of multiculturalism have discussed the importance of expanding our roles beyond the therapy room and expanding the limitations set forth by the profession. Today more than ever, psychology has begun to embrace the importance of extending psychology into the community. Extending psychology into the community can be understood as simply getting out and getting connected to those whom we intend to serve. As practitioners we are already moving in this direction, in theory, but our translation and application from theory to prac- tice continue to reflect a more restricted or limited lens as provid- ers. In keeping with this trend, practitioners will also need to be mindful of how we continue to synthesize our ethical guidelines and foundation, with a more expanded practice regime. In con- tinuing to make these changes, it implies that as individual prac- titioners we are faced with shifting our current therapeutic paradigm.