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Facing Challenges of Cultural Diversity

Cultural diversity poses challenges to every therapist. There are times when we would encounter clients whose values are different from ours. The case of Allison is an ideal example of how a therapist’s cultural orientation contrasts with that of the client. As mentioned in the analysis of Herlihy and Corey (2005), Carmen’s cultural orientation is strictly patriarchal, while that of Allison’s is individualistic. The conflict arising from their cultural orientation causes a disruption in the therapy process.

From a therapist’s perspective, it is clear that Allison fails to provide assistance to Carmen due to her cultural bias and superiority complex. Allison demonstrates cultural bias by discussing cultural issues with Carmen, and stressing the importance of deciding for oneself. As we can see, this idea directly expresses to Carmen that her therapist has totally different family values from hers. Similarly, it could also imply to Carmen that her values are unacceptable. As such, Allison clearly divides the line between them.

To worsen the situation, Allison insists that Carmen moves out of her father’s house, which may be an impossible proposition for Carmen. This position may have led Carmen to think that her therapist is insensitive to her father’s feelings and her own emotions as well. Clearly, the goal of helping Carmen adjust to a new environment, and finding a suitable job failed due to Allison’s weaknesses as a therapist. Insensitivity to one’s culture and insisting one’s own views may be a sign of cultural superiority complex.

As Amin (1989) expresses, the term cultural racism has been replaced by cultural superiority of the “white”. Indeed, some people tend to feel that only their values are correct. With foolish pride, they insist to take the lead and expect others to follow. In particular, by providing readings that reflect her own beliefs, Allison shows the tendency towards cultural superiority complex. As Herlihy and Corey mention, cultural biases may be avoided by Allison or other therapists if they have fully assessed their multicultural literacy prior to professional practice.

Self-assessment of one’s multicultural literacy is a prerequisite to the profession. In particular, one should know her ability to accept a client’s values though they may be different from hers. This way, she would determine if her values would affect her clients, and if so, she may decline to handle the case. As Herlihy and Corey contend, it is unethical to provide counseling if the therapist lacks the competence to do so. Aside from self-assessment, Allison should also enrich her knowledge of cultures by regularly updating herself on current trends in psychotherapy.

This requires her participation to professional conferences and forums regarding gender and cultural issues. Conferring with other therapists and sharing experiences will help her develop a more open mind regarding cultural differences. In practice, therapists who possess profound understanding of cultural issues may show more tolerance of client’s views. It should be clear though that therapists do not have to share common beliefs with their clients in order to be successful in their counseling.

What therapists should do is to listen to their client’s views, and offer possible choices the client could take. Again, note that the choices should not neglect client’s values. However, let us also consider a worst case scenario wherein the client feels unreasonable to follow her own culture, and seeks a professional who can offer other views that may apply to her situation. In this case, the therapist could be in the position to discuss her own views but not to impose them on the client. Simply, the therapist’s views should be treated as suggestions the client may either consider or decline.

References Blount, James. (1992). The theory of cultural racism. A radical journal of geography. Vol. 23. Retrieved January 11, 2008, from http://www. mdcbowen. org/p2/rm/theory/blaut. htm Herlihy, Barbara and Gerald Corey. (2005). ACA ethical standards casebook. (Insert place of publication and name of publisher here. ) Preferred language style: English(U. S. )

Using the text from the ACA Ethical Standards Case book chapter 2 text Ive atttached and Case 3 on Allison Ive also attached , write the following paper answering the following: 1. ) What steps might you suggest Allison take to enhance her awareness, knowledge and skills to become a more culturally reponsive counselor? 2. ) In your oppinion, do counselors have to share the racial and cultural background of their client to be effective? 3. ) Compare how Allison handled the stuation and determine how your own response, might be similar or different? How are you going to ensure that multicultural competence and literacy are demonstarted in both your professional and personal life? Please cite from text and 1 other source of your own.

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