In today’s society emerging issues in multiculturalism are affecting people in new ways. Professionals in the health care industry are facing new challenges and are realizing the changes they need to make to continue to help those in need. Individuals are changing as well and becoming uniquely multicultural themselves. These issues affect society and how culturally diverse groups interact but still allow them to live together and share each others experiences. Counseling
Professionals face the issue of how to have successful practices when they are working with clients from so many different backgrounds. Psychologist, counselors, and mental health care professionals are in an ever-changing and demanding position dealing with such a multicultural society and the issues each culture faces. Counseling and therapy for individuals from different cultures can be challenging for today’s professionals because not only are today’s issues ever-changing but so are the cultural views and backgrounds. Cultures are becoming intertwined especially here in the United States and professionals are facing new issues helping individuals deal with problems related to possessing several cultures and backgrounds.
Professionals should have a comfortable understanding of their own cultural beliefs and backgrounds before trying to understand the beliefs and issues of others. Once a Professional is comfortable and understands his own beliefs, he can then learn about the beliefs and values of other cultures without casting judgment or having a close mind with his clients. “If counselors lack sufficient training in multicultural counseling it is likely that they also lack the skills to deal with ethical issues presented by clients with multicultural backgrounds” (Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 2003, p. 1).
Professionals today face the issue of differences in culture and race. Members of the same race have different cultural beliefs and practices so it may be easy for a professional to become confused about a person and his culture if they are viewing the person by their race. For example, the Hispanic race has different cultures including Mexican, Cuban, and Puerto Rican. The professional needs to gather detailed information to understand each client and his individual needs.
Professionals with a lack of knowledge on multicultural issues can lead to negative outcomes such as a misdiagnosis or a client feeling misunderstood. This issue can have an impact on our entire society if professionals are not fully trained and capable of dealing with today’s multicultural issues. If clients are not being properly treated their entire lives can be affected, which can affect the lives of their families and their communities. Professionals should also understand counseling practices throughout the world to better help clients with treatment. Understanding these practices can help clients to interact with diverse groups by allowing them to understand other cultures as well. Multicultural Identity
Multiculturalism is very apparent in the United States today; most people enjoy and accept the fact that they have several cultures within their own family. Today multicultural families not only have issues with their own identities but also they must raise strong, secure, and multicultural children. The amazing thing about the United States is that people are free to express themselves and become independent. This freedom allows cultures to explore and express their traditions and practices without others looking down on them. Not to say that racism and discrimination is not apparent in the United States because it is, but most people living here have an understanding that we are in a multicultural society. Technology has had a large affect on multiculturalism and allows people to better understand themselves and others as well. “Accompanying the growth of human communication has been the erosion of barriers that have, throughout history, geographically, linguistically, and culturally separated people” (Adler, 2002, p. 1). Some individuals may find growing up with a multicultural family can be confusing, whereas others may see this diversity as a blessing and exciting. The multicultural person may sometimes feel as though he cannot specifically identify himself with one race or culture but with the right sources he can receive help on his unique needs. The multicultural person will have an easier time interacting with other culturally diverse groups because he already has an understanding of his unique needs. Conclusion
Counseling and multicultural identity are both emerging issues in multicultural psychology. These issues will continuously change as our society changes and incorporates new ideas and beliefs and although these issues can be challenging, they can be rewarding as well.