• Counseling Across the Cultural Divide: A Clemmont E. Vontress Reader

Counseling Across the Cultural Divide: A Clemmont E. Vontress Reader

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ISBN 978 1 906254 49 0 (2012)
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How’s this for a story? Clemmont E. Vontress fell in love with existential counselling after a chance encounter with the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in a Paris café. Sartre’s sobering depiction of the human condition resonated with Vontress’ experience of racism and the segregation of post-World War II America. For over 50 years he has been a leading advocate of the existential approach to counselling, and has popularized the link between existential and cross-cultural counselling, showing that existential concepts are part of all the world’s cultures and are universally understandable. For the first time, sixteen of Vontress’ pioneering papers are collected in the pages of this book.

You will find a legacy of powerful articles stemming from the late 1960s and stretching into the present that built his case for the influence of culture on all aspect of counseling. Dr. Clemmont Vontress’s  writings embody a rich humanistic-existential perspective that differed from his academic peers. He believed that culture and race can be transcended in counseling if the counselor works on seeing each client’s humanity. Vontress strove to deepen the profession’s guiding theories by reminding practitioners that good multicultural counseling theories take account of the inequities of society; the suffering inherent in the human condition; and the imperfections and limitations of the counselor applying those theories.

The collection is added to by contributions from an impressive group of international scholars who have contextualized Vontress’s work in their particular counseling and psychotherapy context.

Foreward  Professor Joseph E. Trimble



PART A: Cross-Cultural Counseling
The Search for a Universal Culture: Vontress’ Vision of Cross-Cultural Counseling   Lawrence Epp
1. The Awakening of a Cross-cultural Counselor: A personal retrospective   Clemmont  E. Vontress
2. Racial and Ethnic Barriers in Counseling   Clemmont  E. Vontress
3.   Counseling Middle-Aged and Aging Cultural Minorities   Clemmont  E. Vontress
4.   Social Class Influences on Counseling   Clemmont  E. Vontress
5.   Cross-Cultural Counseling in the 21st Century   Clemmont  E. Vontress

PART B: Counseling African Americans
Counseling African Americans:  Clemmont Vontress's pioneering thoughts on a Black sychology Courtland C. Lee

6. The Negro against Himself  Clemmont E. Vontress
7. Historical Hostility in the African American Client: Implications for counseling  Clemmont E. Vontress & Lawrence Epp
8. The Breakdown of Authority: Implications for counseling young African American males   Clemmont E. Vontress
9. Cultural Dysthymia: An unrecognized disorder among African Americans?    Clemmont E. Vontress, Charles Woodland & Lawrence Epp

PART C: Existentialism and Cross-Cultural Counseling
Existential Counseling: The Heart of Clemmont Vontress’s thought   Lawrence Epp

10.  Existential Anxiety: Implications for counseling   Clemmont  E. Vontress
11.  An Existential Approach to Cross-cultural Counseling   Clemmont  E. Vontress
12.  On Becoming an Existential Cross-cultural Counselor   Clemmont  E. Vontress
13.   Existential Therapy   Clemmont  E. Vontress

Part D: Traditional Healers and Healing
Traditional Healing: A Culmination of Clemmont Vontress’s Ideas   Humair Yusuf

14.   Traditional healing in Africa: Implications for cross-cultural counseling    Clemmont  E. Vontress
15.   Interview with a Traditional African Healer   Clemmont  E. Vontress
16.   Animism: Foundation of traditional healing in sub-Saharan Africa   Clemmont  E. Vontress

PART E:  Clemmont E. Vontress in an International Context
17: Situating Multicultural Counselling in the Canadian Cultural Context: A reflection on Clemmont Vontress’s works   Ben C. H. Kuo
18: Vontress, Milticulturalism and Psychology in the Caribbean   Omowale Ameleru-Marshall
19: Counselling in Francophone Africa: A reflection on Clemmont E. Vontress’s  legacy   Lonzozou Kpanake
20: Clemmont Vontress’s Cross-cultural and Humanistic-Existential Approaches: Their relevance to counseling diverse South African communities   Edmarié Pretorius, Sharon Moonsamy & Gillian Eagle
21: Approaching Therapy across Cultures: Clemmont Vontress from a British perspective   Colin Lago
22:  Individual Identity, Psychosocial Conditions, and Existential Anxiety:Vontress in the Context of the U.S.A.   Gargi Roysircar & Jessica Mayo

Editors and Contributors


Clemmont E. Vontress has been a pioneer and scholar in the field of multiculturalism for over 40 years. This collection of introductory commentaries, Vontress's own writings and those of other leading practitioners and theorists in this arena, provides an opportunity for the reader to explore the building blocks his existential approach to working with cultural difference …I have used this book when teaching on counselling modules in the UK, and have found it readily applicable in British and wider arenas. It is an essential read for all counsellors for the light it throws on the interplay of culture and ethnicity as critical variables in therapeutic process. Devine Charura, Senior Lecturer, Leeds Metropolitan University, Therapy Today February 2013.

This book contains some of the most important works from a pioneer in the discipline of multicultural counseling. The ideas of Clemmont Vontress that are presented in this volume are foundational to an understanding not only of Black psychology, but of the existential condition of human beings everywhere.
Courtland C. Lee, Professor, University of Maryland, Fellow of the American Counseling Association; Past President of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development.

Vontress was and is a Pioneer and Leader in the field of multiculturalism. The articles and chapters of this book describe and define our own growing and changing cultural identity in very personal building blocks of conceptional growth and awareness. As you read this book you will be reading about yourself.
Paul Pedersen, Emeritus Professor, Syracuse University

Clemmont E. Vontress

Clemmont E. Vontress, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus of Counseling at the George Washington University. He was named Counselor-Educator of the Year by The American Mental Health Counselors’ Association in  1993, was awarded the Life Contribution Award by The American Counseling Association in 1997, and received the University of Toronto Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. He is recognized as a pioneer in cross-cultural counseling and has published prolifically in this area.

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Clemmont E. Vontress

Roy Moodley

Roy Moodley was born and raised in South Africa, but spent just as many years in England. He now lives and works in Toronto, Canada as a university teacher and researcher. He has co-edited Carl Rogers Counsels a Black Client and Counseling across the Cultural Divide: A Clemmont Vontress Reader, both for PCCS Books.

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Roy Moodley