More than ever, we have to acknowledge that our lives are interconnected in this global village and that what happens to a small number of people in one tiny corner might affect the well-being of others. Isolation, ethnocentrism, and cultural encapsulation are not solutions to the problems confronting our global village now and into the future. (S. Leung, 2003, p. 418)
If you are a prospect or current professional counselor, a person who enjoys testing challenges and equally enjoys intrinsic growth, development, and the numerous other benefits of helping people, the international vistas for professional counseling are boundless and beckoning. (P. Leung & Emener, 1999, p. 152)
In this article we seek to address USA counseling professionals who are interested in exploring international vistas. To this end, we review the very definition of counseling, highlighting its valuational and, therefore, cultural nature. We then frame international interests as a logical evolution and expansion of the ongoing, socially responsible, ethical commitment to cultural competence. We offer a brief critique of globalization and internationalization while situating counseling in the broad context of what has been termed the "global village." Then we discuss the personal, training, and professional dimensions involved in internationalizing counseling. Furthermore, we identify and describe counseling and psychological organizations engaged in international endeavors. We conclude by offering brief narratives of our personal and professional experiences in international relations.
PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING AND CULTURAL COMPETENCE
In 1997 the Governing Council of the American Counseling Association (ACA) adopted the following definition of the practice of professional counseling:
The application of mental health, psychological, or human development principles, through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systematic intervention strategies, that address wellness, personal growth, or career development, as well as pathology.
This definition is based on scientific and professional knowledge and also on a set of values born out of a cultural context that gives meaning to the pursuit of such knowledge. Furthermore, the definition implies a sociopolitical structure that supports the professional practice of counseling. These acknowledgements are of utmost importance prior to counseling "going overseas."
The constructs of wellness, personal growth, development, and pathology named in the above definition are indeed valuational constructs. As such, counseling no longer is seen as value-neutral but, instead, as a value-informed profession. The values embraced by counseling reflect, more or less, the community of professionals practicing it and the cultural contexts in which their practices are embedded.
Similarly, considering that culture has been described as affecting the way people think, feel, and behave (precisely the domains of the intervention strategies in the counseling definition above), counseling is, ultimately, a culture-bound profession (Arredondo, 1999). And to the extent that a culturebound profession is born out of a cultural context that produces it and also promotes and affirms it, counseling cannot be "exported" without being "imposed upon" a host nation. Such a supremacist approach is inappropriate and misguided, generating resentment and backlash in the long run.
Counseling practice may reflect, isomorphically, the values endorsed by its cultural contexts, as counseling can be, at times, an instrument for social adjustment, conformity, and even oppression. At other times it may not reflect entirely the values endorsed by the majority in a nation, as counseling also can be an instrument for emancipation and liberation, perhaps best expressed contemporarily by elements of the advocacy and social justice movement within the profession (Toporek, Gerstein, Fouad, Roysircar, & Israel, 2006). Therefore, all counseling, national, crossnational, or international, must contend with the particulars of given societies or nations without becoming exclusively arms of a state or group of states, or unwitting uniformists (Varenne, 2003).
Recently the counseling profession in the USA has been working diligently to acknowledge the cultural diversity of its (potential) consumers, the cross-cultural nature of all counseling encounters, and the necessity for cultural competencies among its practitioners. The three domains on which to base cultural competencies have been identified as awareness, knowledge, and skills. Briefly described, counselors are expected to embrace a lifelong commitment to become aware of their cultural heritage and privilege; be knowledgeable about discrimination, oppression, and racism; and be skillful at understanding themselves as cultural beings. Similarly, counselors are expected to become aware of their clients' worldviews, be knowledgeable about their clients' cultural heritage and the role that sociopolitical processes have in their clients' lives, and acquire the necessary knowledge through experiences that transcend their professional role.
Last, counselors as professionals are expected to be aware of the values, beliefs, and even biases informing their strategies, interventions, and techniques; be knowledgeable of counseling's own characteristics that may or may not facilitate clients' adherence to treatment, as well as social and community barriers that may generate distress or impede treatment access; and be culturally skillful verbally and nonverbally, individually and institutionally (Arredondo et al., 1996; Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992).
This range of domains in cultural competencies is relevant for counselors who are considering international engagements. International engagements represent a logical continuity of the cultural competency movement, and they are destined to transform the very movement of cultural competence by moving it farther away from rhetoric and into international action. As Paulo Freire (1993) reflected toward the end of his life while reassessing his classic Pedagogy of the Oppressed, an overemphasis on awareness may generate complacency and take away from specific transformative actions needed in the national as well as international arenas.
Without a doubt, attaining cultural competency is a tall order that requires lifelong commitment at the individual level, relevant research at the academic level, active engagement at the professional level, and sustained advocacy at the organizational level. And now, practitioners in the health care field have introduced the concept of cultural humility as an equally important dimension that modulates what might be perceived or experienced as unreasonable demands of the almost omniscient cultural knowledge and that frames cultural competence as a lifelong endeavor (Tervalon & Murray-Garcia, 1998). Cultural humility is crucial when engaging internationally even--or perhaps precisely--when we are invited to such encounters through recognized professional expertise.
The call for cultural competence has been propelled by professional forces and also by demographic forces. Presently, one third of the population in the USA consists of racial or ethnic minorities, and it is estimated that by the year 2100, non-Hispanic whites will constitute only 40% of the population. Furthermore, it is estimated that more than 12% of the USA population is foreign born, because of the large-scale immigration of the last four decades, primarily from Latin America and Asia. Bojuwoye stated that
elements of a culture which define the identity and purpose of the people of that culture (including behaviors, beliefs, values, expectations, philosophies, institutions, etc.) do not just disappear when people migrate to other environments of different cultures. (2001, p. 33)
Therefore, counselors seeking to become linguistically and culturally proficient to work with immigrants will find it particularly helpful to travel to the countries of origin of the immigrants they aspire to serve.
The rapid racial and ethnic diversification of the USA population presents significant challenges in realizing equal access to and utilization of counseling services. Perhaps the two most significant dimensions to bring about this equal access and utilization involve (1) the racial--ethnic diversification and multilingualism of the counseling workforce mirroring the population that counseling professionals intend to serve, and (2) the increase in the cultural relevance of the counseling services the profession has to offer.
One concrete example of engaging in such undertakings consists of the assistance centers for international health workers in the USA (e.g., www.e-welcomeback.org). Another example is the 2-week intensive training program to improve the language and cultural proficiencies of mental health providers who serve Spanish-speaking clients and their families offered between 2002 and 2005 by the Department of Psychology at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas.
The concepts mentioned thus far--values, culture, competence, humility, demographic diversification, and service delivery--affirm the advantage and necessity of internationalizing counseling. Values and culture can be elusive constructs. As Segall and colleagues observed, "[I]t is a cinch that fish didn't discover water" (Segall, Lonner, & Berry, 1998, attributed to Marshall McLuhan). Culture as the milieu we in which swim and that allows us to breathe and exist is difficult to appreciate while we are immersed in it.
When we come into contact with the plurality of cultures within a nation or those in other nations, we begin to appreciate that which we have taken for granted or ignored.
As national societies become increasingly diverse and international contacts become common, psychologists can no longer assume an acultural or a unicultural stance. (Segall, Lonner, & Berry, 1998, p. 1101)
International encounters and relations can make us painfully aware of our very own ethnocentrisms, cultural and professional encapsulations, privilege, and prejudices. International relations are humbling indeed. They can go a long way in facilitating cultural competence in our local arena and in addressing contemporary matters that transcend national boundaries.
In the current "global village," all international efforts must contend with the universals and the particulars of human strengths and shortcomings and the formal, non-formal, and informal ways of nurturing the former and redressing the latter. Professional counseling is a formal way of going about this, yet it is only one way in the diverse world of healing practices (Bojuwoye, 2001; S. Leung, 2003). A vast range of matters transcends national borders and requires a collective, international effort. Counseling can address many of these matters and, ultimately, must address them as a socially responsible profession in contemporary societies. Heppner (1997) indicated that
counseling psychology can play an important role in building a global village that helps people improve their well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, resolve crises, modify maladaptive environments, and increase their ability to live more highly functioning lives. (p. 7)
We include, among the following examples, international matters that are born out of deficits and shortcomings and also out of strengths and opportunities. At the population level, the migration within and between countries; the acculturative processes and concomitant acculturative stress resulting in integration, assimilation, separation, or marginalization; the intracultural and intercultural relations marked by pluralism or by discrimination, oppression, and racism; the massive urbanization and population growth--all are phenomena to which counseling has much to offer and that also impact counseling work.
Similarly, ethnic and religious dialogues and conflicts, (state) terrorism and (civil) war, peace and human rights, political opportunities and persecution, natural and human made catastrophes, poverty, hunger, and fair distribution of resources--these (or their consequences) are matters that the counseling profession can and must address. Counseling is particularly useful to foster and affirm healthy lifestyles, address disabilities, prevent communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and help those living with chronic diseases.
Furthermore, counseling is well suited to prevent or intervene with delinquent gangs, to foster intimacy and relationships and redress domestic violence, to facilitate schooling and redress bullying and its consequences. Finally, the counseling profession is called upon to foster personal and family development and career aspirations while coping with the challenges of social insecurity, employment instability, sub employment, and unemployment. Readers will recognize in this range of examples a familiar, domestic ring, yet these are but a few of the challenges and opportunities that await those who are interested in international relations.
The commonalities of the challenges and opportunities make joint international efforts a must. These efforts afford the possibility of comparing and contrasting what has worked and why in a multitude of locales around the globe, and they can also generate sufficient global power to redress the most difficult issues that transcend any given nation.
GLOBALIZATION AND INTERNATIONALIZATION
We posit that globalization, as understood here, is not in the best of interest of the counseling profession, nor is internationalization if it is orchestrated around the "exportation" of counseling. Instead, we propose internationalizing efforts characterized by cooperation, solidarity, mutuality, equality, and openness to be transformed by the encounter.
The USA society and most world societies have seen their realities-as-usual transformed by the ever-increasing, rapid dissemination of information. Events and the news they generate travel quickly from domestic locales to international arenas. In addition, the massive migratory processes of the 20th century have diversified the population of most countries, facilitating the further exchange of information. This information exchange and migratory processes have brought cultures into even closer proximity and contact. The expression that "the world has shrunk" indeed characterizes many people's felt experience. Nevertheless, human development and social advancement seem to lag behind the rapid acceleration in means of transportation and communication.
Meanwhile, a noticeable economic phenomenon has taken place and evolved into what is being called "the world market" and the globalization of the world economy. This development has brought about a dramatic increase in economic and financial interdependence among many nations. But even some of its most ardent proponents have begun to acknowledge the downsides of globalization as presently conducted: "lost jobs, disrupted livelihoods, and wrenching change" (U.S. Federal Reserve Chairperson Ben Bernanke as quoted by Andrews, 2006).
Further, globalization is not limited to economic effects. Globalization is being expressed in significant trends toward cultural homogenization, worldwide uniformity, and global assimilation (Bochner, 1999). And only recently have scholars begun to articulate the psychological consequences of globalization, framed positively as bicultural identity (local and global identity) and negatively as identity confusion, particularly among young people (Arnett, 2002). To the extent that globalization has been associated with the free market initiatives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and with consumerism, entertainment, and individualism, it has been perceived as the source of dismantling local social networks and has generated much resistance and rejection in many of the nations it impacts. Globalization has been associated with cultural disenfranchisement, political and economic instability, and a widening gap between rich and poor.
With respect to the internationalization of counseling, several scholars have raised significant concerns with the rush toward it. This is particularly the case when internationalizing efforts are construed as "exporting" the knowledge and practices acquired by USA professionals that are ultimately and perhaps inevitably--at least initially---ethnocentric and idiosyncratic to their history and organizational power structures (Pedersen, 2003). These efforts can be easily (and appropriately, from our perspective) likened to neocolonialism, in which, once again, a dominant nation brings the so-called Truth to the people of another nation, apparently for the recipients' benefit but ultimately for the perpetuation of its own dominant status and the subjugation of the other nation.
The perspective we seek to advance here on internationalizing counseling is one that presents internationalizing efforts as, at the very least, appropriately respectful of the sovereignty of professionals and their nations and, most important, an internationalization characterized by partnerships constructed in cooperation and solidarity that transcend the dichotomy of teaching/leading and learning/following. Ultimately, all nations, including the USA, ought to develop "a culture-centered ethical statement or country-oriented professional identity that would be sensitive and relevant to its members and target clientele group" (Harper & Deen, 2003, p. 159). And having done so, efforts can be focused on specifying universal or etic and particular or emic dimensions of such statements, similar to the current attempts by the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) to develop a Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists.
To accomplish this, equality in international partnerships must be addressed forthrightly. As S. Leung (2003) put it, "Collaboration should be structured as between equal partners, not from a perspective that certain paradigms or models are superior or inferior" (p. 412). Although it would be silly and wasteful to ignore the sophistication achieved by professional counseling in the USA, this sophistication should not be equated with superiority. The dichotomy of "either throwing out American psychology or imposing it universally" is not the answer (Pedersen, 2003, p. 397).
As Harper and Deen (2003) have acknowledged, "the United States has been a source of information, consultation, and inspiration for the development of counselor training, counseling services, and counseling associations in Europe" and beyond (p. 148). Nevertheless, it would be preposterous to approach an international partnership from the point of view that we know best (as in knowing what is best for ourselves and also for our international partners) while the other does not. Ultimately, as Leong and Ponterotto (2003) remind us, "U.S. psychology is really an indigenous psychology." Therefore, all international collaborations are between indigenous psychologies, making them equally significant.
We believe that international partnerships have a chance at succeeding when people frame their encounter as one of mutual benefit, in which both participants bring to the table a tolerant and respectful attitude and, most important, an openness to be transformed by the encounter. Perhaps Ernesto Guevara de la Serna said it best in The Motorcycle Diaries, when he voiced to Alberto Granado, his fellow traveling partner, before they parted ways after an international odyssey that had taken them through several South American countries: "I am no longer the same."
This opportunity to be changed by international encounters is precisely what makes internationalization worth all the effort. It requires a profound, yet humbling, recognition that even under expert arrangements, experts themselves are at their best when they are capable of building mutuality. We fully recognize the value-driven nature of these affirmations and posit that all international efforts are, inescapably, value-driven, just like all human services.
COUNSELING AND INTERNATIONALIZATION
Anthropologists, among many other scholars, are now mostly sure that there will always be several "cultures" to any state, that cultures cross boundaries, and that even the most "homogenous" of populations contain significant differences that are obscured by attempts to maintain this homogeneity. (Varenne, 2003, p. 410)
Takooshian (2003) described a "diversity within diversities" by distinguishing multicultural from cross-cultural and international. According to Takooshian, multicultural refers to the diversity within one nation; cross-cultural refers to diversity across nations; and international refers to diversity among nations. The present globalization and internationalization forces demand that these definitions be understood in their continuity rather than as discrete clusters of certain type of exchanges. Varenne (2003) eloquently warned us that
"international" could prove dangerous if it leads to the reification of the "nations" and the "cultures" that they appear to embody .... It is not different nations that come first, and the intercourse between them that follows, but rather the contrary: Differences arise out of intercourse. (p. 409-410)
Several scholars have written about the history of the internationalization of counseling and the key professionals who have facilitated the profession's international advancement. They include Andres Bodas, O. Bojuwoye, Nathan Deen, Jean Guichard, Hans Hoxter, Lothar Martin, Peter Plant, Pierre Tap, Agnes Watanabe-Muraoka, and Anthony Watts, among many others (see Harper & Deen, 2003; Herr, 2003; Ivey, 2003; P. Leung & Emener, 1999). By most accounts, counseling has been described as a young discipline. And though significant, even simultaneous, early developments of the discipline took place in Europe and the USA during the first half of the 1900s, these developments had mostly a school counseling and vocational orientation.
The second half of the 1900s saw a marked development of the counseling profession in the USA but not so much in Europe. During this time, counseling in the USA expanded into a wide range of counseling domains and the counseling field became further professionalized via formal associations, licensure, accreditation, ethical codes, and recognized specializations.
Counseling developments in other parts of the world have been more limited, subsumed under a range of disciplines, most significantly psychology and education. The instrumentation of counselor training, professional development, and research in Latin America as conceived in the USA is relatively recent. Through international collaboration, counseling programs have been developed in Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela. Nonetheless, there is not yet a consensus as to whether counseling is being articulated as guidance, orientation, or counseling per se outside the USA. And, to the chagrin of many counseling professionals, the word counseling itself is not broadly known in many parts of the world and has no translation in some languages. For example, in Spanish, the word counseling (consejeria) does not have an easy, readily available translation that conveys the breadth and depth of the profession; this forces Spanish speakers to add qualifiers such as professional counseling (consejeria profesional) or psychological counseling (consejeria psicologica).
The internationalizing efforts in counseling have brought increased appreciation that "although concepts may differ, principles and explanations may not" (Bojuwoye, 2001, p. 31). As Frank (1961) initially articulated several decades ago, healing practices throughout the world, while diverse, also have much in common. Internationalizing efforts can advance counseling and foster human development by facilitating collective, disciplinary understanding, integration, and synergy while affirming universals and particulars, commonalities and differences in the myriad of healing practices around the globe.
International relations can be challenging. As others have observed already (e.g., Bochner, 1999; S. Leung, 2003; Lykes, 1993), most international contacts are too brief and superficial to make a difference with the parties involved. International contacts of importance require intensity and continuity over time to yield a measurable impact. Furthermore, such contacts demand of visitors a sustained willingness to transcend their comfort zones. For example, people who venture overseas tend to band together with compatriots while continuing to speak their home language. This "coping strategy" may temporarily relieve the stress and anxiety associated with the challenges of the international encounter but ultimately prevents visitors from engaging meaningfully with the host country, its people, and their cultures.
COUNSELING DIMENSIONS AND INTERNATIONALIZATION
The four dimensions discussed next illustrate a few aspects of what is required to internationalize counseling and the value of this undertaking. These four dimensions involve personal, educational, professional, and organizational aspects of counseling and the counseling professional.
The Person of the Counselor
As most counselor educators readily acknowledge, the person of the counselor is his or her professional instrument; therefore, we must fine-tune it to provide better services. How do we fine-tune ourselves to engage in and grow from international endeavors? Among the relevant matters when preparing for and building international relations are cultural self-awareness, closely related motivational factors, and, in the most challenging of circumstances, second language proficiency.
The first direct exposure to international matters for many of us has come from encounters with foreign-born relatives or visitors, from immigrants in our home country, or from traveling abroad. These personal experiences are likely to have left us with an indelible impression, perhaps characterized by a curious discovery, an unknown commonality, or even a perturbing sense of difference. Traveling overseas may have been part of a formal education-abroad experience, a long-anticipated family vacation, a forced relocation, or a wish to "see the world." Regardless, "when inward journeying goes hand in hand with outward journeys" (MoirBussy, 2003, p. 5), we experience deep, personal transformations (Kottler, 2002, 2003). To be better prepared, we invite professional counselors who are contemplating international vistas to explore their cultural self, their motivations, and, when feasible, embrace the process of learning the language of the host country.
Because we have framed the internationalization of counseling as a logical evolution and transformation of the cultural competency movement, it should come as no surprise that we have found it valuable to foster awareness of the self as a cultural being, particularly when engaging internationally. As Lynch (2002) stated, "Awareness must both precede and accompany action in the international arena" (p. 99). This is a tall order considering the difficulty of doing so a priori. Fortunately, international exposure will quickly--and at times disturbingly--make explicit our own implicit norms, such as appropriate interpersonal distance and human contact. Simply think of what are customary greetings in different countries (and even within the same country!): nodding the head, bowing the torso, shaking hands, rubbing noses, kissing the cheeks once, twice, or three times, and so on.
When preparing to go abroad, we join S. Leung's (2003) recommendation that we "confront our 'cultural encapsulation' by examining our own attitudes" (p. 412), and Fouad and Arredondo's (2007) insight that we gain a better understanding of our own cultural competence through continuous assessment. Such examination and assessment has to be done with others, not alone. We are reminded of the Johari window created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham (see Luft, 1969) as a tool for interpersonal awareness, in which understanding of self must include relationships and views that others have of us. The international encounter can be a powerful catalyst for this interpersonal construction of the self.
When participating in an international journey, we seek a better understanding of demographic, political, social, historical, cultural, and educational dimensions of the host country, along with a commensurate understanding of our own country. As we set foot on a foreign land, we may become instant ambassadors of our home country. We are peppered with questions about our nation and quickly find ourselves struggling with an answer, beginning many of our answers with, "It depends."
On a recent trip, one of us was asked, "What is domestic violence like in the USA?" and shortly afterward, "What do people in the USA think about its invasion of Iraq?" While some people abroad distinguish between the overseas policies and procedures of the USA government and its citizens, others do not, thanking or alternatively blaming us for actions ascribed or readily tied to the USA and its foreign policies.
And while USA-based counselors are likely to encounter much cultural mistrust overseas, perhaps most disconcerting is the even more frequent attribution of wealth made by the people with whom we come into contact abroad. Counselors who are interested in international exposure and collaboration are strongly encouraged to be prepared to face numerous assumptions, stereotypes, and strong reactions, both positive and negative.
We bring to the international encounter our education, training, beliefs, values, preconceptions and, most important, motivation. In light of this, we should ask ourselves systematically about the reasons that inform our international engagement. For an international partnership to succeed, we need to be strongly motivated to infuse the passion and energy essential for the project to move forward. The sources of motivation, however, may differ depending on whether a person engages in a project as an individual or represents an organization, such as a funding agency or a higher-education institution. Hence, the individual's motivations have to be balanced against the demands of sponsors and institutions.
Whether external or internal, motivators rarely emanate from one source and can be utilized to set priorities for the initiative and personal investment in the project (Arredondo, 1996). External motivators are likely to be related to demographic changes, emerging opportunities, advancement in one's professional career, and political, productivity, or competing factors. The leading internal forces might be self-interest, personal growth, professional goals, pursuit of the organization's mission, image, stability, personal satisfaction and achievement standards, or moral and social values.
Motivators can enable or become a barrier to a given project. From our experience, and those of colleagues who have participated in various international projects, motivators are interconnected with how clearly the vision, mission, goals, and strategies are stated. Acknowledging possible discrepancies in internal and external motivators can help us deal with understandable resistance expressed as conflict. Recognizing readiness, disposition, levels of skepticism, trust and/or mistrust, and how they play a part in the collaborative endeavor might help as well.
Because personal and institutional values are strongly connected to motivators and to the development of new initiatives, we ought to assess how the values can help or hinder the promotion of wellness and human development internationally. For example, values related to individualism and collectivism vary from culture to culture. Therefore, cultural values must be understood within the context of each culture (Chung, 2005). Counselors participating in international vistas are likely to come from different academic backgrounds and diverse theoretical perspectives. Consequently, achieving a common goal might seem unrealistic unless it is accompanied by a commitment to communicate meaningfully while acknowledging cultural diversity.
And communication in the context of international interpersonal interactions presents its own challenges. Fouad and Arredondo (2007) noted that "interpersonal interactions introduce a myriad of verbal and nonverbal communication behavior, shaped by gender, race, nationality, age and other dimensions of personal identity" (p. 42). Furthermore, "communication patterns, styles, symbols, and gestures are highly culture-bound and unconsciously scripted" (p. 42). Therefore, we invite you to be attentive to crucial details such as how greetings are extended; how close or how far people stand from each other; how they show interest or attention through listening behavior; how, when, and for how long eye contact is considered appropriate; how late people can be without being impolite; how they show respect to elders; how they view emotional or physical pain, and how pain is displayed. If you are interested in investigating these matters further, we recommend a classic on the topic written by E. T. Hall (1969), who coined the term proxemics, the study of interpersonal distance.
Usually, communication involves language. International collaboration is most challenging and potentially most rewarding when we are required to resort to our second language. To understand a culture better, we must learn its language. Unfortunately, second-language acquisition has not been a priority in the USA or in the counseling profession (Fabian, McInerney, & Rodrigues, 2005). Those who are ready to acquire or further a second language will find that most community colleges in the USA have affordable language courses. Many television channels and cities in the USA offer inexpensive opportunities to become immersed in a different language.
Lately, language schools in other countries have been developing immersion programs in the given language of the host country and also specialized programs geared toward a given profession. For example, AmeriSpan (www.amerispan.com) has offered programs on medical Spanish, on Spanish for teachers, and on Spanish for social workers. A directory of independent language schools can be found at http://123teachme.com/
As colleagues engaged in international collaborations consistently rediscover, the personal is inextricably involved in the professional. For example, Friedlander, Escudero Carranza, and Guzman (2002), reflecting on their successful, many-faceted partnership between the Universidad de la Coruna's postgraduate program in family interventions and SUNY Albany's counseling program, acknowledged that creating their alliance has been "intensively personal, best handled by a single individual in each program rather than a committee" (p. 327).
By working together, we have learned not only about each other's professional life but also about our own cultures as reflected in one another's eyes. The costs have been few and the delights many. (p. 328)
In the context of international collaboration, financial, administrative, communication, educational and technological roadblocks might lead to frustration, despair, and a sense of being overwhelmed. But the personal characteristics of participating individuals--leadership, charisma, passion, stamina, creativity, innovation, persistence, determination, ability to solve problems as well as to state expectations--are likely to provide the strength and endurance to move forward.
International engagement does not have to be limited to our professional persona. Beyond traveling abroad for pleasure and education, opportunities to use our counseling skills do not necessarily involve formal counseling. For example, check out Cross-Cultural Solutions (www.cross culturalsolutions.org), Global Service Corps (www.global servicecorps.org), the Peace Corps (www.peacecorps.gov), or World Bridges (www.world-bridges.org).
In sum, participating in international collaborations can present a rewarding opportunity to grow personally, not just professionally. The lessons, experiences, and challenges we face when taking the road less traveled can profoundly affect how we view the world. Encounters with those who have different worldviews, traditions, and perspectives allow us to become more culturally self-aware, more motivated to contribute to international endeavors, and better communicators and facilitators in international partnerships. As we travel to other countries, as tourists and as life learners, the richness of those countries and their people can lead us to connect to our surroundings in entirely new ways. We grow from what we learn and from whom we meet. As MoirBussy (2003) wisely remarked, our perception of "how the world should be" begins "to bend and blow under the freshening winds of cultural difference" (p. 6).
Counselor Education and Training
Counselor training should focus on worldwide social transformations and the need for mental health intervention at the individual, group, organizational, societal, and international level. Part of this training should be to expose students to global mental health issues and challenges first hand. (Lee. 1997, p. 284)
For the internationalization of counseling to become a reality, it must involve counselor education and training directly and must do so comprehensively, from undergraduate to graduate studies and beyond. Johnson and Greiner (in Johnson, 2004) suggested four distinct efforts for successful internationalization:
1. Raising awareness and making connections
2. Student recruitment, advising and support
3. Curriculum development
4. International field placements
In addition, Healy (1986) offered a logical continuum against which programs can benchmark themselves, spanning a tolerance of international activities to responsiveness to these endeavors, to ultimately committing to them. In the following paragraphs we offer ways in which the efforts and the continuum above can be materialized by training programs.
At the undergraduate level, there has been an increase in education-abroad programs aimed at providing an international perspective and cross-cultural skills to students from the USA (Altbach, 2002). According to Altbach (2002), the efforts to add
global awareness and intercultural competencies are intended to enhance the skills of college graduates in a global workforce, to enable students to participate in solutions to pressing global problems, and to promote global peace and understanding. (p. 29)
In addition, the USA has continued to attract foreign students, hosting one third of the estimated 2 million international students, even with the visa complications that arose after 9/11 (Altbach & Bassett, 2004). Many campuses in the USA have an office of international programs and hold a campus-wide international week. Faculty members are given the opportunity to reside in many countries for a year while serving as onsite coordinators of their university education abroad program. Furthermore, the last two decades have seen a dramatic increase in collaboration with academic institutions in other countries and the establishment of branch campuses abroad (Altbach, 2005).
Some counseling programs have given priority to the recruitment of international students, immigrants, and students with international interests or perspectives. Similarly, some counseling programs weigh bilingual abilities and relevant traveling experience in their admission criteria. As recruitment becomes successful, the challenges lie with the curriculum, the faculty members, and the capacity of a given program to create a climate that celebrates and puts to good use the international interest, diversity, and wealth of its members.
With respect to curriculum, Marsella and Pedersen (2004) stated that "the changing world in which we now live requires that counseling psychology alter its training curriculum assumptions, content, and methods to prepare students and faculty for meeting the challenges of life in the global community" (p. 413). They also readily recognize that "this is no easy matter" (p. 414). Marsella (1998) believes that the bases of USA professional practice--namely, individualism, rationality, and empiricism--may not resonate well with people in other nations, making it difficult for USA-trained professionals to be accepted abroad. Similarly, a curriculum that overemphasizes the individual self as autonomous and self-reliant precludes alternatives such as where the self is construed in relationships, or thought of as a collective self, or even more integrated views that affirm both perspectives.
Further, crucial concepts learned in the USA curriculum may not be readily understood elsewhere, or at least not as intended. Lynch alerted us that
it is imperative for international counselor educators, when developing and implementing their curricular and instructional exchanges, to keep in mind the implicit ethics of defining well-being in various cultures. A major obligation of the international educator is to avoid the category fallacy--that is, the unwarranted exportation of Western, mental health constructs to other cultures. (2002, p. 91)
Marsella and Pedersen (2004) offered 50 concrete ways of internationalizing the professional curriculum. These range from matters pertaining to associations, departments and their mission statements and values, to extracurricular activities, to university campuses and their relationship with their immediate surroundings and beyond to the infusion of global perspectives in all courses and acknowledgement of "the global implications of course goals and materials," among others (p. 420). A concrete example of how to do this is to pair students in a counseling ethics course with those in a similar course in a different country and discuss similarities and differences. Or to require students to identify counseling ethic codes in countries other than the USA, ideally in a different language, for the purpose of comparing and contrasting them.
In addition to recruiting internationally focused students, programs have to create opportunities for meaningful international experiences. As of now, too few graduate programs incorporate into their curriculum opportunities for full professional immersion abroad. This is perhaps the single most specific area in which changes can make a sizable difference. For example, the University of Northern Colorado has permitted some of its students to do a semester-long internship abroad, where they have had a chance to become immersed personally and professionally and also to acquire important language skills and accrue teaching experience.
Once overseas, students need much support to cope with differences in cultural practices, social isolation, homesickness, and the like. And, as identified above, the motivation for desiring such engagement has to be explored and appreciated. Some students might want to participate in an international program without a clear understanding of their motivation. Though well intended, students--and faculty members, for that matter--may fall into the trap of perpetuating a model that, instead of empowering individuals, strives to "save" them.
There is much reason to foster counseling training in many developing countries, as a result of pervasive mental health needs but little access to educational resources (McMinn & Voytenko, 2004). There is the danger, though, that faculty members from a "more developed" country will export its intellectual goods to a "less developed" nation with more or less (frequently less) concern for the values and actual needs of the recipients (Lynch, 2002). Furthermore, while working internationally, issues related to poverty and racism must be addressed in training (Casas, 2005), not only from a theoretical perspective but also as a prospective advocate, critical thinker, and ethical counselor.
Programs with an interest in their own internationalization may want to consider applying strategies similar to those utilized in the recruitment of students to the recruitment and retention of international faculty members, or an international scholars exchange program. Faculty members may want to partake in formal and informal international opportunities. For example, the Fulbright Scholar Program awards scholarships for USA faculty or professionals to lecture or conduct research abroad in psychology and other educationally related areas. This program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES, www.cies.org provides descriptions of available awards and eligibility requirements). Several articles have been written about the program's impact on the counseling field (see The Counseling Psychologist, 16(2), and 21(4)). An example of international collaboration supported by this program can be found in the work of Ellen and Ben McWhirter (McWhirter & McWhirter, 2006), who received Fulbright scholarships to teach, conduct research, consult, and train professionals in a Chilean community.
The Professional Counselor
If the counseling profession is to continue having an impact internationally, it will require individuals with the awareness, knowledge, and skills to establish collaborative relationships to address both contemporary and future global challenges. (Lee, 1997, p. 284)
Throughout the world, significant transformations have occurred in disparate areas such as "the nature of employment, cultural diversity, migration and refugees, the roles of men and women, rates of innovation and expanding technology, and major changes in patterns of local, regional, and national identity" (Lee, 1997, p. 282). Therefore, as we further international collaboration among counselors, we have the opportunity to advance ways to lessen the impact of these social transformations on the lives of individuals and communities.
For counselors and mental health professionals to embrace a commitment to social change that promotes empowerment, they must have the awareness, knowledge, and skills to promote human development locally, nationally, and internationally (Lee, 1997). Professional counselors are expected to translate their strategies to facilitate adherence in clients' treatment and also to diminish the social and community barriers that may generate distress or impede treatment access while being culturally skillful verbally and nonverbally, individually and institutionally (Arredondo et al., 1996; Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992). Furthermore, professional counselors who are interested in international work would benefit from a self-reflective review of the cultural counseling competencies as a reference point to enter the international arena with their best motivations and also with an accurate perspective of their competencies and areas for growth.
Professionals who have been practicing in the USA should not expect that practicing overseas would have the same social and professional representation. Professional identity issues related to licensure, ethical standards, and advocacy are experienced differently in most countries. For example, some countries in Latin America have not adopted ethical codes to guide some of their professions. And many countries have not enacted professional measures such as licensure.
While practicing overseas, professional counselors are likely to encounter significant roadblocks and challenges. Examples of roadblocks to international collaboration among professional counselors are the limited access to and mastery of technology, the intermittent access to global communication, and the infrequent availability of resources and libraries. Even though counselors know how to negotiate and access systems in their home country, generally they do not have the same resources and know-how while abroad.
Furthermore, "it is erroneous to make the assumption that what works at home" will work in an international arena (Chung, 2005, p.264). A frequent error committed abroad has been termed asistencialismo, in which individuals and aid organizations fail to conduct a relevant needs assessment. This failure results in "assistance" that a given community does not wish nor need, or that is simply inappropriate. We are reminded of a housing project by an international organization that replaced many modest homes in Guatemala with new homes having shiny new metal roofs. Although this roofing material may have been appropriate in other regions of Guatemala, it was not in this particular region. People slept outside their houses because the heat the metal roofs generated inside was simply unbearable (M.A. Hernandez Tzaquitzal, personal communication, December 2, 2005).
Nuances in the provision of services while abroad also necessitate consulting cultural brokers to help us understand these nuances and facilitate the counseling process. Juanita, an indigenous woman from Central America who studies counseling and is working as a traditional healer, faces issues of dual roles daily, which are impossible to avoid but are the givens of her social and contextual reality. While literature and guidelines in the USA emphasize the need to counsel people in their native language, this is not always possible or appropriate in another country. Juanita states that even if she counsels another indigenous woman from her ethnic group who speaks her same native language, they counsel in Spanish, which is not their native language, because their native language is not used for this type of activity according to their cultural practices.
Counseling professionals who are interested in international vistas will find a smorgasbord of possibilities. They may want to consider attending an international conference of one of the organizations detailed later in the article. They may want to subscribe to a journal published in a country, region, or language of their interest. They may want to conduct literature searches on a topic or country of their interest to become familiar with pertinent literature published overseas and also perhaps to correspond with some of the authors identified in those searches. The initial contact may lead to future exchanges, collaboration, or reciprocal consultation. In time, they may want to publish the fruits of their shared endeavors in the very journal to which the interested professional now subscribes.
The scientific and professional literature contains many examples of international endeavors. Paula T. McWhirter has studied the cultural factors that have influenced domestic violence in Chile (McWhirter, 1999). M. Brinton Lykes has developed mental health projects to facilitate the healing of Mayan children and women with PTSD following the civil war in Guatemala (Lykes, 1994). She also has worked with Guatemalan and South African communities and the relationship of community psychology with post-war narratives (Lykes, Blanche, & Hamber, 2003).
The movement currently known as open access is a relevant example of the possibilities brought about by international relations and collaboration. Of the many facets of open access, perhaps the most relevant to the present article is that one that seeks to make scientific and scholarly journal articles readily accessible and available free of charge via the Internet. The strongest arguments in favor of this endeavor have been raised in regard to free access to data and the journal articles or publications that were made possible by grants funded by federal and state agencies. An example in Latin America is the effort by the Brazilian Conselho Federal de Psicologia, the Instituto de Psicologia of the Universidade de Sao Paulo, and the Rede Brasileira de Bibliotecas da Area de Psicologia to create the Biblioteca Virtual de Salud-Psicologia (Virtual Library on Health-Psychology, www.bvs-psi.org.br), which makes available, free of charge and in full text, the content of psychology journals published in Latin America.
Another example that captures the power of international relations and collaboration can be found in efforts of the World Health Organization to develop the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) (http://www3.who.int/icf/icftemplate.cfm), which complements the well established International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD, currently version 10, http://www3.who.int/icd/currentversion/ fr-icd.htm). Based on its website portrayal, the ICF
describes how people live with their health condition. ICF is a classification of health and health-related domains that describe body functions and structures, activities and participation. The domains are classified from body, individual and societal perspectives. Since an individual's functioning and disability occurs in a context. ICF also includes a list of environmental factors.
Another example of international collaboration is the Latin American Guide for Psychiatric Diagnosis (Berganza, Mezzich, & Jorge, 2002) available from the World Psychiatric Association (www.wpanet.org) as a free download (www. wpanet.org/education/edu4gladp.php). The GLDP--its acronym in Spanish--honors specific cultural and contextual dimensions in the diagnostic processes, case formulations, and psychiatric nosology.
As detailed earlier, there are some matters that cut across many societies in the world and to which counseling has much to offer. For example, delinquent gangs of youths are found in most inner cities throughout the world. Counselors are particularly skillful in addressing such challenging social phenomena, and they do so in a comprehensive manner, joining forces with many other disciplines. Counseling professionals in the USA may be interested in learning firsthand what is being done in other countries about this pervasive phenomenon. Needless to say, the list of possible topics or relevant matters is as lengthy as anybody's imagination and as extensive as the pressing needs of our humanity. Another example is the participation in disaster-response teams that travel abroad offering their counseling expertise on trauma.
Professional counselors engaged in international activities may find it helpful to engage in journaling as a way to keep their moorings while documenting their own process. This strategy may be helpful over time to benchmark our process and progress. We remind you of the likelihood of experiencing cultural shock upon returning to your country of origin. While one may anticipate such experience intellectually, its intensity can be disconcerting. To whatever extent possible, we have found it helpful not to overschedule ourselves upon our return and to reach out to experienced colleagues for support and understanding.
Counseling Organizations and Publications With an International Focus
A range of counseling and psychological organizations and publications have advanced an international agenda. The following inventory is by no means exhaustive but should aid readers in gaining a sense of the breadth of historical and current international efforts and in identifying opportunities for networking, scholarship, and leadership in areas of their interest, now at an international level.
American Counseling Association (ACA)
ACA (www.counseling.org) is structured into branches, divisions, and regions. It maintains a European branch referred to as EB-ACA (www.online-infos.de/eb-aca/main. htm) whose purpose is to support counselors living and working in Europe. EB-ACA organizes an annual conference and learning institutes and publishes a quarterly newsletter.
Among the 19 divisions within ACA, two have incorporated the word international in their title. In 1990 the Public Offender Counselor Association (POCA) became the International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors (IAAOC). The International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC) maintains an International Development Committee. Some divisions have interest networks with an international focus. For example, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), a division of ACA, has an Interest Network on International Counseling. In addition, ACA has a standing International Committee.
American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)
AMHCA (www.amhca.org), a division within ACA, publishes the Journal of Mental Health Counseling. JMHC ran a special issue in April 2005 entitled, "Counseling Around the World," which featured articles from China, Fiji, Ghana, India, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, and Ukraine. As a continuation to the special issue, a special section in July 2005 entitled "Counseling Outside of the United States: Looking in and Reaching out!" featured articles from Brazil, Israel, Italy, and South Korea (Gerstein & AEgisdottir, 2005).
National Career Development Association (NCDA)
NCDA (www.ncda.org), another division within the ACA, has a standing International Committee that is concerned with international policies and practices in career development. NCDA publishes the journal Career Development Quarterly, which, in cooperation with IAEVG (see below), released a special issue in September 2005 entitled "Global Perspectives on Vocational Guidance."
Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD)
AMCD publishes the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development (JMCD). From time to time, JMCD has published articles with an international focus, though it has mostly addressed the needs of international students in the USA.
ACA Publications, Conventions, and Task Force
ACA publishes Counseling Today, a monthly newspaper distributed to all its members. The January 2006 issue focused on counseling around the world and featured multiple articles, including the counseling profession in 27 countries, the experiences of professional counselors in Russia and Vietnam, EB-ACA and the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy, and counseling in Latin America, among others. The section on Trends in the Journal of Counseling and Development (the flagship journal of ACA), plans to feature international articles describing the development, current status, and future of counseling services in another country.
In 2006, under the leadership of Dr. Patricia Arredondo, ACA co-hosted its first international convention together with the Canadian Counseling Association (www.ccacc.ca) in Montreal, Canada. In addition to bilingual programming in English and French, one of her presidential initiatives was a special section of the program delivered entirely in Spanish.
While president of ACA (2005-06), Dr. Arredondo created the Task Force to Explore Opportunities for ACA in Latin America (Consoli, 2005). The Task Force was charged with identifying counseling programs and associations in Latin America and compiling materials to benefit those working with Spanish-speaking populations in the USA. The Task Force's final report included information on counseling perspectives in Argentina, Mexico, and the USA, counseling programs and associations in Latin America, possible translations of the words counseling and counselor into Spanish, and resources for professionals providing services in Spanish to Latinos/as in the USA.
National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
In 2003, the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. & Affiliates (NBCC) created NBCC International as a division of NBCC to strengthen the counseling profession worldwide (www.nbccinternational.org). The foci of NBCCI are quality assurance, cultural sensitivity, public awareness, professionalism, and credentialing. NBCC-I presently is working to establish divisions in Great Britain, Japan, Malawi, Mexico, Romania, Switzerland, Turkey, and Venezuela. In addition, NBCC-I administers three leadership development programs: the International Vanguard of Counsellors (IVC), the NBCC international fellows, and the international counselor-in-residence (CIR). (1)
IVC is a web-based coalition for professionals interested in how counseling is practiced around the world and in advancing the professionalization of counseling. NBCC-I and IVC, in conjunction with ACES, has sponsored a fellows program recognizing selected international students who have the potential to become leaders in the counseling field. CIR is a one-year residency program designed to familiarize counselors from outside the USA with counselor-credentialing mechanisms in the USA and elsewhere.
In addition, NBCC-I has programs in the making, such as the mental health facilitator certification, the university twinning, and a range of publications. The latter include an international counseling dictionary and, in conjunction with the World Health Organization, a mental health atlas for counselors, and a publication entitled Preventing Suicidal Behavior: A Resource for Counsellors.
International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG)
The IAEVG (www.iaevg.org), founded in 1951, is a comprehensive umbrella organization with members from 60 countries. Over the years, it has published important documents pertaining to standards of counselor qualifications (1999), effectiveness in guidance and counseling services (2001), and competencies for educational and vocational guidance practitioners (2003). IAEVG organizes an annual international conference. Upcoming meetings will be in Padova, Italy, in 2007, and in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2008. As of this writing, IAEVG has not held its annual international conference in the USA.
IAEVG publishes a journal, the International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance (formerly the Educational and Vocational Guidance Bulletin), which, as stated in its masthead, contains
articles in relation to work and leisure, career development. career counselling and guidance and career education, which have preferably either an international content (e.g. comparative studies, multi- or cross-cultural perspectives. regional surveys, etc.) or contribute to topics of broad international interest (e.g., theoretical developments, ethical issues, etc.). Important national developments of wider interest can be included.
IJEVG accepts for review manuscripts written in any of its three official languages--French, English, and German. IJEVG sets a limit of no more than 10% of its articles in languages other than English per year, and some of the few authors who submit articles in French or German elect to translate their articles into English once they are accepted for publication (Raoul Van Esbroeck, editor of IJEVG, personal communication, August 26, 2006). In cooperation with NCDA-CDQ, IJEVG published a special issue on international matters related to career counseling in 2005.
International Association for Counselling (IAC)
One of the best known organizations in counseling with an international focus is the International Association for Counselling (www.iac-irtac.org). Formerly known as the International Round Table for the Advancement of Counselling (IRTAC), the IAC is an international nongovernmental organization registered in Belgium and governed by its 15-member executive council. The IAC aims to further the understanding and practice of counseling and guidance while affirming the interdisciplinary nature of these services.
Founded by Hans Zacharias Hoxter, the IAC held its first international meeting in Neuchatel, Switzerland, in 1966. The meetings have continued yearly, most recently in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, in 2006. In addition, the IAC has published the International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling since 1978, three or four times a year. According to its website description, the IJAC
promotes the exchange of information about counselling activities throughout the world. Papers published in the journal are conceptual, practical or research contributions providing an international perspective on the following areas: theories and models of guidance and counselling; counsellor education and supervision; state of the art reports on guidance and counselling in specific settings; special populations; special applications; and counselling services in developing countries.
Surprisingly, IJAC requires all submissions to be in English and publishes all of its articles in English only (http:// www.iac-irtac.org/author.html).
Additional Counseling Organizations With an International Focus
A number of additional counseling organizations with an international focus are found throughout the world. These are outlined briefly as follows.
* The European Association for Counselling (EAC) (www.eacnet.org) describes as its mission to assist the further development of counseling as a profession in Europe, to ensure official recognition of the profession, and to form partnerships in policy development on counseling at the national and European Union levels. The EAC has set as one of its goals to develop the European Counselling Journal.
* The African Counselling Association (AfCA) (also referred to as the African Counselling Network or ACN) (www. geocities.com/kiml 122a) is a group of individuals from Africa and worldwide who are interested in the advancement of counseling in Africa. The objectives of AfCA are to establish a network of counselors and counselor educators with an interest in counseling in Africa; develop counseling theory and practice that is appropriate for the African context; form working relationships with counseling organizations both in and outside of Africa; disseminate information on counseling, counselor education and counselor supervision; and recognize the achievement of African counselors. An important focus of AfCA has been on facilitating access to counseling information on HIV/AIDS.
* The Eastern and Southern Africa Counselling Association (ESACA) (www.esaca.or.ke) seeks to increase the quality and effectiveness of counseling in its region of influence. ESACA is hosted by the Kenya Association of Professional Counsellors.
* The Association of Psychological and Educational Counsellors of Asia (APECA-Asia) (www.apeca-asia.com) was founded in 1976 and holds a biennial conference.
* The Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association (HKPCA) (ww.hkpca.org.hk) publishes the Asian Journal of Counselling twice yearly.
* Another journal that publishes articles on counseling matters beyond its national borders is the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling. BJGC "is addressed to an international, interdisciplinary audience and wel comes submissions dealing with diverse theoretical orientations from practitioners and researchers from around the world" (www.tandf.co.uk).
Further International Counseling Efforts
A number of academic institutions have sought to advance an international perspective in the counseling profession. One such effort is the Minnesota International Counseling Institute (MICI), started in 1989 and convened biennially ever since that time by faculty members in the University of Minnesota's Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology Program, in the Department of Educational Psychology of the College of Education and Human Development. Skovholt, Hansen, Goh, Romano, and Thomas detail the history, accomplishments, and lessons learned by the people involved in the MICI (2005).
Another effort is the development of the biennial Interamerican Counseling Congress. This Congress has celebrated two meetings, the first one in Mexico in 2003, and the second one in Venezuela in 2005. The third is planned for 2007 in Buenos Aires, Argentina (www.holossanisidro-cic2007.com). Much of the effort behind these congresses is attributable to the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, USA, and the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico. A non-periodical publication entitled Selected Topics in Professional Counseling has addressed matters ranging from poverty to professional counseling identity to mental health prevention programs.
Another effort is the master's program in psychological counseling and mental health at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. This program was developed in collaboration with faculty from different higher education institutions in the USA and South America who contributed their teaching, advising, mentoring, and consulting to train professionals (see below).
International Efforts in Psychology
In addition to counseling organizations, publications, and programs, international activities, endeavors, and opportunities are afforded by sister organizations such as those self-identified with psychology rather than counseling per se. Although it is beyond the scope of this article to address sister organizations other than those in psychology described briefly below, we refer interested readers to federations in related disciplines such as the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) (www.ifsw.org).
American Psychological Association (APA)
The APA (www.apa.org) has an Office of International Affairs (www.apa.org/international), which coordinates the APA's participation and representation in international venues, promotes international exchanges, and serves as an information conduit about psychology around the world. It publishes the newsletter Psychology International. The APA has a standing committee, the Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP), founded in 1944, which fosters the development of international psychology as a science and profession and advises APA governance about international matters. Most noticeably, CIRP has played an important role in formally protesting when psychologists have been victims or perpetrators of human rights abuses.
The APA grants yearly the Award for the Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology to individuals who have made sustained and enduring contributions to international cooperation and the advancement of knowledge in psychology. The APA also grants the International Humanitarian Award, which recognizes extraordinary humanitarian services and activism by psychologists, including professional and volunteer work conducted primarily in the field with underserved populations.
The Division of International Psychology (www.internationalpsychology.net) publishes the International Psychology Bulletin, the official newsletter of Division 52, and has several standing committees that address immigration/ refugee issues, trauma/disaster, and public interest, among others. It maintains a liaisons-international network with contacts in more than 70 countries.
In addition, Division 17, The Society of Counseling Psychology, publishes The Counseling Psychologist (TCP), which contains a special section entitled "International Forum" (Pedersen & Leong, 1997), started in 1988 by Bruce Fretz. For example, TCP published a special issue entitled "Toward a Global Vision of Counseling Psychology" (E Leong & Blustein, 2000), which contained five articles focusing on counseling psychology in China and Israel, on perfectionism in India, on training psychology students in South Africa, and on cultural differences in attribution in Western Samoa, American Samoa, and the USA.
Takooshian (2003) noted other divisions within the APA that have sustained sizable international efforts over time:
Division 9: Social Issues
Division 12: Clinical
Division 13: Consulting
Division 14: Industrial-Organizational
Division 16: School (see below)
Division 48: Peace
Interamerican Society of Psychology (SIP)
The Interamerican Society of Psychology, known by its acronym in Spanish, SIP (for Sociedad Interamericana de Psicologia), was founded in 1951 and is the longest running Interamerican society in psychology (www.sipsych.org). It organizes a biennial congress, the Interamerican Congress of Psychology. The XXXI Congress will take place in Mexico in July 2007 and the XXXII Congress in Guatemala. SIP has published the Revista lnteramericana de Psicologia since 1967, with a current frequency of three issues per year. This is perhaps the only international journal that accepts and publishes articles in any of its four official languages: Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French. This is particularly noteworthy in light of the finding by Adair and collaborators (Adair, Coelho, & Luna, 2002) that entries in a language other than English in a well established electronic database (PsycLlT, now PsyclNFO) had declined from 12%-14% in the 1980s to 6% in the 1990s. In addition, SIP has published three consecutive volumes on the training of psychologists in the Americas.
International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP)
The International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP, www.iaapsy.org), considered the oldest international organization in psychology, was founded in 1920 under the name International Association of Psychotechnology and changed to its current designation in 1955. IAAP promotes the science and practice of applied psychology and facilitates interaction and communication about applied psychology around the world. IAAP is structured into 16 divisions, including Division 16: Counseling Psychology. IAAP hosts the International Congress of Applied Psychology every 4 years. The 2006 Congress was held in Athens, Greece, and the 2010 Congress in Melbourne, Australia.
IAAP publishes a journal, Applied Psychology: An International Review, with articles that examine the effects of different national and cultural contexts on psychological processes. The journal has been published since 1951, with four issues per year. IAAP also has published an Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology (Spielberger, 2004) and is planning to publish a Handbook of Applied Psychology.
International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology
The International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) (www.iaccp.org), founded in 1972, seeks to facilitate communication among people who are interested in the intersection of culture and psychology. IACCP sponsors the biennial International Congress of Cross-Cultural Psychology. Hosted in Spetses, Greece, in 2006, it is scheduled to be held in Bremen, Germany, in 2008. IACCP publishes the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. The journal, started in 1970 and issued six times a year, addresses the interrelationships between culture and psychological processes, specifically the ways in which culture affects the thinking and behavior of individuals and how individual thought and behavior define and reflect aspects of culture.
International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS)
The International Union of Psychological Science (IU PsyS) was founded in 1951, although the first International Congress of Psychology took place in 1889. The member ship consists of organizations representing psychology in various countries. As of 2005, IUPsyS has 70 national members. IUPsyS has published the International Journal of Psychology since 1966, with six issues per year. A section of IJP, the International Platform, disseminates international news concerning psychology, invites an exchange of opinions on psychological topics, and includes the International Meeting Calendar (www.am.org/iupsys/mtg.html).
IUPsyS publishes the Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resources in CDRom format. This is a yearly publication since 2000, containing abstracts from several international congresses, an international compilation of human-subject research protections, reviews of books relevant to international psychology, a few recent reprints from IJP, and several databases. The International Congress of Psychology meets every 4 years. The 2004 ICP was celebrated in Beijing, China; the 2008 meeting will be in Berlin, Germany; and the 2012 meeting will be in Johannesburg, South Africa. One important endeavor currently undertaken by an ad hoc joint committee of IUPsyS is the development of a Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists (www.am.org/iupsys/ethicsdoc.html).
Advanced Research and Training Seminars (ARTS)
The Advanced Research and Training Seminars (ARTS) (wwww.am.org/iupsys/arts/arts-home.html) is a fruitful international collaboration among the APA, IUPsyS, IACCP, and IAAP. These intensive workshops provide training opportunities for scholars from low-income countries and promote their attendance at international congresses. Eight ARTS have been convened since 1992, reaching close to 200 professionals from more than 50 countries.
Additional Psychological and Multidisciplinary Organizations With an International Focus
Several more psychological and multidisciplinary organizations maintain an international focus. An example in psychology is the International Association of School Psychology (ISPA) (www.ispaweb.org), founded in 1982 as an outgrowth of the International School Psychology Committee of the APA's Division 16: School Psychology and in partnership with the National Association of School Psychologists.
The aims of ISPA are to promote the use of sound psychological principles within the context of education all over the world; to promote communication among professionals who are committed to improving the mental health of children in the world's schools; to encourage the use of school psychologists in countries where they currently are not being used; to promote the psychological rights of children all over the world; and to initiate and promote cooperation with other organizations working for purposes similar to those of ISPA, to help children and families. Of note, ISPA has an Interest Group named the International Crisis Response Network. ISPA has published School Psychology International since 1982 and does so currently five times a year.
Also within psychology are international student organizations such as the European Federation of Psychology Students' Associations (EFPSA) (www.efpsa.org), established in 1987, and the recently founded International Psychology Students' Organization (IPSO) (www.psychologystudents. org). Those who are interested in psychotherapy may want to check out the Society for Psychotherapy Research (www.psychotherapyresearch.org) or the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (http://cyberpsych. org/sepi/). Both of these organizations are international and alternate conferences in the USA and abroad.
A multidisciplinary organization is the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) (www.istss.org). Founded in 1985, the purpose of ISTSS is to share information about the effects of trauma. ISTSS holds an international meeting annually and has published the Journal of Traumatic Stress since 1988, currently six times a year.
Another multidisciplinary organization is the Society for Cross-Cultural Research (SCCR) (www.sccr.org), founded in 1972. It publishes the journal Cross-Cultural Research.
INTERNATIONALIZING EFFORTS: PERSONAL ACCOUNTS
We offer readers some of our own experiences and pertinent reflections with internationalizing efforts. The first account is of Andres Consoli's experiences as a professionally trained immigrant from Argentina who settled in California more than two decades ago and is a visiting professor in the Master's Program in Counseling Psychology and Mental Health at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG). In the second account, Maria del Pilar Grazioso relates her experiences as a Guatemalan professional who earned a master's degree in the USA, currently coordinates the Master's Program at UVG, and is a doctoral candidate at the Universidad de San Luis, Argentina. The third account is by Marisela Lopez, daughter of Guatemalan immigrants to the USA, who was born and raised in the USA and now is living in Guatemala and attending the master's program at UVG.
An International Project in the Making
I was born and grew up in Argentina, where I earned a licenciatura degree in clinical psychology and began my practice as a mental health professional. My interest in international issues began early, in an extended family presided over by Italian immigrant great-grandparents, who spoke fondly and intriguingly of their home country. At age 14 I jumped on a bus for a 36-hour ride to Sampa (Sao Paulo) for a month-long visit with a Brazilian family I had met earlier in the year while vacationing in Bariloche, Argentina. With this family I immersed myself in a different language and experienced firsthand significant familial and cultural differences that opened my eyes to alternative ways of constructing meaning, relating, and ultimately living. Perhaps most liberating to me was the broad latitude of acceptance I perceived in Brazilian society with respect to physical appearance. My teenage awkwardness with my body was lifted by a celebration of the body, and what I call "joy de vivre."
A decade later, as my great-grandparents did more than 100 years before me, I left Argentina and my comfort zone to embark on a trip of discovery. Hector Fernandez Alvarez, my therapist at that time and lifelong mentor, wished me well with a gift of a copy of Cesare Pavese's diary and a memorable sentence: "There are two, non-exclusive ways of traveling--inwardly and outwardly. Enjoy them both."
My travels took me to the USA for a year with stints in San Jose, San Francisco, and the Esalen Institute (Big Sur) in California, followed by a month-long stay in Clayton, Georgia, while training at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. From there I hitchhiked to Washington, DC, and then on to New York City, where I received a scholarship to train at Fountain House, a self-help program for those recovering from mental illness (www.fountainhouse.org). Then I traveled to Europe for 6 months, and back to Argentina, where the well-documented phenomenon of reentry culture shock omnisciently awaited me!
These international experiences made me equally humble and proud of my cultural upbringing and nationality. While I appreciated the emphasis on relatedness and social engagement that my culture of origin had impressed upon me, I also recognized the indelible mark of having grown up in a military dictatorship with traditional gender roles and prejudicial attitudes born out of discriminatory religious practices. I viewed myself then, and continue to do so today, as a "recovering prejudist."
Reasons of the heart brought me back to the USA in 1987, where I have resided ever since. Professionally, after moving to the USA, I practiced as a residential counselor in a group home for autistic adults, served as a personal attendant to people with physical disabilities, worked as a bilingual counselor in a family services agency, and eventually completed master's and doctoral degrees in counseling psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was there that I felt that my international experiences and bilingual abilities were most appreciated, particularly by Don Atkinson, who never missed an opportunity to compliment me on my courage to engage internationally, and by Larry Beutler, who supported my striving toward a dissertation and also took the risk with me of "going international." He presently maintains a productive research agenda on international collaboration in psychotherapy research. Also, Jeana Dressel and Jane Carlisle from UCSB's Counseling and Career Services and C. Barr Taylor from Stanford University celebrated my cultural being and shared their own with me in profoundly inspiring ways.
During the last two decades I have strived to bring together my "life gifts," those of a professional trained in South America and North America who can (actually must, based on my liberation theology upbringing) contribute meaningfully to advancing a discipline that has much to offer in redressing human suffering and fostering human strengths. This sense of duty along with my joy de vivre aspirations led me to respond enthusiastically to Maria del Pilar Grazioso's invitation to collaborate in advancing counseling in Central America, particularly Guatemala. After 4 years, we have many accomplishments to celebrate and challenges to agonize over.
One thing is clear: I am no longer the same. I have been transformed by the experience in ways that words cannot describe. International engagements have made me a better counselor educator and an even more committed citizen of the Americas. And it has stoked in me a profound conviction of the universal nature of our human plight and human resilience while reaffirming the importance of local solutions.
On Becoming an International Person: A Dance of Interconnectedness
Maria del Pilar Grazioso
The invitation to contribute to the writing of this article offered me the opportunity to reflect on how I became an international person. My discovery of how much a part of who I am as a person, as an educator, as a professional has to do with my international being has been enlightening. By engaging in international encounters, I have grown, even when growing has involved "growing pains."
As I retrace the memories of my early life, my parents' message of embracing the beauty of the diversity in people, friends, and landscape stands out. Even though I consider myself Guatemalan, I was born in Ecuador and lived there during my first years. Upon returning to Guatemala with my parents, our home was always open to friends from around the world who came to visit and with whom we communicated periodically. Throughout my early childhood and adolescence, I had the opportunity to travel as a tourist and also as a student, as a sister, and as a friend. With each venture my worldview was enhanced through what I received, observed, and created by connecting with others. Upon returning home, I felt "grown up."
When I graduated as a teacher and then as a psychologist with the licenciatura degree, it was analogous to a trip abroad: The world has no frontiers, no narrow bridge to discovery. The boundaries of geographical frontiers melted as I admired people walking in the cities, exchanging in the markets. Traveling with my husband and my children has further enabled me to observe and admire through their lenses their growth in an endless journey to amusement, differences, and similarities.
While earning a master's degree from the University of Houston, working for 5 years at the Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital, and volunteering with Hispanic immigrant youth, I experienced firsthand the life experience of immigrants. My professional and academic development was enriched, and at the same time my social awareness of poverty, disparity, inequity, developmental and emotional disabilities, and mental health needs increased. I realized that these needs had no country of origin; they were present here and now.
Upon returning to Guatemala, I felt a renewed commitment to reach out and foster development through my profession. As I continued to participate in international conferences, academic activities, and professional international endeavors, I was privileged to develop strong friendships and to have been mentored by outstanding professionals with congruent values. Through their patience, trust, company, support, and guidance, I have been able to move forward. Because most of these professionals are abroad, it also has given me the outlook that the sky is the limit, that the world has no frontiers, that the bridge to discovery is wide.
This article is as an example of fruitful, productive, and respectful international collaboration. The three authors have participated actively, and continue to do so, in building and developing the Master's Program in Counseling Psychology and Mental Health at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG)--one as consultant, mentor, professor, colleague, and advisor in training and research; another as program director, administrator, and training supervisor; and the third as student, counselor in training, and graduate assistant. This collaborative and constructivist program, which continues to grow and evolve, illustrates many of the issues that we have discussed and referred to throughout the article. What began as a conversation during an APA activity in 2001 led to the conceptualization of this project and the motivation to pursue a possibility for training in counseling, which led to this program.
Guatemala is a multiethnic, pluricultural and multilingual Central American country with a population of 12 million. A significant number of immigrants come to the USA from this region. Because trained educators and counseling professionals were lacking, the master's program was geared toward training culturally sensitive counselors who could meet the mental health care needs of their clients. The program got off the ground and has continued to grow, thanks to continuing communication among academic and professional organizations, visiting university web pages, and spending endless hours in electronic and personal consultations with faculty from "sister schools," with faculty members who already had established joint counseling programs between USA and Latin American universities, as well as with representatives from accrediting institutions.
During the first stage of the program, counseling educators and professionals including Patricia Arredondo, Fred Bemak, Mary Alice Bruce, Robert Chope, Andres Consoli, Michael Loos, Mary Maples, and Michael Waldo were key. In 2002, Andres Consoli began with an introductory course in research in counseling and psychotherapy. Under the leadership of Roberto Moreno Godoy, UVG's rector, academic administrators approved the teaching of intensive courses. The curriculum moved from "transporting" a USA syllabus that used mostly USA educational and teaching materials to developing syllabi geared toward training local professionals in an integrative, culturally competent manner.
In 2003, Dr. Hector Fernandez Alvarez from the Aigle Center, Argentina, began our academic year with an opening conference that set the framework for an integrative approach in counseling and psychotherapy. While the initial curriculum was CACREP-informed and departed originally from syllabus being taught in the USA, the faculty began to accommodate to Guatemalan needs. In 2005, when the master's program was officially authorized, Dr. Arredondo, began the academic year by reminding us how much cultural competence is part of our professional development and commitment toward social development.
Recently, graduates from the international Master's Program in Counseling Psychology at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala have shared what they valued the most about international faculty:
1. Their ability to share up-to-date information
2. The emphasis on ethical standards and procedures
3. Respect for the multicultural characteristics of the students and the country
4. Generosity and flexibility from faculty members who were experts in the profession
5. High expectations/demands in terms of academic achievement
6. The motivation to move forward in mentoring, writing, and publishing
The students wanted faculty members to take into consideration the differences in access to technology, resources, and materials in their language, lack of training in writing skills according to international writing standards, and recognition that not all ethical principles are lived the same way in different countries.
Now in its fourth year, the program recently graduated its first cohort of six mental health counselors. Advised and mentored by their faculty, the students have been presenters at international conferences, translated the AMCD's 2003 Multicultural Competences into Spanish, co-edited ACA training materials in Spanish, have an in-press book with some of their coursework, and have begun to conduct qualitative research aimed at informing and improving our current practices and training. Although a long road still lies ahead of us, the solidarity and willingness to continue building and developing through an egalitarian learning process motivates us to move forward.
As we have moved into a new stage of the program, I appreciate how much we have learned from each other, from our diversity, from the challenges, and from the opportunities to overcome them. I continue to embrace the dance, music, and poetry of international interconnection well into my doctoral studies. I continue to be privileged and honored to have the encouragement and guidance of my advisors, mentors, and friends who walk the path with me. I welcome the opportunity to join hands in building a global village where peace, equity, and wellness prevail among its citizens.
Embracing International Learning
One of the reasons I dived into collaborating in this article was to share my experience of growth, self-awareness, and self-exploration as part of the master's program in Guatemala, with the hope that future counselors in training will see the immense possibilities in going international. As students in training, we are shaped by our educational setting. We are taught in a Western tradition, and, therefore, we think within it. Yet, we work with clients from diverse cultures. In traveling to different countries, we can begin to restructure our line of thinking and broaden our understanding.
Global multiculturalism increases our understanding of the larger picture, provides an opportunity to compare and contrast global and local concerns, helps us sharpen our focus on specific issues and encourages a tolerance for ambiguity. (McWhirter, 2000, p. 119)
By becoming involved in an international program, we can augment our awareness of diversity but, most important, our effectiveness with our increasingly diverse clients.
Most of my educational development has been in Miami, Florida. Having been born and raised in the USA has given me the opportunity to grow up with the dual influence of the Guatemalan culture of my family and a mixture of the Latino cultures in the USA. This international influence from birth is what has given me the drive to keep learning and growing with an international perspective. I feel a responsibility to this community that has inspired and influenced me personally and has shaped my professional endeavors.
Once I was in Guatemala, I quickly learned the difference between being a Latina born in the USA and one born in Latin America. Although I was bilingual because my family spoke Spanish at home, I still found myself in need of improving my proficiency. Use of the Spanish language learned as a Latina in the USA and the one learned in Spanish-speaking countries with the accompanying cultural components is not the same. I didn't expect the change from English to Spanish to be so difficult. I believed that the Spanish I knew would be fine.
The first course I took in the program--Theories of Psychotherapy--coincidently enough, with Andres Consoli, was also my first course taught in Spanish. I was thrilled--until I realized that I was not as bilingual as I thought I would be. When hearing psychology discussed in Spanish, I found that I was listening to a completely different language. Fortunately, I knew the subject, but I knew it in English. I was able to communicate at an informal, everyday level, but I did not do well with psychological and academic terms. I realized how necessary language is and the ability we have as Latinos and Latinas to help others through the Spanish language. Speaking Spanish socially is not enough; I needed to learn the therapeutic language as well. Language in the counseling profession is extremely relevant because through language we establish the therapeutic relationship and transmit support and knowledge. Language is a critical cultural dimension that must be taken into consideration. "This reasoning stems from the idea that language is the primary means of transmitting information about beliefs and cultural traditions" (Altarriba & Santiago-Rivera, 1994).
I had the misperception that because I was Latina, I would be qualified to work with anyone who spoke Spanish, even those who spoke only Spanish. By learning Spanish in the USA, I learned the norms and nonverbal cues as a Latina from Miami. I found later that ordinary interactions between people in Guatemala were much more expressive than my experiences in the USA, including interactions with clients.
As a Latina born and growing up in the USA, I believed that I had a good understanding of what it was to be multicultural or, at the very least, an understanding of Latino or Latina culture. But I learned the values and standards as a Hispanic American. Although my cultural heritage was Guatemalan, I was not a Guatemalan, and some social and cultural expressions were unknown to me. The country's history, beliefs and values were foreign to me.
By immersing myself so completely in this culture, I realized that being Latina is not enough. We do not automatically learn or internalize the political, social, and economic issues of those born in a Latin American country. We learn that many people suffer from oppression and poverty in their home country, but we rarely witness it. While living in Guatemala, I was exposed to these differences in cultural history, social customs, and wildly disparate socioeconomic levels. Guatemala's history has been characterized by political and economical instability, along with violence. Hearing personal experiences of the persecution and violence was heartbreaking, but it is an everyday reality for many people around the world. This is relevant to our profession in that understanding the cultural history of our clients provides helpful insights into the person.
My experiences in this graduate program allowed me to reflect on what it means to be a Latina from the USA as well as a Guatemalan and, in doing so, I was able to comprehend diversity from a completely new perspective.
Culture is not only about symbols and their meaning, beliefs, ways of presenting oneself to others, and so on; it is also about the organization of the fields within which human beings perform and within which their personal behaviors are rewarded and sanctioned. (Varenne, 2003, p. 408)
Being Latina in the USA means that I was from a culture usually viewed as nondominant. Although I am a Latina from a working middle-class family, in Guatemala I belonged to a group viewed as dominant, upper middle class, and with access to certain privileges. In Guatemala I was no longer a Guatemalan-American; I was Ladina (a person of European and Indigenous ancestry). But I did not grow up as a Ladina. What did it mean to be a Ladina? It meant that I now was bestowed with certain social markers and positions. In the street I was addressed as Senorita (Miss). I understood that it was a form of respect, but it also indicated differences in social and economic status.
I hadn't realized the implications of not only having to leave one's country but also to adjust to being in the nondominant group. Traveling outside the USA opened my eyes to what many of our immigrant community clients have gone through. Now I am more aware of the adaptation that takes place. Although my parents were immigrants, I lived a different experience as a second-generation immigrant. My perspective was that of a Hispanic American. What a welcome perspective to experience this adjustment even to a small extent!
Being part of an international program has taught me the skills necessary to become an effective counselor, and this experience also has been one of constant reflection, self-awareness, and growth. I reconnected with my roots and developed a better understanding of my own cultural values and prejudices and also how these issues relate to our profession. I could have gone through a similar experience in the USA, but by studying in Guatemala, I was able to live every experience completely immersed without the option of going back to my comfort zone, what was known to me. This was a hands-on experience and made learning more dynamic and more experiential than just reading about it.
Changing from one culture to another helped me see counseling from a new perspective. This integration has given me the benefit of living and knowing two different perspectives. In trying to adapt to Guatemala, I was able to view counseling through a new lens, and I learned how to adapt to my clients. Now I believe that I can truly be of service to both worlds and reach out to both communities. Embracing an international education has been for me a wonderful start to an ongoing reflection and lifelong process of learning and contributing to international endeavors.
The internationalization of counseling seems logical, moving cultural competency in the profession farther along from rhetoric into international action through commitment, engagement, and sustained advocacy. Also, it is a relevant endeavor to pursue in light of the countless world challenges facing us and to which the counseling profession has much to offer.
For readers who are contemplating international vistas, we hope you have found in this article at least one, if not more, possible avenues to pursue in your international aspirations, be they at the personal, educational, professional, or organizational level. We are reminded of the Chinese proverb, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" and Antonio Machado's famous line, "Traveler, there is no road; you make the road as you go." For readers with much international experience, we join one of the characters in The Motorcycle Diaries by restating her parting words: "Blessed be your travels."
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(1) We have preserved the spelling of counselling and counsellor where the word appears in a direct quote, as the name of an organization that spells it that way, or in the title of a journal.
Andres Consoli is affiliated with San Francisco State University. Maria del Pilar Grazioso and Marisela Lopez are with the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.