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CHAPTER 6 BARRIERS TO MULTICULTURAL COUNSELING AND THERAPY






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CHAPTER 6 BARRIERS TO MULTICULTURAL COUNSELING AND THERAPY. Marginal Person. The marginal person, coined by Stonequist (1937) refers to one’s ability to form a dual ethnic identification due to a bicultural membership. GENERIC CHARACTERISTICS OF COUNSELING/THERAPY.
CHAPTER 6 BARRIERS TO MULTICULTURAL COUNSELING AND THERAPY

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CHAPTER 6 BARRIERS TO MULTICULTURAL COUNSELING AND THERAPY

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Marginal Person

The marginal person, coined by Stonequist (1937) refers to one’s ability to form a dual ethnic identification due to a bicultural membership

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GENERIC CHARACTERISTICS OF COUNSELING/THERAPY

  • 1. Culture-bound values — individual centered, verbal/emotional/behavioral expressiveness, communication patterns from client to counselor, openness and intimacy, analytic/linear/verbal (cause-effect) approach, and clear distinctions between mental and physical well-being.

  • 2. Class-bound values — strict adherence to time schedules (50-minute, once-or-twice-a-week meeting), ambiguous or unstructured approach to problems, and seeking long-range goals or solutions.

  • 3. Language variables — use of Standard English and emphasis on verbal communication.

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CULTURE BOUND VALUES OF COUNSELING/THERAPY

  • 1. Focus on the individual.

  • Most forms of counseling and psychotherapy tend to be individual centered — that is, they emphasize the “I-thou” relationship.

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CULTURE BOUND VALUES OF COUNSELING/THERAPY

  • 2. Verbal/Emotional/Behavioral Expressiveness.

  • Many counselors and therapists tend to emphasize the fact that verbal/emotional/behavioral expressiveness is important in individuals.

  • We like our clients to be verbal, articulate, and to be able to express their thoughts and feelings clearly.

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CULTURE BOUND VALUES OF COUNSELING/THERAPY

  • 3. Insight.

  • This characteristic assumes that it is mentally beneficial for individuals to obtain insight or understanding into their deep underlying dynamics and causes.

  • Born from the tradition of psychoanalytic theory, many theorists tend to believe that clients who obtain insight into themselves will be better adjusted.

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CULTURE BOUND VALUES OF COUNSELING/THERAPY

  • 4. Self-Disclosure (Openness and Intimacy).

  • Most forms of counseling and psychotherapy tend to value one’s ability to self-disclose and to talk about the most intimate aspects of one’s life.

  • Self-disclosure has often been discussed as a primary characteristic of the healthy personality.

  • People who do not self-disclose readily in counseling and psychotherapy are seen as possessing negative traits such as being guarded, mistrustful, and/or paranoid.

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CULTURE BOUND VALUES OF COUNSELING/THERAPY

  • 5. Scientific Empiricism.

  • Counseling and psychotherapy in Western culture and society has been described as being highly linear, analytic, and verbal in their attempt to mimic the physical sciences.

  • It emphasizes the scientific method - objective rational linear thinking. The therapist is objective and neutral, rational and logical in thinking. Quantitative evaluation that includes psychodiagnostic tests, intelligence tests, and personality inventories are used.

  • This cause-effect orientation emphasizes left-brain functioning.

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CULTURE BOUND VALUES OF COUNSELING/THERAPY

  • 6. Distinctions between Mental and Physical Functioning.

  • Many American Indians, Asian Americans, Blacks, and Hispanics hold a different concept of what constitutes mental health, mental illness, and adjustment.

  • Among the Chinese, the concept of mental health or psychological wellbeing is not understood in the same way as it is in the Western context.

  • Latino/Hispanic Americans do not make the same Western distinction between mental and physical health as their White counterparts.

  • Thus, nonphysical health problems are most likely to be referred to a physician, priest, or minister.

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CULTURE BOUND VALUES OF COUNSELING/THERAPY

  • 7. Ambiguity.

  • The ambiguous and unstructured aspect of the therapy situation may create discomfort in clients of color. Culturally diverse clients may not be familiar with therapy and perceive it as an unknown and mystifying process.

  • Some groups, like Hispanics, may have been reared in an environment that actively structures social relationships and patterns of interaction.

  • Anxiety and confusion may be the outcome in an unstructured counseling setting.

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CULTURE BOUND VALUES OF COUNSELING/THERAPY

  • 8. Patterns of Communication.

  • The cultural upbringing of many minorities dictates different patterns of communication that may place them at a disadvantage in therapy.

  • Counseling demands that communication move from client to counselor. The client is expected to take the major responsibility for initiating conversation in the session, while the counselor plays a less active role.

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Implications for Practice

  • Become aware of the generic characteristics of counseling

  • Advocate for multilingual services

  • Provide community counseling services in the client’s natural environments (schools, churches, etc.)

  • Help clients deal with forces such as poverty, discrimination, prejudice, immigration stress in contrast to developing personal insight through self-exploration

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Implications for Practice

  • Focus on action orientation and expand your repertoire

  • Do not overgeneralize or stereotype

  • Do not become arrogant and think that clinical work is superior to other forms of helping


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