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Locus of control: Implications for counselors working in multicultural settings and psychological issues in therapy

Margeson, Christopher J. (2012) Locus of control: Implications for counselors working in multicultural settings and psychological issues in therapy. Counseling & Wellness: A Professional Counseling Journal, 3. pp. 1-15.

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There are many factors that a counselor must consider when engaged in therapy with a client. Locus of control is an important individual difference to consider that has cultural and psychological relevance to the counseling process. Certain people, based on their cultural background, may elicit a tendency toward either an internal or external locus of control. Locus of control effects how some people cope with problems: either in a healthy or an unhealthy way depending on the situation. An informed counselor can assess a client’s locus of control, use this information in therapy to provide a more effective treatment plan, case conceptualization, and reduce problematic symptoms manifested by the client. People want to know the causes of important events that transpire throughout their life (Weiner, 2008). Individual counseling is an interaction between two people that promotes discussion of the perceived causes of one’s life experiences and behaviors (Foon, 1986). These perceived causes of events, behaviors, and experiences in a person’s life can either be attributed to an internal or external locus of control (Rotter, 1966). A person who has an internal locus of control believes that she or he is in control of her or his own destiny (Rotter, 1966). An external belief system regards events that happen in one’s life as being beyond their control and more reliant on luck, chance or other mechanisms (Rotter, 1966) that can be influenced by the cultural background of the client (Valentine, Godkin & Doughty, 2008). Moreover, Brytek- Matera (2008) contended that certain psychological issues can be dramatically influenced by one’s locus of control. Locus of control is even linked to whether or not people are able to effectively cope with certain traumatic events that occur in their lives (Flannery & Harvey, 1991). Roesch and Weiner (2001) concluded that causal attribution is a mediating variable that can help a person’s adjustment to a recent psychological stressor. Causal attributions use locus of control to help identify whether people are using an internal or external style to attribute the events that happen throughout their life as being within their control (internal) or by luck, fate, or destiny (external) (Weiner, 2008). Research has demonstrated the importance of understanding client characteristics and its relationship to positive outcomes and interventions in counseling (Foon, 1986). There is some disagreement in the literature as to whether or not locus of control styles can be altered (Bates & Rankin-Hill, 1994). However, Kist-Kline and Lupnickey (1989) suggested that locus of control related to health may be modified. Husa (1982) demonstrated that a person’s locus of control could be altered via psychotherapy. It is important for a therapist to be aware of a client’s internal or external attribution of an event during the course of therapy (Connolly, 1980; Foon 1986). Recent studies (Fogel & Israel, 2009; Lowis, Edwards & Burton, 2009; Mellon, Moradi & Risco, 2006; Moradi & Hasan, 2004) have underscored the role of locus of control with cultural affiliation of clients and certain psychological issues in counseling. This paper will review many studies that focus on locus of control (LOC) in the cultural context, as well as, address LOC’s relevance to certain psychological issues. In addition, specific implications and behaviors will be suggested for the practicing counselor to be more effective in addressing multicultural backgrounds of clients and certain psychological issues in the therapeutic process in regards to locus of control.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Counseling & Wellness: A Professional Counseling Journal is published annually and dedicated to publishing refereed articles related to professional counseling in general and issues and counseling approaches that focus on wellness and personal adjustment. Publication priority was given to current Masters and Doctoral students from CACREP-accredited Counseling Programs with active Chi Sigma Iota Chapters. Counseling & Wellness: A Professional Counseling Journal is the official publication of the Beta Alpha Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota at Northern Arizona University.
Keywords: wellness, counselors, multicultural, settings, problematic, symtoms
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Department/Unit: Journals > Counseling and Wellness Journal
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2016 21:03
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/2592

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