Racial Oppression and Counseling a Client from an Ethnic Minority

Racial Oppression and Counseling a Client from an Ethnic Minority

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It is pertinent to study the history of racial oppression when preparing to counsel a client from an ethnic minority if the counselor is from the majority culture. The problem is it would be difficult to examine the complete history and would be highly impossible especially in a short time. However, a therapist can gain knowledge of some of the essentials of history such as, religion, family structure, and background information. If the therapist or counselor is uncomfortable counseling these individuals he/or she can refer the client to someone who has more knowledge or has the same cultural background as the client. For instance, a therapist must become aware of the sociopolitical dynamics that form not only their clients’ views, but their own as well. Racial and cultural dynamics may interfere into the helping process and cause misdiagnosis, confusion, pain and reinforcement of biases and prejudices towards their client.
Although, even if the therapist is from the same cultural background this can still be hard to counsel these clients because of different traditions, language dialects, family values, and ancestry. This does not mean that the therapist cannot help these clients, but this could hinder the therapist and client relationship if brought up in an entire different environment. For instance, you can have two individuals from the same cultural background and family values, but these individuals live in an entirely different environment or learned different family values and belief system. When working with a diverse client, it is very important to monitor your own culturally beliefs and be willing to work with the client no matter if you have any biases or prejudice towards them. Some of the strategies that could be helpful in these situations include, (a) treat the client the same way you would like to be treated, (b) research some information about the clients background and, (c) beware of your own cultural biases and prejudices when counseling minorities if your unaware of their backgrounds.

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These examples can promote effective and a healthy relationship with a potential minority client in the future. In conclusion, it is valuable to learn the history of racial oppression when preparing to work with a client in the future. Therapists need to be able to shift their therapeutic styles to meet the developmental needs of other minorities. Counseling preparation programs need to include training program to counselors that focus on religion, cultural and sociopolitical aspects of learning.
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