Ethical Dilemmas in Multicultural counselling Essay

4201 Words Sep 14th, 2013 17 Pages
Ethical Dilemmas in a Multicultural Setting
Silvia Galea

“An ethical dilemma exists whenever there are good but contradictory ethical reasons to take conflicting and incompatible courses of action.”
(Kitchner, 1984 p.29)

“There is no legitimate way to avoid these ethical struggles.
They are part of our work”. (Pope & Vasquez, 2007 p.125).

Introduction
Cultural competence is fast becoming the new competence in counselling (Barnett 2009, Barnett 2000). As society changes and minorities become more prominent in our society, professionals are ethically bound to learn new skills that help them deliver a culturally sensitive service to clients requesting assistance in the helping profession. (Ridley, Liddle, Hill, & Li,
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(Romero, 1985) highlights the need that counsellors view the identity and development of culturally diverse people in terms of multiple, interactive factors, rather than a strictly cultural framework.
Working with Dodo was a challenging experience which brought about many ethical dilemmas. Such dilemmas often centred around developing her personal autonomy in the context of her ethnic origin within the culture of dependency and interdependency that collective cultures proclaim. I often found myself reflecting on how any abrupt changes could damage her rather than benefit her as nonconformity to gender roles and stereotypes can have a devastating effect on females who may be stigmatized, ostracized or even “socially erased” in particular cultural contexts (Romero, 1985). I often pondered upon what in one culture could be beneficent would result in an act of malificance in a different cultural context. I strived to be faithful to my client, to move at her pace and to go to the places where she wanted to go in the process of counseling. I urged and empowered her to teach me her cultural norms, her traditions and the intricate fabric of her cultural network that I may understand her internal conflicts when she started to grow in the understanding and appreciation of other cultures which valued women empowerment. African culture has a

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