Using Language Interpreters in Counseling Essay

Using Language Interpreters in Counseling Essay

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In counseling language is the main therapeutic tool used by clinicians. In order to correctly diagnose and treat a client the client needs to be able to communicate what they are feeling and what symptoms they are experiencing. Clients whose second language is English may require an interpreter because many social workers or counselors only speak English. Many of the populations that social workers or counselors work with in therapy, are either not fluent in English or do not speak English and therefore require the use of an interpreter. The use of an interpreter in counseling can be seen as either an advantage or disadvantage depending on the quality of the interpreter and which type of interpretation model is used (Freed, 1988). This paper will look at the use of an interpreter in counseling and what interpretation model is the most effective.
The theoretical approach used to research the use of interpreters in counseling was a culturally grounded approach. According to Marsiglia and Kulis (2009) a culturally grounded approach embraces diversity and multiculturalism and also promotes a change that improves an individual or a group’s quality of life (p. 102-103). Farooq and Fear (2003) state that counseling is a social service that has been shown to need a culturally competent staff and the use of a culturally competent staff improves the quality of service the client receives. Social services are not always culturally competent (Marsiglia & Kulis, 2009). A culturally grounded approach in the research of the use of interpreters in counseling looks at how interpreters improve counseling service provided to clients who either speak English as a second language or do not speak English. The use of a culturally grounded a...

... middle of paper ...

.... (2003). Working through interpreters. Journal of Professional
Development, 9(2), 104-109. doi:10.1192/apt.01.12
Freed, A. O. (1988). Interviewing through an interpreter. Social Work, 33(4), 315-319. Retrieved
from EBSCOhost
Marsiglia, F. F., & Kulis, S. (2009). Social work perspectives: Social context, consciousness and
resiliency. In T. M. Meenaghan & I. C. Colby (Eds.), Culturally grounded social work
diversity, oppression, and change (87-111). Chicago, Illinois: Lyceum Books, Inc.
Westermeyer, J. (1990). Working with an interpreter in psychiatric assessment and treatment.
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 178(12), (745-749). doi:10.109700005053-199012000-00003
Whitsett, M. (2008). Tips for mental health interpretation. Center for Health and Health Care in
Schools [On-line]. Available:; accessed 10/02/2011.

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