No one person is a representation of a pure culture in that people often belong to, or identify with, multiple groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religiosity, educational experience, social class, and career focus to name a few). In addition, even if several individuals belong to the same set of groups, their affiliation to these groups may reveal a vast array of individual differences. Although a therapist can benefit from expanding his or her knowledge base regarding the norms and values that exist in various cultures, perhaps the most important thing to remember when working with a client in counseling settings is simply taking the time to listen as intently as possible to his or her life story which can lead to multifaceted insights regarding an individual’s worldview and establish credibility in the client’s eyes. In that the percentage of clients who drop out of therapy is high regardless of whether or not the clinician and client are multiculturally similar, it is also exceptionally important for the clinician to be able to give something of importance to the client by the end of the first session. This is sometimes referred to as a gift in some cultures although the gift referred to here is not an external object but something less tangible like validation, affirmation, or the installation of hope.
|Keywords:||Multiculturalism, Life Story, Credibility, Gift|
Associate Professor/Program Director, School Psychology & Counseling Department, La Sierra University, Riverside, CA, USA
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