Discussion and Results Chapter: Counselor's Understanding

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¶ … counselor's understanding of his or her own biases; understanding the particular worldview of the client; and developing appropriate intervention strategies (Lewis 2006: 483). The need for the counselor to understand his or her own biases is extremely important. The counselor cannot embark upon an interview of the client without some sense of self-consciousness of the limits of his or her own worldview. For example, a counselor from a highly Westernized context might assume that individualism and autonomy is the natural goal of all mature adults while a client from a communitarian society might strongly disagree with this notion. The counselor does not have to change completely for every client but the client should understand the innate subjectivity of her ideas and strive to enable the client to reach his or her own state of personal wellness rather than to force the client into an artificial model based upon the counselor's belief system.

This also ties into the second principle: while the counselor is unlikely to be an expert on every culture of every client he or she interacts with, at very least the counselor should strive to learn more and not make assumptions based upon the initial contact with the client without further education. The client's culture will affect the intervention approach -- for example, a culture which believes in the importance of the extended family might demand that a grief counselor involve all members of the deceased's family in a counseling session, not simply the closest relations.

These principles, however difficult to achieve in practice, ultimately stress that the foundation of counseling is an understanding of cultural differences and that cultural sensitivity must structure the counseling process. Of course, one critique is that every client is an individual and while culture is important to acknowledge, cultural difference should also not subsume individual variation.

Reference

Lewis, A.N. (2006). Three-factor model of multicultural counseling for consumers with disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 24(3), 151-159. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete.

Article 2: Do you agree with the author that counselors are too locked in modernism and should become more postmodern?

The concept of postmodernism is founded upon multiplicity. Postmodernism acknowledges that there is no single, unified and homogeneous worldview but rather many worldviews. It is thus a perspective which is uniquely suited to the concept of multiculturalism, which likewise suggests that rather than a single voice of humanism or individualism, there are many perspectives which exist across the globe and must be honored. For counselors attempting to guide clients on the path of self-realization, adopting such a postmodern vision can be useful and relevant. Even in regards to non-culturally-related issues, counselors will deal with clients with a very wide range of personal aspirations and backgrounds, and adapting to these needs is essential. A counselor should not impose an overarching template of normalcy on clients. In contrast, the modernist view suggests there is a right way of being and a wrong way of being.

For multicultural or humanistic counselors helping clients achieve a more positive sense of ease with their… [END OF PREVIEW]

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