Exploring Cultural Competencies
Bowling Green State University
Being culturally competent of a student’s culture is essential for school counselors within a diverse population. In order for a school counselor to be culturally competent, it is essential for them to be aware of three major ideas: know yourself, know the student, and know the technique. Within these three competencies there are common themes that are utilized throughout each. Beliefs and attitudes, knowledge, and skills are all indispensable within the context of school counseling. Throughout the evolution of school counseling, these concepts have been consistent with multicultural counseling. However, based on recent research counselors are developing reason to believe that it is also imperative to explore spirituality as one of the competencies. These multicultural counseling competencies as well as spirituality will all be explored within this paper in regards to how school counselors (and myself, as a school counselor in training) can best counsel and work through the diverse issues of their students. The competencies being addressed can be further explored in Operationalization of the Multicultural Counseling Competencies (Arredondo, et al., 1996). Counselor Awareness of Own Cultural Values and Biases
In order for a school counselor to be effective within this role, they must know their own cultural values and biases that they will be carrying with them throughout their professional journey. By self reflecting on their own attitudes and beliefs, knowledge, and skills a school counselor will help a school counselor to become more self aware of what these values and biases are within their life. Self-awareness is crucial when working with a diverse culture of students as a school counselor. Attitudes and beliefs are consistent across all cultures and generations, regardless of where they are at in their life-span development. Therefore, school counselors also carry their own attitudes and beliefs. Since many school counselors work with diverse student populations, they should learn more about their own attitudes and beliefs and how they are expressed in their life. This is an important standard because students’ ethics, thinking, and perspectives are influenced by their own attitudes and beliefs (Wolf, 2004). It’s common for a school counselor to not be bothered when they are working with students who have similar cultural backgrounds of their own. However, a potential challenge presents itself when school counselors assist students from different cultures, ethnicities, and/or spiritualties (Wolf, 2004). A school counselor must be able to acknowledge their own limits of their own multicultural competencies and expertise, as well as understand when they are beginning to feel discomfort with the differences that will come out between themselves and their students. Along with attitudes and beliefs comes the need for a school counselor to retain knowledge about their own culture. There is specific information within the school counselor’s culture and heritage that can both personally and professionally affect their ability and effectiveness throughout the counseling process. A significant challenge is for school counselors to acquire an understanding and knowledge of racial/ethnic identity development with their own cultural history and then apply that knowledge to students' issues and concerns (Holcomb-McCoy, 2004). This allows counselors to acknowledge how their own culture has suffered or maybe even benefited from the cultural racisms throughout history. In order for school counselors to continue to practice cultural competency in counseling, they must maintain the skills and education as this multi-cultural world continues to change. It is essential for school counselors to continue to seek consultation, further training and education, as well...
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