Multiculturalism: The Suppressor of Universality in all Counseling
Indiana University, Bloomington
November 12, 2013
Multiculturalism is a widely-known issue in psychotherapy. Therapists have a hard time counseling culturally diverse clients, especially when they are unaware of their values, beliefs, and perceptions. There is debate on whether or not therapy works equally well for different populations; such as age groups, racial/ethnic groups, sexual minorities, different genders, socioeconomic class, and disabled bodies. Although some therapies might not work as well as they do with certain populations, techniques within those therapies can be taken and ...view middle of the document...
Therapists must take into account every culture; otherwise they are ignorant and are under culture oppression (Sue & Sue, 2013). Unfortunately, humans come with biases and pre-conceived notions. These biases and pre-conceived notions generally affect treatment and therapy, because when working with culturally diverse populations unaware of their beliefs and values, the results of therapy are ineffective (Sue & Sue, 2013). Those who specialize in multiculturalism have even described counselors negatively in the sense of therapy by calling them insensitive to the beliefs and values of their culturally different clients; counselors do not understand these differences, and it is most times because these counselors also do not realize they are prejudiced and hold stereotypes (Sue & Sue, 2013).
There are many groups who are privileged in the American society, such as males, Caucasians, heterosexuals, and people with high socioeconomic status, yet most of these individuals do not fully understand their privileges because they have not lived life in the shoes of those who are non-privileged – think of how this would affect the alliance of a therapist who is privileged and a client who isn’t.
Those who are culturally diverse typically have a hard time in therapy, because it is often that therapists will unconsciously incorporate their personal perceptions, beliefs, and values when counseling. During therapy, a good technique is to validate the client’s feelings on their experiences, but using this technique with culturally diverse individuals can be risky because there is a higher possibility of misunderstanding how the client truly feels; for example, hypothetically speaking, I am a heterosexual therapist in session with a teenage client who tells me he has recently come to the conclusion that he is gay, then I reply, “Does that make you upset?” If the teenager was actually happy that he came to this conclusion, I would have just made him feel like he should be upset while also showing that I had a negative perception on becoming a homosexual. Because I am ignorant of his culture and views of homosexuality, I have just invalidated his feeling and have probably caused client deterioration. Counseling has also caused harm to culturally diverse groups by making their experiences and feelings seem worthless and unworthy of attention, by not giving them appropriate counseling and care, and by giving suggestions or doing things that go against their cultural values (Sue & Sue, 2013).
This paper identifies different populations and describes how therapy does not work equally well with those different populations. First, I explain racial identities and how they work differently in therapy. Next, I discuss the differences between men and women that enter counseling. Subsequently, I describe various therapies that are used with different age groups and explain why it is important to use certain therapeutic methods with young children versus...