Advancement Of Counseling: Article Analysis

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Harper, F. D., Guilbault, M., Tucker, T., & Austin, T. (2007). Happiness as a goal of counseling: Cross-cultural implications. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 29(2), 123-136. doi:http://dx.doi.org.jproxy.lib.ecu.edu/10.1007/s10447-007-9030-0

The authors of the article discuss the concept of happiness as a therapy goal, explore the variables that are likely to influence our subjective well-being, and analyze the perceptions of happiness in different counseling theories. In addition, the authors examined the variances in the level of happiness in various cultures.
Harper, Guilbault, Tucker, and Austin claim that the theories they discussed incorporate both Western and Eastern approaches to positive
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Happy people make choices that allow them to function independently, and lead to psychological autonomy. However, I do not share that view. In multicultural counseling, it is well known that Western and Eastern worlds are very different. Happiness is highly valued and highly desirable in our Western society. And so is independence, autonomy, self-reliance, and individualism. Therefore, the theory about encouraging people to make individual decisions and gain more control over their life makes sense when counseling individuals were raised in Western culture, but it clashes with the Eastern approach that focuses on interdependence, relationships, commitment to social obligations, and orientation to social harmony. For that reason, I disagree with the authors who concluded that the counselor should help clients understand that happiness is “…more a result of individual choices and intentional actions and less a result of influential circumstances and conditions in one’s life” (p. 12). This may not fit a client with a strong Eastern ethnic identity, who may not embrace the individualistic cultural values, and associates happiness with being interdependent with relevant others and fulfilling his or her …show more content…
We should not forget to consider alternative concepts and interpretations of happiness, because in different cultures and languages, this concept has different meanings. For example, in some Asian countries, it is not expressed by one word, but by a few different ones that do not have the same depth of ‘feeling happy’ that the English word might have for people from Western cultures. Considering the diversity of its meanings, I believe in an eclectic, not universal definition of happiness, especially in the context of a multicultural therapy. I do not think there is one all-inclusive, across-the-board way of approaching this complex construct. Culturally sensitive counselors should recognize that it is a multifaceted phenomenon that cannot be simply deduced to be a consequence of one’s actions and decisions. Well-intentioned but culturally inappropriate therapeutic interventions can be counterproductive, so before we decide if happiness should or should or should not be the goal of counseling, we need to deepen our understanding of not only what it means to be happy, but also what role culture plays in our client’s personal journey to

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