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In the area of multicultural competence, I would like to improve my knowledge about several ethnic groups in the country. Since the US is a multicultural society, a counselor is bound to interact with clients from various backgrounds. Some of them may have worldviews that few know about, and this may undermine clinical outcomes. Consequently, I would like to learn more about the cultural backgrounds of different types of Asians, such as the Burmese and Sri Lankans or different Latin Americans. Sometimes it is easy to generalize members of a certain region/ continent, yet each country may have very different cultural inclinations (Murphy & Dillon, 2011). I would like to know these differences and be a better counselor.
Homosexuals are becoming a distinct group in today’s society. Certain stereotypes affect this group in a negative way. I would like to develop competence in communicating with gays. If one is insensitive to acceptable language in a certain community, a client may become offended by the counselor and even terminate his sessions with him. These communication codes are highly affected by the geographical location of the client; therefore, I would like to know more about how gays perceive themselves in one part of the world than in another. This will help me to incorporate those expectations when communicating with them. Furthermore, it will lead to a better understanding of the factors that may have affected the psychological condition of the client.
My growth and upbringing in a modern society has caused me to develop biases against traditional healers or similar individuals. In the event that I get assigned to a remote location where villagers rely on traditional healers, I may find it difficult to consult or work together with these specialists. I need to do more research about the rationale and history behind these traditional practices so as to understand them (Murphy & Dillon, 2011). However, I should know how to end their involvement without offending them.
Some ethical dilemmas are common across the board and it is easy to make decisions about them. However, some of them may be quite new; in these circumstances, it is necessary to use one’s value system. I need to develop my own value system that I can always count on when professional standards are no longer sufficient to respond to a case. This would give me the ability to deal with cases as they arise and exercise personal judgment more confidently.
Some ethical issues have been handled and discussed extensively in public but implementing them personally can be quite challenging. For instance, responsible counselors are not meant to have any previous relationship with clients. However, sometimes one gets clients through referrals from close friends and family. Even though a client may not be close to the counselor, he or she may have some association with the therapist. Psychotherapists who are just starting out may heavily rely on these types of referrals to survive. Consequently, ethical principles may drastically shrink one’s client pool and hence one’s success. It takes a lot of courage to stick to these principles even when it hurts one’s professional success. Therefore, I need to develop the stamina to make the right ethical decision when the situation arises.
In general counseling, I need to work on my level of attentiveness. There are times when I can be so attentive and effective, but there are also other times when I lose focus. This behavior can be detrimental in counseling sessions. I need to analyze those situations that cause me to lose focus and determine the possible triggers. One of the most effective ways of solving a problem is to know when it happens. I can put a stop to the deviations as soon as I identify when those issues take place. If something else could be causing the inattentiveness, then I need to start working on solving the problem.
I need to get more experience on specialty cases or complex cases. For instance, families dealing with the terminal illness of a young one are a particularly complex one. Alternatively, cases of teenage rebelliousness as manifested through gang behavior are also unfamiliar to me. I need to expose myself to these cases and gain more insight about them. However, because they are beyond my area of expertise, then I will need the assistance of a more competent individual (Murphy & Dillon, 2011).
In order to be an effective counselor, I need to place my feelings on the periphery and focus on the clients’. Sometimes I can feel proud about what I did for my client and this may make me overconfident about a similar case. As a result, it is easy to forget about the needs of the new client thus compromising the effectiveness of the therapy. I also need to empower my clients by giving them the power to improve their lives. A counselor can only facilitate recovery; it is the patient who must implement these changes. I need to learn how to let go and trust clients to practice what we have talked about in sessions.
Murphy, B. & Dillon, C. (2011). Interviewing in action in a multicultural world. Belmont, CA: Brooks.