Counseling People From Other Cultures Term Paper

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[. . .] 2). Consequently, Latinas tend to drop out of high school at alarming rates, and even when they do remain in school, they do not perform up to their potential. Given the powerful messages they receive at home and the marginalized conditions they endure in school, it is little wonder these young people are placed at a disadvantage. As Vives (2008) emphasizes, "As a result of this harassment, [Latina] students often stay home, cut class, or don't contribute. They can't concentrate on school work and suffer lowered self-esteem and self-confidence" (p. 2). Furthermore, bilingual services are non-existent or poor at many schools and this leads to disillusionment. There is a pervasive negative attitude of school personnel toward non-English languages and the people who speak them. A critical factor in promoting Latina success is a school staff that believes that all students can succeed-valuing their languages and cultures, providing sound counseling, and involving parents (Vives, 2001).

These educational disparities also mean that even within the Hispanic community, Latinas will continue to be disadvantage when compared to their male counterparts. In this regard, Rodriguez (1999) notes that, "The fact that Latinas do not continue on to receive doctorates in high numbers means that they will continue to be absent from the faculty and administrative leadership pipelines. It means that leadership in the Hispanic community may continue to be in the hands of Latino males" (p. 47).

In fact, even when Latinas manage to overcome the structural and cultural challenges arrayed against them and attain higher educational degrees, they remain largely disenfranchised from positions where they could make a substantive difference in their communities. As Rodriguez concludes, "Latinas are now entering college in greater numbers, but are not in political leadership or other important public policy positions. Latinas are in educational jobs, still clustered in traditional roles" (p. 47). Taken together, it is clear that Latinas are in a unique position in American society where a combination of cultural, social and political factors have served to keep them marginalized from mainstream American society more than any other demographic segment except Native Americans.

Individuals with Disabilities

While it is reasonable to suggest that counselors will come into contact with members of the LGBT and Latinas communities at some point in their professional careers, it is also reasonable to suggest that they will encounter numbers clientele with disabilities. In fact, there are large numbers of individuals with disabilities in the United States today. In this regard, the authors of "Case Studies in Multicultural Counseling" report that there are nearly 50 millions people in the United States aged 5 years and older that have some type of disability, making this group the largest set of marginalized people in the United States after women. Likewise, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that as of the last census (2010), there were nearly 3 million children in the United States with disabilities and current projections indicate that there will be 3.5 million children with disability by 2030 (Waldman & Perlman, 2013).

Understanding the world of the disabled is not an easy task, but it is an essential element of successful counseling. For instance, according to the authors of "Case Studies in Multicultural Counseling," "Specific treatment strategies should be a culturally syntonic fit with the client's sociocultural experience, identities, and sensibilities" (p. 7). These authorities also cite the need to develop an understanding concerning how an individual's disability affects their lives across the broad array of quality of life indicators: "Treatment should be informed by examining how the intersections of person, culture and context, and the congruence (or incongruence) between them, contribute to the client's internally experienced and externally expressed distress" (Case studies in multicultural counseling, p. 7). Although all disabled clients' situations are unique, there are some common features that characterize the disabled in the United States, including lower educational and income levels compared to mainstream American society (Swank & Huber, 2013).

While it might be disingenuous or even offensive for ordinary people to interact inappropriately with the disabled (i.e., yelling at the hard of hearing), counselors have a professional responsibility to interact in appropriate ways. For example, Bess and Stabb (2009) emphasize that, "Multicultural counseling guidelines warn of the dangers of therapists not receiving proper training in working with clients who are different from them" (p. 266). Like the other cultures examined herein, though, many counselors do not receive the training they need to provide appropriate counseling services to the disabled. According to Beecher and Rabe (2007), "Students with disabilities constitute the largest minority in the United States" (p. 84). The Code of Federal Regulations for the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disabilities as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual. Major life activities may include "functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working" (cited in Beecher & Rabe, 2007, p. 85). Likewise, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) defines the term "emotional disturbance" an any condition that exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance:

1. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;

2. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;

3. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;

4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or,

5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems (Swank & Huber, 2013).

Because so many people have some type of disability, between 2% and 10% of all clientele encountered by counselors during their careers will have at least one type of disability (Beecher & Rabe, 2007). In many cases, clients will suffer from a number of comorbid conditions, especially as their grow older (Beecher & Rabe, 2007). As Beecher and Rabe caution, though, "However, few of these practitioners are prepared to address the unique concerns faced by these individuals" (2007, p. 85). It is also important to note that the life experiences of people that have disabilities differ according to age and when the disability was acquired (Beecher & Rabe, 2007).

Students with learning disabilities in particular represent a large segment of American society that counselors are increasingly encountering in their practice (Thompson & Littrell, 2009). Although there is a growing body of knowledge concerning the academic needs of these students, far less attention has been paid to their psychological needs (Thompson & Littrell, 2009). According to Thompson and Littrell (2009), there have been some serious implications for counselors as a result of this lack of attention. In this regard, Thompson and Littrell (2009) stress that, "The paucity of research examining the use of psychotherapeutic interventions with adolescents who have been identified as having learning disabilities has led to misunderstandings about these adolescents by counselors and therapists" (p. 61).

The research to date indicates that counselors can achieve optimal clinical outcomes by focusing on the established 16 in-school predictors of post-high school success: (a) career awareness, (b) community experiences, (c) exit exam requirements/diploma, (d) general education, (e) interagency collaboration, (f) occupational courses, (g) paid work experience, (h) parental involvement, (i) program of study, (j) self-determination and advocacy, (k) self-care/independent living, (1) social skills, (m) student support, (n) transition program, (o) vocational education, and (p) work-study (Swank & Huber, 2013). Interventions for students with learning disabilities requires careful coordination between counselors and other stakeholders, including school administrators, teachers, administrators, support staff, and family members (Swank & Huber, 2013). Furthermore, implementing clinical interventions may require time, money and other resources (Swank & Huber, 2013). As Swank and Huber (2013) conclude, though, these investments are worth the effort: "Despite these challenges, researchers have indicated that focusing on crucial in-school predictors may lead to success following high school" (p. 75).

Counselors can also gain the expertise and experience they need with disabled individuals by exercising a compassionate analysis of the internal and external factors that are causing the client pain. According to Stuntzer (2014), "The need for compassion is based on the understanding that at one time or another all people are prone to hurt, pain (i.e., emotional, physical, mental), discomfort, and difficult times throughout their life time" (p. 37). Indeed, the universality of pain makes it easier for counselors to better understand how a disability affects an individual's worldview and how the disability detracts from a lifestyle, especially if a disability was incurred later in life where before-and-after comparisons plague the consciousness of people (Stuntzer, 2014).

Therefore, counselors can improve their ability to interact with the disabled by making an effort to apply their personal experiences with pain and disabilities to their clients unique situations. As Stuntzer points out "Regardless of cause, people have an innate desire to want to be free of their hurt so… [END OF PREVIEW]

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