Culture and Culturally Competent Counselors

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Being Culturally Competent
Letitia Batton
Walden University

Being Culturally Competent
Counselors should have a sense of compassion and respect for people who are culturally different. As a social worker, it is easy to make diagnosis based on verbal and non-verbal presentation of our clients. Hays (2008) stated there are many factors to assess which include race, class, family structure, culture, relationships, religion, and generational/cultural influences. Based on the case study of Mrs. Hudson her externalizing behaviors may stem from an underlying anxiety disorder. It seems that her attacks are not medical in nature that is why she was referred by her primary doctor. She just recently started having these attacks and they happen out of the home and when she has to interact with others. Her assessment reveals that she is presently considered middle class, attended church prior to attacks, family oriented, and educated. Some potential concerns could be her daughter’s illness and past issues with her father that never got closure. Haitian culture relies on spiritual healing more so than Americanized tradition and this may be a big step for Mrs. Hudson (Pierce & Elisme, 2001). Counselors must be trained and competent when implementing diagnosis with culturally diverse clients. (Sue, 2008). DSM-IV provides counselors a tool to evaluate client’s cultural context (Hays, 2008). This process helps counselor’s assess their client’s background, cultural explanation of their issues, client’s environment, relationships, and overall cultural assessment to diagnosis and treatment (APA, 2002). Researchers have argued that the DSM-IV does not accurately represent all minorities (APA, 2002). It is important that counselors understand the family structure in order to provide the most accurate assessment information possible. Unfortunately, counselors are not immune to stereotypes. Beliefs in stereotypes, whether conscious or not, may lead to incorrect diagnosis and...
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