Using a pluralistic approach in counselling psychology and psychotherapy practice with diverse clients: Explorations into cultural and religious responsiveness within a Western paradigm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Katarzyna Wilk


Content & Focus: As globalisation trends bring increased client diversity into Western nations, the meeting of culturally diverse clients and therapists has not always been particularly favourable or culturally responsive in Western contexts. This paper explores the pluralistic framework put forth by Cooper and McLeod (2011) from a critical evaluation of its effectiveness with culturally diverse clients. I first examine the role of pluralism in comparison to evidence-based therapies and the ongoing debate around treatment efficacy in Western institutions of mental health, while highlighting the shortcomings of biased participant sampling in empirically supported therapy research studies. I then explore the theoretical underpinnings of pluralism in relation to other integrative approaches and its’ strong ties to humanistic values in counselling psychology as well as the challenges to its multicultural theory. I finally explore how pluralism can potentially overcome these challenges by focusing on the core foundation of pluralistic practice and theory – the therapeutic relationship. Conclusion: The paper concludes by suggesting how pluralism can build on its strengths in order to meet the challenges of working with diverse client epistemologies which include therapists’ need to examine their own cultural biases, provision of intercultural training within pluralistic education programmes, and development of an empirical evidence base linking pluralistic practice with diverse client therapy outcomes.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-28
Number of pages12
JournalCounselling Psychology Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014