Cultural Biases In Counseling

1161 Words5 Pages
Counseling is an intimate process; it requires a practitioner to be authentic and genuine. Studies have shown that the personal bond and alliance of the counselor can have a great affect on the therapeutic process (Gerler, 1990). On a deeper level, counselors should be aware of transmitting their own cultural vision when connecting with their clients. When counseling with different cultures it is imperative that counselors keep an open mind and ignore any possible biases. Counseling theories and techniques are not always applicable across cultures, counselors must often use new and creative ways to reach their clients. As a future counselor, I hope to honestly address any cultural biases and move towards being a flexible and open practitioner.…show more content…
As counselors, it is important that we recognize the cultural biases in our country and in our own personal thinking. Everyone is entitled to his or her own personal beliefs and opinions, but it is critical that as a counselor we do not bring these things into a session. I have struggled with cultural biases. I completed my undergraduate in Billings, Montana. This city is located next to one of the largest Crow reservation. There is high tension in Billings towards Native Americans due to the prevalence of alcoholism and homelessness in their population. As an undergrad I worked with Native Americans often and continued to work with their population after I graduated. I completed my internship at a drug and alcohol treatment center in Billings. This center had an overwhelming population of Native Americans. Many of the Native American’s that I worked with were completing treatment because they were court ordered. At times, some would come on their own free will, but not often. The majority of them were against treatment and at times hostile towards the staff. Alcohol and drugs were frequently snuck in. There were also people of other cultures who would sneak in alcohol or be court ordered, but there were weeks when it felt like it was mainly the Native American…show more content…
The best way I can address it is by being open to change and growth. I can start with educating myself more about the Native American population and cross-cultural counseling. I am aware of the assumptions I am making and can work towards addressing them. Western culture focuses on normalcy and individualism. For other cultures, their form of normalcy could differ from mine. What is deemed as normal will change according to the situation, culture, or background of a person (Gerler, 1990). This confusion can also occur when it comes to individualism. Some cultures do not value the individual as much as we do in Western culture. For them, the emphasis may be on the family or the community as a whole. The attention on them as an individual could make them uncomfortable. Many cultures feel uncomfortable telling a stranger their personal secrets. There is an alliance to the family, not to the counselor. Problems are dealt with in the family or community and involving strangers is looked down upon. For some, even asking for help may cause shame. The mental health of the client can be deeply tied to the health of the family or people surrounding that person. It is easy to focus of changing the individual to fit into the system, rather than working towards helping the system fit for the individual. Some studies recommend when therapy is involved with Native American children, it is important to include animals that are meaningful in

More about Cultural Biases In Counseling

Open Document