Systems and Multi-Cultural Approaches Essay

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The systems theory of psychology uses multifaceted systems to discover behavioral pattern and the human experience. “The technique relies on identifying specific behavior patterns and how each member responds to anxiety within the dynamic. By doing this, the individual participants can begin to understand and transform their patterns to more adaptive, productive behaviors” (, 2014 p. 1).

Multicultural Approaches Definition

The Multicultural Approach to psychology is a “systematic study of all aspects of human behavior as it occurs in settings where people of different cultural backgrounds encounter each other” (Fhagen-Smith, 2014).


The Approach – Although Juan is an elderly gentleman, he still has a desire to be an active member in his community by wanting to help at the local community center. With the recent loss of his wife and his children living far from him, he is very lonely. This loneliness and the inability to find work, was probably the leading causes behind the solicitation charges. He mentions that he is afraid that these charges will make people react negatively toward him because of his age. The approach I would use for Juan is the Gonzalez, Biever, and Gardner’s Social Constructionist Approach.

Why use this approach – I would use this approach for Juan because I would need to learn how his culture shapes his behavior and choices that he makes. For example why would he be more concerned about what people will think about his age then the actual solicitation charges? Having Juan discuss this will allow us to see how he views the situation. I also would use this approach because Juan has the capabilities for us to come up with viable options and attainable goals in order to solve the issues that are currently plaguing him. Juan has significant skills with interacting with people of many races due to his landscaping and design projects for several cities.


The Approach – David is a young man who has been quite successful as a personal trainer at a local gym. He recently ended a relationship with a man he met at work but is being emotionally blackmailed to stay in this relationship. His partner Jason has threatened to tell other people that David is gay. David worries that co-workers will look unlikely towards him if they were to find out that he is a homosexual. His other worry is a warrant for possession with intent to distribute narcotics and if he has to service jail time how other inmates would treat him if his homosexuality was found out. I believe that the best course of action for David would be Gay Affirmative Psychotherapy.

Why use this approach – With this client I would use Gay Affirmative Psychotherapy. This therapy focuses on empowering the client to embrace their homosexuality and overcoming the stigma of being gay. Through this therapy we will discuss how to “cope with prejudice, discrimination, and violence in both their families and within the general society” (Jones-Smith, 2012, p. 387). In regards to the possible treatment while in jail, we would get in touch with the correctional multicultural therapist to see how David can acclimate to prison life and still be true to his identity without fear of retaliation from other prisoners.


The Approach – Layla is a middle aged female of the Muslim faith. She will be serving 30 days in jail for theft and is worried about discrimination that she might face in jail due to her religion. She also has some concern over maintaining her strict dietary needs and daily prayer needs while incarcerated. In order to understand her Muslim faith and her specific diet and prayer needs based on her religion the best approach to use would be the culturally competent approach.

Why use this approach – This approach allows for the therapist “understand the context and culture in which these behaviors occur. Culture competence does not mean unconditional positive regard or acceptance of all behaviors. Rather, it requires openness to understanding the complexity of the behavior and an appreciation of the role culture plays in shaping and reinforcing human behavior” (Jones-Smith, 2012, p. 140).


The Approach – Jasmine is a female who has had quite a history of both physical and mental abuse by an older man while growing up. She currently incarcerated. She suffers from flashbacks when men touch her but seems to feel more comfortable around female corrections officers. She will accept male corrections officer approaching only if they explain the circumstances of the approach. Jasmine more than likely is suffering from PTSD and possibly borderline personality disorder. Why use this approach – Jasmine would best be served by utilizing the Esuba approach which is “psychoeducational therapy group that provides an emotionally and physically safe environment, remembrance and mourning for past experiences, and finally reconnection or movement toward the future” (Jones-Smith, 2012, p. 223). Being in a group therapy environment also allows Jasmine to interact with other incarcerated victims as a form of social support.

Value of systems and Multicultural theories

The value of System and Multicultural theories is to give the therapist a more rounded approach to how they deal with their clients. In the past therapists were taught to evaluate their clients in ethnocentric style, meaning that these therapists were not relating to other cultures besides their own. “Multiculturalism is not just remembering to be beneficent for the client, but a plan of action that employs the knowledge of people, culture, history, and context to effect the way theories are used, diagnoses are done, and treatment plans are made” (Liu, 2011). Systems therapy attempts to help the client strive for positive, secure relationships through carefully constructed dialogue, in order to improve their well-being and social relationships.

Fhagen-Smith, P. (2014). Psychology 251. Multicultural Psychology – Courses of Instruction | Wheaton College. Retrieved from (2014, May 2). Systems Theory / Therapy. Retrieved November 12, 2014, from Jones-Smith, E. (2012). Feminist Therapy and Lesbian and Gay Therapy. In Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: An integrative approach (p. 387). Liu, W. M. (2011). Multicultural Competency: How Are We Different? Let Us Count the Ways by William M. Liu, Ph.D. Retrieved November 18, 2014, from

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