Supporting the Development of Healthy Ethnic and Cultural Identities in Adolescents: Recommendations for Multicultural Counselling Practices

No Thumbnail Available
Issue Date
Rivera, Maria Fernanda
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
With recognition that adolescence is a difficult period of identity exploration, the focus of this inquiry is on gaining a better understanding on how to support bi-cultural/ multicultural youth in developing a sense of self, which may include supporting them in their own exploration and formation of their different cultural identities. As with any part of identity exploration, formation and affirmation, there is a mirage of protective factors that may influence healthy cultural identity development processes, as well as risk-factors that may affect how youth are able to engage and explore their own ethnic and cultural identities. The roles that parents, teachers and counsellors can have in supporting the development of healthy bi-cultural/multicultural identity development with adolescents can be quite impactful into how a teenager goes about engaging in their ethnic/cultural identity exploration and affirmation processes. One of the challenges is that despite an increase in bi-cultural/multicultural teenagers in Canadian society, there is little to no literature on how to best assist this population when a need for counselling arises. The main purpose of this paper is to better understand how to support adolescents in their own identity exploration processes, with a focus on supporting the healthy development of youths relationships with parts of their identities as they relate to their bi-cultural/ multicultural backgrounds. Recommendations are presented as to how counsellors supporting bi-cultural/multicultural teenagers can better support their clients, with a particular focus on providing ideas on how to explore the potential influence bicultural stressors have to some of the psychological symptoms some bi-cultural/multicultural youth might have.
adolescents , bicultural stress , bicultural , ethnic identity , cultural identity , multicultural , ethnic socialization