Counseling the Culturally Diverse
The American culture is considered the cultural ‘melting pot’ of the world. Culture can be described as one’s values, beliefs and traditions, which are shared by a group of individuals. There are numerous different cultures, which means as a counselors one must be aware of diversity and have an open mind to culture differences. It is imperative to also be familiar with the various cultural groups such as the African American, Hispanic and the Lesbian- Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community.
The African American culture which is also known as the Black American Culture survival has been based on having a huge connection to religion, pride in family unity and their creative style of cuisine. These are just a few things the African American culture is built on. Similarly, the characteristics of the African American culture of counseling reside on family values, spirituality and dealing with racism and discrimination. It is important as a counselor to know the history as well as have an understanding about the many other diverse cultures. Culture is a powerful influence amongst many clients, having considerable knowledge will help a counselor to be effective and successful in the profession. For instance family unity is a treasured characteristic within the African American community. This is a result of the horrific historical events stemming from slavery to racial segregation. The family bonds in this culture are very strong; this culture was forced to unite with one another during this time. Counselors who are aware of the history and the significance of family in this culture will avoid a potential conflict. It is imperative for families to continue the tradition of participa...
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...e circumstances have raised many conflicts within the culture of counseling the African American population such as, racial identity concerns, not trusting outsiders. Many African Americans feel more comfortable, with a counselor that can understand and identify with their issues, such as dealing with discrimination, lower socio-class.
Self-reflection is a start to finding strategies for counselors to address these potential sources of cultural conflict. Self-reflection is essential to becoming a culturally cognizant counselor. Counselors should recognize their own biases, feelings, and stereotypical ideas regarding other cultures. Having an open-mind and willing to learn about diversity within cultures is a productive way of moving forward in the counseling profession. Additionally, learning and having a clear understanding about people’s cultures and histories.
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