Cultural humility and cultural competence in counseling: An exploratory mixed methods investigation

Peitao Zhu, Melissa M. Luke, Yanhong Liu, Qiu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using an exploratory sequential mixed methods research design, we investigated the relationship between cultural humility (CH) and cultural competence (CC), two concepts that have been widely discussed in the multicultural counseling literature. We first adopted a thematic analysis to explore how 14 experienced counselor educators perceived the CH–CC relationship and identified three preliminary themes. Then, we utilized quantitative analyses to test the hypotheses derived from the qualitative themes, based on a sample of 434 adults who received mental health services. Both qualitative and quantitative results supported that CH and CC (a) share conceptual alignment; (b) emphasize on different aspects of counselor characteristics and behaviors in cultural contexts; and (c) both play an integral, yet slightly varied, role during the counseling process. We discuss implications regarding embracing CH and CC in the counseling practice, counselor educator, and future research on multicultural counseling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Counseling and Development
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • counseling
  • counselor education
  • cultural competence
  • cultural humility
  • mixed methods research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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