Analyzing the Social Cultural Diversity Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Social and Cultural Diversity

The U.S.A. is widely viewed as a unifying state in which immigrants are accommodated and assimilated into the largely 'white' dominant socio cultural structure. This principle has allowed the country to facilitate a friendly environment for the nation to sustain a pluralistic perspective. The immigrants retain and maintain their beliefs and ideals even as they adjust their lives to be practically functional in their new American society. Multicultural counseling has come up against three core challenges linked to such diversity. There is the culture, attitude and theoretical perspective; then there is the culture of the client and, finally the many variables naturally wound around individual characteristics (Bolton-Brownlee, n.d.).

Oversimplifying the Client's Social Basis: Application of universal categories is essential for our understanding of human experiences. However, if we lose sight of differences between individuals, it would lead to a range of ethical breaches. Clients are influenced individually by a range of factors including their age, ethnicity, life stage, nationality, sex roles and social class. In my view, cultural diversity is not anchored on a multiplicity of interacting factors but rather in cultural foundations (Bolton-Brownlee, n.d.).

Race and Culture Viewed as a Homogenous Entity: Differences suffice at all levels; within the groups and from race to race. Each of the five racial groups comprises of different identities. For example, among Asians there are Japanese, Vietnamese Korean. The blacks have Cajun, Tanzanian and Haitian. The Hispanics have Cuban, Puerto Rican and Mexicans; American Natives: Hopi, Kiowa and Zuni; whites: British, German and Dutch. It is imperative to note that some of these groups share a common race characteristic but they differ widely on social and cultural grounding. If we overlook these differences and assume that their culture is similar or the same we won't see any positive change (Bolton-Brownlee, n.d.).

The counselor's Perception: The preconceived stereotypes that counselors (like me) have, regarding the different races and groups that vary culturally is a potential cause of failure in the professional practice of therapists and often stands in their way of trying to form a helpful relationship with the clients (Zalaquett, Ahmed, Wilson, Henriksen, & Jones, 2011).

Discrimination: The original common form of discrimination has disappeared. However, a subtler and harder form of it has replaced the former. This form is referred to as micro aggression. The term refers to the tendency to insult those who are not part of the dominant set (Zalaquett, Ahmed, Wilson, Henriksen, & Jones, 2011).

2. Discrimination is a term used in sociology. It refers to how one person treats another negatively or positively on the basis of the group they belong to. It is described as the actual behavior (Prejudice / Discrimination, 2015). My group bckground is Asian. Although I'm a professional in therapy, there are clients who take time to decide whether they will proceed with their sessions with me (on the basis of race). Despite the fact that I have spent most of my life in the U.S.A., my origin including cultural background and gender influence the way others treat me, including the way clients treat me. In one incident, a client refused to come into my office when she discovered that I did not belong to her socio-cultural or racial background. another one was more communicative and admitted to racial barriers in our sessions and announced that she would not come for the second session. She confessed that the socio cultural difference was making it hard for her to discuss her problems frankly, as she thought I would not understand her complexities.

3. Jorge, a 34-year-old went for therapy after realizing that he had become very uncomfortable in his office at his office premises. His employees had started quipping negatively about his socio-cultural background. He had facednegative comments with respect to his Mexican origins. He became aware of how these hostilities interefered with his delivery and thought that the only way out of the dilemma was to quit. Once we went through the issues with him, he decided that he would confront discriminaory workers with the focus on letting them know that their behaviour was hurtful and ignorant. He also went on to agree to let his seniors know about the issues. He was previously hesitant to take such a step. His boss responded positively by facilitating training on diversity. He took other measures that would help integration and a better working environment. Jorge became confident about his background and duties in due course (Prejudice / Discrimination, 2015). My relationship with Jorge was very successful client-wise because he found it easy to open up to me because we were both from minority groups.

4. My contact with people of different socio-cultural background has aided my career and refined my counseling skills. Although the element of discrimination interfered with my earlier counseling practice, I became aware that my counseling was ineffective in the face of a similar treatment from some of my clients towards me. At that point my therapy career was a failure since I didn't have the capacity to assist clients get over their issues without considering their socio-cultural background and race. These factors are useful only to the extent of helping me understand the circumstances of my client but should not be a tool for discrimination. These encounters have helped avoid my earlier discrimination and helped me become a better and non- judgmental therapist.

Part 2

1. Covert Racism was a brainchild of imperialist regimes' tendency to benefit the most by subverting others. It was helped to thrive by institutions, general and stereotypes in the population. Unlike racism, in which it is a more conspicuous form, overt racism is subtle and often hides behind pretentious smiles of kindness and, political expediency and correctness. The use of racial codes in language and a call for blindness towards racial manifestations tend to cover the realities. Both forms of racism are harmful. The wounds of covert racism can be witnessed in such forms as negative sanctions, high disease incident, lost chances and more forms, and have helped engender communal victimization (Coates, 2008).

Some common ways in which covert racism manifests is include rescheduling and delegating a session to a trainee and pretending to be unavailable for a counseling session with a client from a different socio cultural background. Setting exorbitant fees is another subtle way of trying to block out certain disadvantaged groups (Ponterotto, 2006 ).

2. Ethnic communities are not devoid of significant differences among themselves. It is critical to remember this fact to avoid fresh stereotypes. Some of the ways seemingly homogenous groups manifest differences, include geographical and social set-up origins (may be rural or urban), religion, social class, gender, political allegiance, or even sexual orientation. While it is of use to remember that ethnicity creates a lot of important commonality among communities, it should always be borne in mind that we are tackling groups as opposed to individual entities. Individuals may profess all common characteristics in their ethnicity or may differ fundamentally (Banks, 1996).

Part 3

1. The National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the American Counseling Association have a common paper policy that guides the treatment of clients (Roskoski, n.d.).

Following is the ACA code of practice:

a) Client welfare

The primary responsibility: counselors have a responsibility to promote their clients' welfare and respect their dignity (ACA, 2014).

Documentations and Records: counselors have to keep documentation regarding their patients' welfare in order to proceed with effective professional therapy. The counselors must ensure that they create sufficient and timely documentation for their clients to sustain continued counseling. Counselors must also keep accurate documentation that reflects the treatment progress of the client and the services rendered (ACA, 2014).

Plans for counseling: Counseling plans must be developed as a result of a joint effort between the counselor and the client. These must take into account the variables that affect the client including such factors as temperament, circumstances and development levels. These plans must be constantly reviewed to factor in emerging issues and adjust effectively to guarantee the client freedom to choose (ACA, 2014).

b. Informed consent in counseling relationships:

Informed consent: this provision allows clients the freedom to choose whether to join or continue with a counseling engagement or terminate it. They are also entitled to information regarding the counselor and the process of counseling. Counselors are responsible for reviewing their rights and clients rights and roles orally and in writing (ACA, 2014).

Information types: Clients have a right to know the nature of the counseling services available. The counselors should inform clients all issues relating to: procedures, techniques, limitations, goals, benefits, potential risks, the qualification of the counselor, their relevant experience, credentials, plan for continuity in case the counselor dies or is incapacitated, the role of technology and other necessary information that would help the client decide form an informed point-of-view. The counselors should also explain to their clients the import of diagnostic procedures and use reports and tests (ACA, 2014).

Code of practice for NAADAC

The counseling…

Sources Used in Document:


ACA. (2014). 2014 ACA Code of Ethics. American Counselling Association.

Banks, J. A. (1996). Multicultural Education, Transformative Knowledge, and Action. New York: Teachers College Press.

Barnett, J., & Bivings, N. (n.d.). Culturally Sensitive Treatment and Ethical Practice. APA Divisions.

Bolton-Brownlee, A. (n.d.). Issues in Multicultural Counseling. Highlights: An ERIC/CAPS Digest. Retrieved from Eric Digests:

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