In the therapeutic situation, it would be a good idea to do a thorough interview and ask questions about their cultural ideas. A counselor can do this if they are sensitive to the issues.
One of the largest differences between the APA and ACA guidelines for multicultural populations is the size of their documents; the APA guidelines were 103 pages while the ACA guidelines were only 3 pages. I think the difference was because the ACA seemed to need to break down each of their guidelines into several steps which meant a lot of documentation. The ACA guidelines were more succinct and gave an easier read. Another difference is that the ACA guidelines are broken down into three basic areas: Counselor awareness of their own cultural values and beliefs, counselor awareness of the clients worldview and culturally appropriate intervention strategies. The APA has five guidelines that are basically the same as the ACA guidelines.
Both guidelines encourage practitioners to become aware of their own values and cultural biases. They both also explain that practitioners should have sensitivity to multicultural issues and to people.
ACA guidelines emphasize education while APA guidelines research. In each case they are encouraging their practitioners to go be mindful of the "importance of multicultural sensitivity/responsiveness, knowledge and understanding" (APA guideline #2) when they are working with diverse groups.
ACA guidelines are more specific to individual counselors. As an example, they suggest that culturally skilled counselors have an understanding of how "race, culture, ethnicity and so forth may affect personality formation…" (ACA Guidelines, B2). This seems to speak to a smaller group of practitioners than the APA guidelines do. These guidelines also suggest that psychologists are not only psychologists, but they are also educators and this means that they should teach multiculturalism in their education of others.
The APA guidelines seemed