THE IMPACT OF MULTICULTURAL EXPOSURE ON MALTESE SOCIETY IN THE LATE 20TH AND EARLY 21ST CENTURY AND ITS CHALLENGE FOR COUNSELLORS
A Narrative Ethnographic Approach
Maria Gabriele Doublesin M.A. T-Couns. B.Psy. (Hons)
This narrative ethnographic study is an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of issues pertaining to multiculturalism and its impact on Maltese people over the last 40 years. The study is based on a priori concepts found in literature and on the narratives of lived experiences of six English speaking Maltese counsellors. The review of literature is linked to the findings resulting from the narrations of the counsellors and explored from the perspective of social constructional matters. The term ‘multicultural’ is defined as multi-faceted and does not merely indicate cultural issues pertaining to multi-ethnicity. Through local literature and the interviews, it is suggested that the apprehension of the Maltese people to embrace multiculturalism is rooted in their experience of being subjugated by foreign powers in the past and in the belief that embracing multiculturalism will be at the expense of traditional and moral values. It is noted that socio-economic change in Malta happened in such a rapid way between the 20th and 21st century that people seem to have great difficulty in coping with such fluidity. The participants reported that they feel challenged when working in a multicultural and a multi-ethnical environment with clients with abilities, needs and explanatory models that are different from their own and beyond their field of experience. The biggest challenges they face are related to the increase in complexity of issues pertaining to family, gender and youth. The study reveals the need for further research in this area to assist the development of Malta specific theoretical models and training programmes that would help improve the efficiency of Malta’s counsellors and enhance the quality of coexistence between people hailing from different cultures and civilizations in Malta.
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