TheAmerican Association asserts that counselors ought to seekpersonal sensitivity, knowledge, skills, and sensitivity relevant inworking with a broad client populace (Sabbah, Dinsmore, & Hof,2009, p. 31). Cultural competency denotes a professional’s attitudeand behavior toward the culturally diverse clientele. In essence,emotions linked with culture, race, gender, and socio-demographiccharacteristics should be discussed and experienced openly (Sue &Sue, 2015). Thus, when treating a client battling substance abuse, acounselor should begin by acknowledging his attitudes, values,behaviors, and beliefs, and then avoid imposing these values on theclient (AMERICAN COUNSELING ASSOCIATION, 2016). This approach willhelp the mental health expert respect the diversity of his client.Second, the psychologist should try to understand his client’sworldview (Sabbah, Dinsmore, & Hof, 2009, p. 32). By viewingconceptions from the client’s perspective, the expert will enhancehis ability to understand the challenges facing his patient. Lastly,the practitioner should find ways of bettering his therapeuticcompetencies in working with his client. By expanding his skills, thetherapist will gain insights into his false assumptions and biasesthis will enable the mental health expert to identify the barriersthat impede his client’s ability to fight substance abusesuccessfully.
Foran extended period, Derald Wing Sue and David Sue have discussed theculture-bound nature of counseling. The two authors contend that ananalysis of the standard features of counseling reveals that threevariables interact to make counseling (or the theories that governits practice) culture-bound (Sue & Sue, 1977, p. 420). The use ofEnglish, adherence to ambiguity, strict time-schedules and long rangesolutions, and culture bound values impede effective multiculturalapplication of counseling theories. The authors asserted thesenotions again in their book “the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice.”Sue attacks the American mental health system for mistreating theethnic minorities in the US (Sue & Sue, 2015).
Peoplefind ways of avoiding topics that center on race and ethnicity due tovarious reasons. Whites, for example, are agonized by guilt over themanner in which people of color are treated in their nations (Sue &Sue, 2015). They also fear that they may be condemned for mistreatingothers thus, they resort to becoming defensive and asserting theirinnocence whenever racist or ethnocentric topics are raised.
Attitudesand the accumulation of associations and experience have a directcorrelation (Mills, 2009). This correlation is essential since ithelps people to familiarize themselves with the environment and otherpersons in ways that can be perceived as beneficial. Thus, attitudeschange relatively slowly. In America, for example, the whites wereforced to change their perceptions about racism too fast theirdeep-seated feelings did not have enough time to adjust. Thus, theirinner feelings toward the black community still remain the same.
Cultural proficiency symbolizes a professional’s outlook andconduct toward culturally diverse clients (Sabbah, Dinsmore, &Hof, 2009, p. 31). Thus, an addiction counselor can help his clientsfeel more comfortable by avoiding the use of some stereotypicalconceptions. When treating a Chinese American client, a professionalshould avoid the use of terms like discomfort, pain, or dizziness(Kleinman, 2004). Instead, he should use feelings of sadness sincephysical symptoms are associated with depression. When treating anAsian-Indian, the physician should not use the word the new “modelminority,” because Asian-Indians believe this conception placesthem in a box for political purposes (Srivastava et al., 2009).
AMERICANCOUNSELING ASSOCIATION,. (2016). 2014 ACA Code of Ethics As approvedby the ACA Governing Council, 5. Retrieved fromhttps://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf
Kleinman,A. (2004). Culture and Depression. NewEngland Journal Of Medicine, 351(10),951-953. http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/nejmp048078
Mills,K. (2009). Race relations in a new age, 40(4),28. Retrieved fromhttp://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/04/race-relations.aspx
Sabbah,M., Dinsmore, J., & Hof, D. (2009). A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THECOMPETENCE OF COUNSELORS IN THE UNITED STATES IN COUNSELING ARABAMERICANS AND OTHER RACIAL/ETHNIC GROUPS. InternationalJournal Of Psychology,31.
Srivastava,S., Tamir, M., McGonigal, K., John, O., & Gross, J. (2009). Thesocial costs of emotional suppression: A prospective study of thetransition to college. JournalOf Personality And Social Psychology, 96(4),883-897. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0014755
Sue,D. & Sue, D. (1977). Barriers to effective cross-culturalcounseling. JournalOf Psychology, 24(5),420-429. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-0220.127.116.110
Sue,D. & Sue, D. (2015). the culturally diverse (7thed.). New York: J. Wiley.