Ethnics in Counselling

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In todays society how would a counsellor demonstrate their ability to facilitate a client from a multicultural background. By Beth Williams Nowadays the issue of multiculturalism is always an important factor to consider as in most countries there are a huge range of multiculturalism within the country and its communities.

There are different aspects of ethnicity to consider also such as Sexuality, Gender, Race and culture.

This assignment will examine the issue of culture and the way in which it can affect a counselling relationship between a client and a counsellor.

There is no doubt counsellors have to be aware of the complications when it comes to culture (Pederson & Ivey 1993). Within a culture people develop patterns of behaviour that they have learnt.

Cultural identity differences can be perceived between themselves and other groups and can also be based on personal preferences i.e. Language, religion, lifestyle, Birthplace or even life experiences.

There is a danger that if counsellors minimise cultural differences they are likely to impose the larger multicultural groups similarities upon the smaller multicultural groups and uphold one group as being more important than the other. Over-emphasising the differences may result in difficulty finding common ground upon which to build the counselling relationship.

A counsellor should maintain a balance by recognising the importance of the similarities and differences, and understand them, build a good communication and counselling relationship. (Pederson 1994) Without cultural awareness counsellors may engage in faulty information, processing that they may limit the client to fair counselling:-

i.e. Asians show now or little affections in counselling, but may have symptoms like headaches instead.

Eye contact in Chinese people is very limited, this may give the counsellor the impression that they are not comfortable and unable to open up, but this could actually mean they are showing respect for the counsellor and not low esteem.

Pederson (1994) proposed a broad definition of multicultural counselling, which includes:-

Ethnographic variables such as ethnicity, nationality, religion and language. Demographic variables such as age, gender and places of residence. Status variables such as social, educational, and economic. And affiliations including both formal affiliations to family or organisations and informal affiliations to ideas and a lifestyle (Page 229)

So what exactly does Multicultural counselling consist of? And how is this approach promoted?

Ivey et al (1997 page 134) describes multicultural counselling as a met theoretical approach that recognises that all helping methods ultimately exist within a cultural context. Multiculturalism
* Starts with awareness of differences among and within clients * Stresses the importance of family and cultural factors affecting the way clients view the world * Challenges counsellors and researchers to rethink the meaning of counselling and pay attention to family and cultural concerns. * Multicultural approach to counselling is relatively new * Implications for practice is still being developed

Sue ET el (1995 page 633) developed a ‘conceptual framework for cross-cultural competencies’. It consists of a three by three matrix that most cross-cultural skills can be organised or developed * Awareness of own assumptions, values and biases

* Understanding the world view of culturally different client * Developing appropriate intervention strategies and techniques Hough (2010) states that over the recent years there has been a decided focus on race as a factor in counselling and the BACP is committed to research and the implementation of good practice in the context of intercultural and cross cultural counselling So what are the BACPs ethical frameworks to ensure this is done successfully? Their commitments to their clients are to respect human rights and...
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