The melting pot and multiculturalism are the two most important ideological concepts that impact how people understand and experience diversity.
The melting pot refers to the idea that people of diverse cultural origins in the United States integrate to have a single shared national identity. This view of variety assumes that individual variations may be harmoniously merged into a single unified social product. In this viewpoint, differences between people are seen to aid in attaining a common objective. One critique levelled at the melting pot approach is the implied anticipation that ethnic minorities as well as others, abandon their original cultural norms and values in order to adapt to mainstream US society. Furthermore, it is assumed that those who seek to lose their cultural qualities and integrate into dominant US culture would be welcomed as majority members. Many people have observed that groups with physical disparities from the majority have a difficult time fitting into the dominant culture. For example, it is not uncommon for Asian Americans to be questioned about where they are from after being born in the United States. Furthermore, those with deep ethnic and cultural identities may view integration as something to be avoided at all costs. Individuals who respect their cultural history and legacy are strongly opposed to the idea of abandoning or discarding cultural norms, habits, and identity.
The concept of multiculturalism is the belief that societal differences should be recognized, cherished, fostered, and protected. In the frame of multiculturalism, diversity is cherished and viewed as a good asset. Given the emphasis on cultural variety, one of the fallacies regarding multi-culturalism is that this is inherently contentious. Unlike the melting pot concept, the purpose of multiculturalism is to preserve and capitalize on social distinctions rather than to mix cultural differences. According to research, multiculturalism may enable accomplish unifying superordinate values like democratization, liberty, and justice by encouraging open debate and promoting communication between people from diverse origins.
Psychologists specialising in counselling have been among the earliest to explore multicultural concerns. The demographic changes in the United States acted as a wake-up call for counselling psychologists to learn culturally relevant techniques for working with varied groups. Because of the multicultural trend in counselling psychology, professionals began to highlight the need to develop cultural knowledge and intercultural competence. Some counselling psychologists argue that cultural knowledge or acknowledgement is not the desired end aim since it does not lead to beneficial outcomes in treatment or society. Instead, they contend that reciprocal development across all sides is required to accomplish multiculturalism's fundamental aims. One component required for mutual enrichment is recognising power differences via open and honest discourse about equality and access in society.
Some counselling psychologists think that if a therapist wants to improve his or her cultural competency, certain components must be present. To begin, therapists must recognize their inherent advantage along with the prejudices that may exist in a specific social environment. Second, therapists who strive for cultural competency respect input from others, listen intently and try hard to decrease their own prejudicial views. Ultimately, a multiculturally capable therapist strives to become more conscious of his or her own prejudices and preconceptions, learn about the cultural environment in which clients are immersed, and become skilled at promoting positive change.
Similarly to the dispute over the conceptions of diversification, there has been discussion within the area of counselling psychology over accepted definitions of multiculturalism. Some say that multiculturalism should be broadly defined to incorporate distinctions based on colour, ethnicity, sexuality, sexual preference, disability, and socioeconomic position, among other aspects of social diversity. Others argue that concepts should be more constrained and concentrated. Proponents of the more concentrated approach argue that broad ideas of multiculturalism encourage individuals to accept all differences equally, obscuring the deeper level of concerns of ethnicity, nationality, and gender.
Individuals from dominating entities (e.g., Whites) may accept every individual difference equally by embracing a wide definition of multiculturalism, neglecting difficulties relating to their participation in mistreating women and minorities. Individuals can go further and investigate the values, ideas, and customs of different cultural groups and their involvement in prejudice and discrimination by adopting a more oriented multicultural definition.