Race, Ethnicity and Gender in Therapy

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Personal Reflection Paper Before this course, there were many rumors about how it progressed and what would be taught. So at the beginning, which was not so long ago, these rumors were percolating in my head and have created a sort of stigma concerning learning about social context within clinical practice. I hope by the end of the quarter this set of rumor is put to rest and there is much learned to apply to my current and future clinical practice. Relational Assessment Social Context Race and ethnicity can influence a client’s experience of self and others in a variety of ways. A client’s personal race and ethnicity can influence his or her experience within the context of therapy through the set of beliefs he or she brings into the room. This set of beliefs and customs influences how he or she views therapy and whether there is motivation to be there. If the client’s culture does not usually seek therapy for their problems, or even believe in mental illness, it is likely the client will have apprehensions about trusting or speaking to the clinician. If the clinician is not aware of this possibility, the clinician may wonder why the client is in therapy if he or she will not speak or allow rapport to be built. A responsible clinician will take this into consideration. Cultural meanings of gender can play heavily into therapeutic effects of the client. A female client who is in therapy with her male partner may not have the “right” to speak against what he is saying if she disagrees; some cultures forbid the woman to go against her male partner or even speak in the presence of a male stranger, which could be the clinician. On the other hand, a male client with the above cultural custom may view a female clinician in a nega... ... middle of paper ... ...and needs but should also make room for focus on his or her partner’s goals and needs. It is fantastic to be ambitious and want things in life for oneself, but if a partner is in those desires and needs, it is also imperative to keep those desires in the client’s mind. A client is more likely to notice a partner’s needs and feelings if he or she has the ability to be sensitive to another person’s needs; some clients may not have this ability. Works Cited Almeida, R. V., Dolan-Del, V. K., & Parker, L. (2008). Transformative family therapy: Just families in a just society. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. Knudson-Martin, C., & Mahoney, A. R. (2009). Couples, gender, and power: Creating change in intimate relationships. New York: Springer. Tatum, B. (2003). Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: Revised Edition. New York: Basic Books.

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