Professional Frameworks in Counselling.
Difference and Diversity Assignment.
Unit 2. Counselling in a Diverse Society.
Learning Outcome One.
1.1. Using examples, evaluate the relevance of the following in the counselling process:- stereotyping, language issues, different belief systems, family structures, family life experiences. Stereotyping.
Stereotyping is a natural human activity that counsellors and therapists also do. The value of a stereotype is that it can provide a useful shorthand for both counsellor and client, so they do not have to rewrite getting to know a person from scratch. It is a vital function of our memory systems. It also helps people to connect and relate with each other.
However, stereotyping can also be based on assumptions and presumptions about people which leads to judgementalism and can result in a bypass of the counsellor’s capacity for empathy. As such, it is highly relevant to the counselling experience. Stereotypes are not fresh or born of the present moment and tend to reduce the full humanity of a person and obscure the bigger picture. Rather than deny that we make assumptions and operate from stereotypes, our tutors have proposed that it is much more healthy and helpful to the counselling process for the counsellor to be aware of any stereotypes they might have. The value of recognising a stereotype is that it frees both parties from inauthentic relating. I would guess that the more difference there is between the client and the counsellor, the more likely a stereotype is to exist. To assess the worth or quality of the relevance of stereotyping and see both the strengths and weaknesses of it, I will take the following examples. As a counsellor, I would first of all need to be very aware of my own personal stereotyping. For instance, I do hold the view that young people in their 20s are too young to fully appreciate or relate to the value of money. This impedes me from being able to see the true values that a young client would be putting on money. They might not be able to organise their money or plan for things they want to do in the future due to inexperience, and they might need some help in this area, but the judgement I would be holding would not let me see this need. The relevance of stereotyping comes from people observing patterns of human nature in other people and perhaps in themselves. The danger of it being a shorthand is that it can mean we objectify other people and do not allow ourselves to have a direct fresh up-to-date heartfelt relationship with the person who we are relating with. As a counsellor to a young person in their 20s, I would need to find simple open questions that allowed the client to explore his relationship with money. I might also reveal my own struggles with money management, in order to create empathy. Our tutors pointed out that honouring difference, valuing differences, can deepen the connection or bond between counsellor and client by deepening the capacity for empathy. Personally, I feel I don’t carry many prejudices about people’s racial backgrounds. I’ve travelled a lot in my life and found many ways to connect with people of different races. However, because of difficulties I have had while working in Scotland, I do hold prejudices against Scottish people. The only strength or value I can see of holding this stereotype or prejudice about the Scottish national identity would be if it were to be true for the client in any given moment. For instance, one aspect of this that I feel to be true is that Scottish people hold themselves to be different, and generally to be badly treated by their English neighbours. It could be helpful to assess freshly with the client the veracity of this particular stereotype. If the stereotype is actually true, for the client, then they can be of value for it. If it is not true, this might be an opportunity for empathy in connection with the client. Where stereotyping might make a...
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