Study culture and Cultural learning model(Cultural encapsulation)

Cultural encapsulation

People learn their culture through enculturation, a process with which they get the skills needed to function in a certain sociocultural system (Spradley & Phillips, 1972). A person who is cultured "has included cultural norms given in such a way that the person exemplifies the culture" (Ward, 1984, p. 54). 

Being cultured without awareness of personal culture can cause cultural encapsulation. Encapsulation is metaphorically defined by Augsburger (1986) as "the natural tendency among humans to see the world only stretches from the horizon to the horizon or feel only with the one among the familiar limits. 

When such boundaries become - consciously or unconsciously - borne and seen as a gift, they function as if absolutization "(p. 22). Augsburger continued by saying that the counselor was very vulnerable to cultural encapsulation. Their sensitivity to communication patterns goes beyond verbal and tendencies to interpret these patterns in accordance with culturally bound assumptions. At the same time, this skill can be the same that helps advisers who are aware of the culture in dealing with and overcoming encapsulation.

Cultural encapsulation does not occur from evil desires to be embedded and unconscious but from limited awareness of one's own culture and ethnicity, culture and groups, and significant differences between cultures. Usually develops as an unconscious effort to simplify the confusion and contradictions presented by various experiences found in the world. 

With regard to counselors, cultural encapsulation can be generated from four sources: (1) lack of exposure to various groups, either with choices or coincidences; (2) attach a little interest to the cultural differences recorded between them and their clients; (3) Maintaining wrong belief that certain counseling and therapy methods are universally applicable; and (4) the lack of willingness to explore and question their own beliefs, especially those related to stereotypes, bias, and assumptions. Discarded individuals rarely recognize the process of cultural encapsulation. 

In their book about cross-cultural development, Munroe and Munroe (1975) suggest a useful mental picture: analog to fish that does not see water where he is swimming, humans remain unaware of the culture of development where they live. 

In some cases, counselor training programs contribute to encapsulation by emphasizing traditional counseling and therapy methods and by minimizing the importance of counselor training to recognize and respond to differences between groups (Augsburger, 1986). By accidentally or intentionally avoiding these important topics and allowing ethnocentric thinking to survive, the training program implicitly teaches cultural bias.

There are three main ways where we learn the culture. 

One way is with an IV; That is, the meeting of unintentional cultural components and their assimilation becomes a pattern of working and behavior that is working. I spent most of my childhood in Deep South. By listening and observing the pattern of relational interaction, I learn, without formal training, that children always use "master" and "mu" when talking to adults. 

I was a little disappointed when I studied in the northern state of Kentucky that other regions in the United States did not observe the same practice. Likewise, the sense of the virtue of groups, values ​​held by most of the world, is naturally studied through relationships with groups, and not through formal education. Furthermore, we study our culture intentionally, using more formal aspects of education. During this process, our "second nature" culture moves into consciousness.


Mwombela, B. (2019). Multicultural Competency of Pre-Service School Counseling Students: Exploratory Factor Analysis of the Multicultural Counseling Competency Training Survey-Revised.

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