I believe that family and culture can impact the view of the counselor because these factors are so entrenched in their thinking. It is difficult to separate false ideas from professional conduct and this can lead to major issues. For example, extremely religious people may have difficulties working with clients who are gay or do not fit their particular worldview. This is difficult to overcome because some clients’ beliefs and actions can conflict with a person’s cultural beliefs. In some instances, I think this gap is too great and the professional should not work with certain clients.
Describe how you celebrated a major holiday as a child. Describe who was invited, what foods were served, and so forth. How did your views change as a result of the experiences? How does this relate to cultural awareness?
I believe I am typical of many people who are raised in a Christian home. Christmas was the major holiday of the year and it was a time for family to come together. Christmas dinner and going to church were a major activity in my family because most of my family is religious. While I am not religious today, these cultural experiences have impacted me. There is a certain amount of bias I have with regard to Christmas in which I think of it in a universal senses during the holiday season. What I mean by this is that I often make assumptions that people are going home to celebrate Christmas when in reality many people may not even celebrate this particular holiday. In terms of cultural awareness it is beneficial to look at our biases in this way such that we do not make assumptions about others that can be harmful.
Class, what specific populations would be more challenging for you when providing interventions?
I am challenged by drug addicts. The problem I have with this population is more so an issue with the methodology of treatment. The standard treatment for dealing with alcohol and drug addiction is Twelve Step therapy which I consider to be ineffective. I would have great difficulty in assigning people to attend these meetings because I believe that it would be doing more harm than good. The problem is also a cultural one in which the addicts and alcoholics think of this form of therapy as a solution due to media and past experiences with these programs. This is problematic because trying to apply other solutions is nearly impossible due to the courts and cultural focus placed on these types of programs.