Advocacy for Diverse Clients
Some of the career profession providers think that provision of effective career counseling to cultural diverse individuals is similar as assisting those from the majority cultures. Even though the foundation for the provision of career counseling to the culturally diverse individuals is the same, the nuances leading to helping the adults in mastering some of their career issues are quite significant and could be the main determinant for achievement of successful outcomes. Considering that the counseling profession is shifting to a multicultural and social justice paradigm while working with the clients, this creates the main concern but rarely discussed when undergoing training especially the methods of working with culturally different individuals (Kottler & Shepard, 2011). In such situation, the counselors have to focus largely on the provided guide of treating culturally different clients in a manner that they acknowledge the unique worldview of the clients. Under the social justice and advocacy, it is important that counselors address the societal, historical, and political issues that continue to press the patients.
Prejudice is not a common issue that brings the clients to the counselors. Nonetheless, it is common for the clients to express these values and beliefs within the counseling environment. Each person is cultural being with values, histories and worldviews, and racism and prejudice affecting in certain ways. The counselors are taught ways of working within the worldview of the client with social justice maintaining that they also work within the conceptual framework on the manner in which oppression at individual, societal, and institutional levels affect the growth and development of people. Although the counselor might have the desire of treating people as equals, which is laudable, there could be unconscious and intentional harboring of different biases and prejudices. In my work, biasness and prejudices could present great issues, which are likely to impair the success of the outcome.
The counselors who are uncomfortable with the topic could avoid the discussions or deny its significance to the outcome of the client. In addition, negative reactions associated with guilt, identification with the values of the client, and anger could cause the counselor to be blind to the needs and proper interventions to the client. These factors make it important for counselors and mental health programs to emphasize on need for advocating for diversity and parity while providing services. The manner in which a counselor responds to the values of the client has great impact on effectiveness of counseling; hence, it is significant that counselors monitor their reactions and maintain self-awareness to meet patient’s needs.
The first step to responding to the concerns is recognizing personal cultural biases as such would ensure effective treatment to the minority clients. In addition, there is need for professional motivation in educating oneself on the cultural groups. It is also important that the counselors be prepared to self-disclose to the patients their emotional reactions to the stories of oppression and racism from the clients (Kottler & Shepard, 2011). These disclosures tend to strengthen the counseling relationship and encourage the clients to expound on their experiences of discrimination and victimization. Through developing the cross-cultural intervention knowledge and skills, the counselors would have the opportunity of working with each client at individual level and expand effectively their view of the world.
Kottler, J. A., & Shepard, D. S. (2011). Introduction to counseling: Voices from the field (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.