Culturally Sensitive Counseling

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Effects of Culturally Sensitive Treatment and Counseling on Native American Vocational Rehabilitation Consumers' Success

Table of Contents


Abstract 3

II.Literature Review 4


Overview 7

Participants 7

Measures 8

Procedures 8

IV. Discussion 10
References 11

This research project shows that, in many cases, cultural sensitivity in treatment and case planning can positively affect the outcome of tribal vocational rehabilitation cases. Through case documentation, individual counselors surveyed in this project show how respect for the cultural differences of Native Americans can influence many aspects of vocational rehabilitation in tribal VR programs. Native American healing practices combine religion, spirituality, herbal medicine, and rituals that are used to treat people with medical and emotional conditions. It is often overlooked in favor of Western medicine, but in the cases of many Native American vocational rehabilitation consumers, these practices are the best choice. The consumers' beliefs and values are brought to the forefront when VR counselors utilize these methods, providing needed additional community and cultural support without which the consumers may not achieve long-term employment goals.

Effects of Culturally Sensitive Treatment and Counseling on Native American Vocational Rehabilitation Consumers' Success
By examining the affect of culturally sensitive treatment and case planning on tribal vocational rehabilitation outcomes, this study seeks to show how cultural issues affect the success of cases in tribal VR. In many tribal programs, impediments to successful outcomes include failure to complete or keep up with treatment plans, making and keeping appointments, and maintaining contact between the consumer and their counselor. If VR counselors in tribal programs understand Native American healing and spiritual beliefs and encourage consumers to make use of these practices, they will be able to maintain better relationships with the individuals and have more successful case closures.

Many Native Americans see their healers for spiritual reasons, such as to seek guidance, truth, balance, reassurance, and spiritual well-being, while still using conventional medicine to deal with “white man’s illness.” However, they believe that the spirit is an inseparable element of healing. In many healing traditions, the medicine wheel is an important element. Some medicine wheels are large, elaborate stone structures, others are smaller, shield-like, and can be held in one's hand. The focus of those who use the medicine wheel as a method of healing is in treating the source of the problem, not the symptoms. As the medicine wheel focuses on balance of all things, it is believed that balance will heal a person who is sick, or imbalanced. A shaman is a person of healing who practices in traditional ways. In some traditions, healers are...
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