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Multicultural Encounters: Case Narratives from a Counseling Practice


This volume uses fascinating therapeutic encounters to help clinicians understand and respond to the needs of their increasingly diverse clientele. Emphasizing the importance of balancing general cultural awareness with a consciousness of openness and curiosity, Murphy-Shigematsu urges clinicians to look beyond their assumptions and stereotypes to learn their clients’ cultures through eliciting key narratives. Keeping the client and therapist center stage, the author shows the complex ways in which their cultural self-narratives interact.


Capturing the intimate and exciting nature of the therapeutic session, this unique volume: 

  • Considers multicultural counseling as a consciousness that guides all therapy, rather than a set of skills are stereotypes. 

  • Integrates a constructivist, narrative approach into multicultural counseling. 

  • Teaches about culture through its manifestations in the particulars of individual lives both that of the client and counselor. 

  • Provides a balance to approaches that either deny culture’s importance or over- emphasize generalizations and stereotypes. 

  • Describes openly the nature of the learning that occurs for the therapist.


“Multicultural Encounters transports readers into the inner world of the client, taking us on a multicultural journey where issues of race, culture, and ethnicity are revealed as dynamic and powerful dimensions of human existence. This book is truly revolutionary. We consider it one of the truly foundational contributions to the practice of multicultural counseling and therapy. This is not just a book to be read and studied, but also one to enjoy.”

—Allen E. Ivey, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus,

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

—Derald Wing Sue, Professor, Teachers College,

Columbia University


“Readers will be instructed by this comprehensive, candid, and thoughtful presentation. The author skillfully shows how his own background and life experiences help him to conduct treatment. This book is recommended with the greatest enthusiasm."

—Chester M. Pierce, MD, Professor of Education and Psychiatry,

Harvard University


“This book may well become a classic. Murphy-Shigematsu’s case studies read like stories and are full of compelling insights regarding the art of therapy.”

—Gene I Awakuni, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, 

Stanford University

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