Counseling in the Latino Culture

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Case Study of Mario

Abstract
Counseling members of the Latino culture who reside in the United States comes with many challenges, as family structure, economic, and social factors influence an individual’s ability to cope with his new surroundings. In the case study of Mario, an examination of his US residency and the motivational role his family played in his relocation is crucial in determining his mental state and understanding of support. Latino men are generally hesitant to seek counseling and admit weakness, and the mandate of the court for treatment may even create more resistance in the case of Mario. While treatment goals would include a complete abstinence from addictive substances, deeper success would come with a realization of his coping mechanisms and the environment factors triggering their defenses. Measures success will be found in the increased ability for Mario to self-disclose during treatment, cooperating in native-language journaling, and attendance and voluntary participation in addiction oriented group counseling.

Personal Information
When first meeting with Mario, I would like to understand more about who he is. Since we may not have complete file on his demographics, I would like to know his age, marital status, original residence, if he has children, and current employment situation. I would like to know about his journey to get into the United States, as well as the decision making that went into the process. Considering that he has left his family behind, I would like to know who he is staying with or his current living conditions. Since the ties among family are highly valued in the Hispanic culture, determining whose choice it was for Mario to enter the United States illegally would assist in understanding his emotional state and stability. As mentioned by Torres & Zayas (2009), “Latino men are intensely devoted to their families, take great pride in their ability to provide for and protect their wives and children, and are deeply connected to their extended families and their broader communities” (Torres & Zayas, 2009, p.206). In light of this, I would like to know the motivation for being in the United States despite the risks associated with his alien status. I would also like to know if he any contact with his family back home. I would also like to know about his family background. The primary source of identity and self-esteem in a Latino is found in his familial structure (Torres-Rivera, 2004). Additionally, the family culture of the Latino population heavily involves the teaching and cultures of the Roman Catholic church, which is a source of Mario’s social interaction (Hildebrand, Phenice, Gray, & Hinesm, 2008). The family structure and culture also provides understanding of the level of acceptance or tolerance for substance abuse, and whether or not there are any moral objections to such behaviors by relatives and his original community. This provides an avenue from which to pursue support or determine a weak spot in his associations (Torres-Rivera, 2004). I think it would also be pertinent to follow his journey in the United States for the past five years. How many times has he been unemployed? What different cultures, ethnicities, and attitudes has he been exposed too? How has he learned to communicate with others? Research show the social and economic conditions play a significant role in substance abuse among Latinos (Black, DeBlassie, Paz, 1991). Realizing what he has been exposed to may provide insight into his need or decision to abuse alcohol or other substances. Personal Biases and Limitations

Having had previous exposure to the Latino community through a non-profit organization, I feel that I am comfortable around their culture. One of the keys to building successful rapport with a Latino client is familiarizing oneself with the Latino community and culture, and I think that my desire to become more education about diversity would allow me to...
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