Counselling in a Diverse Society

2190 Words Oct 8th, 2011 9 Pages
Nowadays the issue of diversity is an important factor to consider as in most countries there is broad range of diversity within that country and its communities. There are different aspects of diversity that exist, such as; sexuality, gender, race and culture.

There is no doubt that the counsellor needs to be aware of the complexity of culture (Pedersen & Ivey, 1993). Culture results from the interaction of a number of variables including ethnographic, demographic, socio-economic, and relational factors. Within a culture, people develop patterns of behaviours based on a number of assumptions they have learned either directly, observationally or vicariously (Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996). People also develop a cultural identity by
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As people learn to express distress in culturally appropriate ways, there will be differences in how minority clients express their difficulties which in turn may be quite different from that of the majority group. There is always the danger of stereotyping clients and of confusing other influences (Pedersen, 1986). While universal categories are necessary to understand human experience, losing sight of specific individual factors would lead to a contravention of ethics (Ibrahim, 1985).

Each client is influenced by race, ethnicity, national origin, life stage, educational level, social class, and sex roles (Ibrahim, 1985). The counsellor must view the identity and development of culturally diverse people in terms of multiple interactive factors rather than a strictly cultural framework (Romero, 1985).
Ridley (1995) suggested that the counsellor should adopt a bio-psychosocial model of assessment from which to understand the minority group client. This model emphasises the whole person and considers physical health, interpersonal and social competence, and psychological and emotional well-being. Ridley (1995) suggested that this model, if used appropriately is effective for avoiding unintentional bias when working with minority clients.
When the counsellor has a greater awareness of their clients' culture into their theory and practice, they must realise that
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