Social Work and Human Service
For purposes of this assignment, we are going to look at a counseling center set up as a human service setting. The corresponding population in this setting will be the couples and families that are served in counseling centers. The paper will have major interests in multicultural family, socio- economic factors as well as the domestic violence. In this context, the paper aims to look at the influence that a therapist will have on the couples and families in the given context. The main objective of this paper is to have a look at how couples and families cope in a context that includes cross culture marriages, socio-economic issues as well as the domestic violence. It will aim at describing the impact that the nurse will have on these issues in as far as their personal and societal experiences are concerned.
The Environmental Factors For a Therapist in a Couples and Families Counseling Center
As a therapist, one of the most important factors you should put into consideration when dealing with couples and families is their environmental setting. This is because the behavior of an individual is influenced by what they see, whom they talk to and indeed all their surroundings. We will start by looking at how multicultural factor are likely to become a factor (Reiter, M. D. 2008).
The key to having the family or couple happy for their counseling sessions is the role that their cultures play. There are families who live together but from diverse cultures brought together by the marriage institution. It is important to note that most cultures conflict one another, and so does individuals. The therapist needs to know the sources of these divergences to have a sober approach to the issue at hand. Matters are made difficult by the fact that you are not dealing with an individual, but rather two or more people who need to be brought together to agree on some issues (Lantz, J., 2004). The major pitfall for therapy would be a biased opinion of the therapist. There is a tendency for the therapist to see sense in one party’s culture and not another. This form of bias could culminate into mistrust, and there would be no solution to the matter.
The second environment is that of domestic violence. There is a growing trend in domestic violence all over the world. Counseling centers are receiving more and more victims of domestic violence than ever before. Most of the cases, however, go unreported and neither do the victims go to counseling sessions. Further, most of those who seek counseling in counseling centers are women. As a therapist at the counseling center, one needs to come up with a precise way of dealing with families as well as couples (Meier & Boivan, 2011).
Among couples, violence is prevalent amongst the women. Domestic violence amongst couples is called intimate partner violence, domestic abuse or spousal abuse. It refers to an abusive behavior by one partner to another with an aim of gaining control (Connel, Cindi, 2010). Therapy for domestic violence can only work if the couples are willing to change their behavior. Therapy can be based on the couples or individuals in the marriage. Counseling a couple is usually based on mutual respect and responsibility for the results of the therapy. Counseling is meant to help the violent partner to stop their abusive characters and get the victim understand that they have no reason at all to tolerate an abusive relationship. Counseling an individual, on the other hand, is meant to help the victim see the pattern of abuse and help them develop a plan for their safety since most of them will struggle with issues of anxiety, esteem, fear, and stress. A therapist can help them build upon their strengths and have a self-belief once they visit the counseling centers (Borrego, J., Gutow, M. R., Reicher, S. & Barker, C. H., 2008).
Counseling centers can also be host to victims of domestic violence the most common of whom are children. Some are victims while some suffer the effects of witnessing this violence. It is important for the therapist to address the mental issues that come with domestic violence, such as trauma as soon possible since most victims will have difficulty sleeping, defiance against adults and poor academic performance. There are many forms of therapy that can be employed when dealing with children who are victims of domestic violence, such as play therapy and sand tray therapy. These two forms of therapy assist the children airing out the problems that they face (Borrego, J., Gutow, M. R., Reicher, S. & Barker, C. H., 2008).
On matters of domestic violence, the therapist’s main issue would be to act as a judge and decide who in his or her opinion is wrong. Acting as a judge is not always a wise move since most cases; people will only visit a therapy center to seek an end to their problems. Taking sides and pointing out the shortfalls of a partner or a member of the family will only serve to escalate the problem (Meier & Boivan, 2011).
The third environmental factor that therapists will deal with in a counseling center is the socioeconomic level amongst couple and families. This environment factor deals with the economic and the social well being of the family or a couple. For a couple, most issues arise out of the method to deal with individual as well as family resources. A partner in the marriage could be reluctant to have his or her resources used for a common course. Some family members will want to spend resources in a manner that the other partner thinks it does not benefit the entire family. The therapist needs to bring these two individuals together to work on a common course. He or she can come up with suggestions on better ways that they can share resources without necessarily infringing on the personal right over control of family resources (Meier & Boivan, 2011).
For a family, a therapist can be called upon to counsel a family in conflict over resources. Therapists are usually called to settle problems arising on how to share an inheritance and the best way to spend those resources. Again, the therapist may be called upon to develop a workable formula that will appease all the protagonists when sharing the inheritance (Connel, Cindi, 2010).
The main issue for the therapist that can cause a pitfall is to impose issues on the individuals. The best way would be to come up with alternative and let them make the choices. Imposition of decisions on the clients can only serve to escalate the otherwise volatile situation.
Professional Context in Social Work and Human Service
Professionalism and objectivity in therapeutic works are important to ensure that a client receives the best services and value in their therapy. Additionally, this procedure ensures that the therapists conduct a thorough investigation into the client’s case. In this case, professionalism helps avoid bias and possible misinterpretation or prejudice when evaluating a client. For example, in the case of a therapist who has just been through a divorce handling a divorce case may be challenging. Evidently, there are high chances of bias and prejudice in his service. Nonetheless, the use of a structured and professional approach may limit this outcome.
Additionally, professionalism ensures that the client’s interests are protected during the therapy session. As a result, the therapist should exercise competence, confidentiality, professional formation of contracts, and fitness to practice in his work (The British Psychology Society, 2005). For example, when handling a marriage case, the therapist should not disclose any confidential information that the couple shares with him/her. Additionally, he/she should keep the client’s files safely and in a private location. Moreover, he/she should advise the clients on their duty of keeping confidential information private. Importantly, a therapist should keep himself knowledgeable in his specialty by practicing and reviewing recent changes in the field. A child therapist in this case, should update himself/herself on the current development in the field.
Further, a therapist should exercise professionalism when billing customers for his/her service. In this case, the therapist discloses all financial costs prior to the start of the therapy. Additionally, the client and the therapist should agree on the modalities and time of payments to avoid mishaps. Finally, a therapist should ensure that he is fit to practice his work. In light of this, the therapist should conduct physical workouts, and undertake necessary medical checkups to ensure he is healthy. Importantly, when a therapist is unwell he should inform his/her supervisor so that they may organize for a possible replacement during his/her health rest.
Conclusively, a therapist should remember that his/her main role is to add value to the client through the provision of guidance and advice. Moreover, the therapist should be professional and objective while at the same time having the empathy to fully understand the patient. Further still, he/she should be humble to accept that he/she may not be knowledgeable in all fields. Consequently, he/she should refer a patient to a more competent personnel during such an event.
In conclusion, it is important to note the important role that counseling centers and therapists play in the society. Therefore, therapists should have an interactive and communication skills that are needed to do their jobs. They also need to understand the major environmental factors that could influence their service delivery. Further, they need to be ethical in discharging their duties. This is because their profession allows them to access vital personal information that should not be shared. They should also avoid taking sides so as to earn the trust of clients.
Borrego, J., Gutow, M. R., Reicher, S. & Barker, C. H. (2008). Parent-Child Interaction Therapy with Domestic Violence Populations. Journal of Family Violence, 23, 495-505.
Connell, Cindi. (2010). Multiculturalism perspective and considerations within structural family therapy: The premises of structure, subsystems and boundaries. River Academic Journal, (6), 1-6.
Lantz, J. (2004). World view concepts in existential family therapy. Contemporary Family Therapy, 26(2), 165–178. doi:10.1023/b:coft.0000031241.68493.de
Meier and Boivan (2011). Counseling and Therapy Techniques: Theory and Practice. New York, NY: Sage Publications. ISBN 9781847879585
Reiter, M. D. (2008). Therapeutic Interviewing: Essential Skills and Contexts of Counseling. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN-13: 978-0205529513
The British Psychology Society. (2005). Division of counseling psychology. Professional practice guidelines. Leicester, UK: The British Psychology Society.