Counselling in a Diverse Society
In counselling as in everyday life, culture can be the main difference between people. This may include differences in religion, race, age, class, sexual orientation, disability and gender.
The cultural divisions within society and our cultural heritage impact upon the family and society as a whole, for example where we come from, origin, religion, how we live, where we live and how we speak. This also relates within single parent, polygamous, same-sex or monogamous family situations.
This may be evidenced within counselling by differences between ethnic groups. For example, differing religious views may have an impact on their view of life and the counselling process. Some cultures may frown upon counselling as in some cultures, family comes first, the client is singular, the individual is deemed to be not as important as the whole family.
Within some cultural backgrounds looking directly into the eyes is frowned upon, or not allowed. Touch can also be taboo so to shake someone’s hand could or would be deemed an insult. This could impede on eye contact, but not body language skills.
If a client is disabled, physically or some way not immediately obvious, there may be problems understanding, if a client were deaf for example, so being aware of or knowledge of a form of sign language would be useful. Also, keep asking a client to repeat themselves can cause a barrier, the client feeling they are not being listened to of their needs not being taken care of.
These are just a few of the issues that as counsellors we will meet within our daily practice, all are a learning process and give us an insight and knowledge that can only better our therapeutic process, personal learning and improve our practice.
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