Disability Studies in American Counseling: 2003-13


In recent years, multiculturalism has become a recognized aspect of the counseling profession. Nevertheless, despite the increase in recognition, academic publications are yet to address the demand for reliable data on the matter. The following paper provides a report of a journal article that highlights the said issue and outlines the viable directions for further research in the field.

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Journal Information

The selected article was published in the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, a publication aimed at promoting critical thinking, social justice, and multicultural competencies in the field of counseling. The journal’s general editor is Cirecie A. West-Olatunji, the president of the American Counseling Association, who also serves as Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress Research and Associate Professor and Academic Program Director of the Counseling Program at the University of Cincinnati (Center for Traumatic Stress Research, n.d.).

According to the organization’s vision, the journal aims at bridging the historical aspects of knowledge of counseling profession with the recent findings and changes in the field, serving as a platform for an innovative theoretical and methodological scholarship, bringing cultural relevance to the discourse, and highlighting evidence-based interventions suitable for highly diversified populations (West-Olatunji, n.d.). A journal like this is important in the field of psychology for a number of reasons. First, contemporary Western society has become increasingly diversified in recent decades, requiring a significant update of the available cultural competencies in order to maintain the necessary level of proficiency in a counseling profession. Second, the complexity of the contemporary cultural landscape leads to the emergence of new issues on a regular basis and necessitates the existence of a reliable, timely, updated source of scholarly knowledge that acknowledges and incorporates recent trends and findings in the field. In this regard, the selected publication serves as a destination for both responsible researchers and professional counseling entities.

Article Report

The title of the selected article is “A content analysis of research on disability: American Counseling Association journals between 2003 and 2013.” The article was published in October of 2016, in volume 44 of the journal. The authors of the article aimed at providing a comprehensive overview of the content of the American Counseling Association in regard to disability issues. The authors do not formulate either a hypothesis or a research question – instead, their goal is to provide a systematic review that would characterize the current state of disability studies in the academic literature. Therefore, it would be reasonable to characterize the article as an exploratory study that broadly outlines the possible issues without specifying the expected results. The data for analysis was obtained from multiple online databases of scholarly publications. For this reason, the location of the study is not specified.

The process of data collection was conducted using the predefined selection criteria. The resulting dataset was scanned for specific keywords in the titles and abstracts, with disputed entries resolved through discussion. The content analysis was organized in accordance with the content areas identified in the review process. The results were coded and refined until a consensus was reached between all research team members. After this, the results were allocated to six categories, quantified, and organized into tables for additional clarity and accessibility. The focus of the study was on the academic publications from the field of counseling that deal with disability. This area of inquiry was selected to address the insufficient responsiveness of counseling practice to the needs of people with disabilities and develop new models that would be more relevant for the increasing cultural diversity of modern society. According to the authors’ summary, the results indicate the scarcity of research on disability issues in the studied sources.

Specifically, only 1.1% of the articles within the ten-year time span contained the information on the topic (Woo, Goo, Lee, 2016). In addition, the majority of the articles use samples that are not representative of the current highly diversified population. According to the article, these results fail to fully address the growing need for knowledge of diversity, multiculturalism, and advocacy (Woo et al., 2016). Since the article in question is an exploratory study, it is not possible to identify the author’s expectations with certainty. However, it is possible to extrapolate from the views expressed in the background section of the paper that the author did expect inconsistencies and gaps in coverage in the area dealing with disabilities, as the alleged inability to address the growing relevance of multiculturalism is mentioned on multiple occasions throughout the text. It is also important to point out that the results align well with my intuitive persona assessment of the situation since I often find it difficult to locate research on disability that would acknowledge the importance of cultural variables with sufficient scientific rigor.


In my opinion, the study is important as a starting point for identifying specific issues in the field of counseling. While the cultural aspects of the well-being of the population have increased in relevance over the recent years, many of the conclusions made by the professionals in the field are not well-evidenced. Such a situation is unacceptable as it compromises the quality and validity of suggested approaches to address the existing issues and requires adjustment of priorities in both theoretical and practice settings. Thus, the article is significant for counseling professionals and a number of related social disciplines.

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Center for Traumatic Stress Research. (n.d.). Cirecie A. West-Olatunji, Ph. D. Web.

West-Olatunji, J. (n.d.). Vision for the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development (JMCD). Web.

Woo, H., Goo, M., & Lee, M. (2016). A content analysis of research on disability: American Counseling Association journals between 2003 and 2013. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 44(4), 228-244.

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