Multicultural Competence in Indonesian Counseling Students: Perspectives of Visiting American Counselor Educators


  • Mona Robinson Ohio University
  • Devyn Savitsky Ohio University



Multicultural Competence, Intersectionality, Privilege, Counseling, Indonesia


This article provides an overview of multicultural competencies from a global perspective, specifically as it relates to counseling students in Indonesia. An overview will be given of the cultural interactions observed by counselor educators who were visiting professors at a university in Indonesia. While racial and ethnic diversity in countries such as Indonesia remain homogenous, cultural differences were noted with respect to the intersectionality of gender and disability.  The intersection of culture, gender, and disability present unique challenges for counselors trying to assist their clients. Thus, it is imperative that counseling students become culturally competent so they can assist their clients who come from varying backgrounds. Implications are given to counseling programs to increase their students’ multicultural competencies when working with global populations.



Author Biographies

Mona Robinson, Ohio University

Mona Robinson, PhD, LPCC-S, LSW, CRC   Professor Ohio University, Department of Counseling and Higher Education

Devyn Savitsky, Ohio University

Devyn Savitsky, M.S., Ph.D Candidate

Ohio University, Department of Counseling and Higher Education 




Anees, S. (2014). Disability in India: The Role of Gender, Family, and Religion. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 45(2), 32-28.

Chun, J., Connor, A., Kociulek, J. F., Landon, T., & Park, J. (2016). Career development for youth with disabilities in South Korea: The intersection of culture, theory, and policy. Global Education Review, 3(3).

Disability in Indonesia: What can we learn from the data? › __data › asset›retrieved from

Emerson, E. (2012). The World Report on Disability. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25(6), 495–496.

Enns, C. Z., Sinacore, A. L., Acevedo, V., Akçali, Ö., Ali, S. R., Ancis, J. R., …Tao, K. W. (2005). Integrating multicultural and feminist pedagogies: Personal perspectives on positionality, challenges and benefits. In C. Z. Enns & A. L. Sinacore (Eds.), Teaching and social justice: Integrating multicultural and feminist theories in the classroom (pp. 177-196). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Himmelstein, M. S., Puhl, R. M., & Quinn, D. M. (2017). Intersectionality: an understudied framework for addressing weight stigma. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(4), 421-431.

Hochschild, A. R., & Machung, A. (1989). The second shift: working parents and the revolution at home. New York, N.Y.: Viking.

Institute on International Education (IIIE), (2016). Open Doors “Fast Factsâ€. Available at

Kusumastuti, P., Pradanasari, R., & Ratnawati A. (2014). The problems of people with disability in Indonesia and what is being learned from the World Report on Disability. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2014;93(1 Suppl 1):S63â€S67. doi:10.1097/PHM.0000000000000025

Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2020). Retrieved May 20, 2020 from:

Rakhmat, M. & Tarahita, D. (2017). Disability Issues and the Lack of Data in Indonesia. Asia Sentinel. Retrieved from:

Ratts, M. J., & Greenleaf, A. T. (2018). Counselor–advocate–scholar model: Changing the dominant discourse in counseling. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 46(2), 78-96. doi: 10/1002/jmcd.12094

Sassi, K., & Thomas, E. E. (2008). Walking the talk: Examining privilege and race in a ninth-grade classroom. English Journal, 25-31.

Sharples, M. (2018, March 8). Gender, development, and the challenge of intersectionality. Oxfam.

Shields, S. A. (2008). Gender: An intersectionality perspective. Sex Roles, 59(5-6), 301-311.

Sue, D. W., Arrendondo, P., & McDavis, R. J. (1992). Multicultural counseling competencies and standards: A call to the profession. Journal of Counseling & Development, 70, pp. 477-486.

Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2008). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. (5 Ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

United Nations (2019, November 30). Department of Economic and Social Affairs on Disability.

Wu, H., Garza, E., & Guzman, N. (2015). International student’s challenge and adjustment to college. Education Research International,

World Health Organization. (2001). International classification of functioning, disability and health: ICF. Geneva: World Health Organization.

World Health Organization. (2011). World report on disability. Available at: May 25, 2020.

World Health Organization (2019, November 30). Disability.

Yan, K. K., Accordino, M. P., Boutin, D. L., & Wilson, K. B. (2014). Disability and the Asian culture. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 45(2), 4-8.