Culture and race are influenced by expectations and customs of various communities of clinical practice. Combining with unknown people poses questions because their habits and values might be contradictory to your professional activity, i.e., in societies that are against using pills, when the pharmacist sells birth control drugs. My essai will concentrate on my therapy experience in Ethiopia and will focus on the effects of working in new ethnic and cultural fields in my career, supported by a counseling organization for women depressed in marriage and female genital mutilation practices. Counselling
Counselling is a talking therapy similar to an interview but under confidential grounds allowing a person to express his/her problems in a dependable and confidential environment. A counsellor listens to your problems in empathy by putting him/herself in the patient’s situation then giving possible solutions to expressed problems. A counsellor aims to help the patient, i.e. a depressed fellow deal with emotional instability through advises and encouragements (Nelson, 2015).
Cultural counselling is the type of counselling that takes into consideration the norms and cultural practices within a race, ethnic backgrounds or traditions within a group. For effective counselling, counsellors are supposed to understand client cultures so that advice given may be in line with client cultures and tradition (Leroy & Manning, 2016).
Multicultural Issues in Counselling
Culture defines the ways and beliefs that people in a given community should adhere to. It also involves the ways and expressions that people should employ in communicating with each other and defies social norms of community settings. Counsellors need to be conversant with patient cultures to give that are best compatible advice within their cultures (Leroy & Manning, 2016).
In my experience, I had to study the norms under which the Oromo community abide by so as not to provoke their culture. I had a hard time in familiarizing with their culture as it was mainly dictated using local dialect, a language that I did not understand. The Oromo practice female genital mutilation a practice that negatively affects the women, in an aim to attend one of the practices so as to launch a campaign against it through counselling advice, I was chased away and told that the practice is only to be attended by the Oromo.
Race & Ethnicity
Race and ethnicity is a key element in counselling as it has been proved that therapist client relationships are much boosted when they are of the same race and ethnicity probably for the reason that the client may have a problem that the therapists understand under cultural phenomena’s surrounding it hence will consider them in giving advice. It is also proved that trust is much built between a therapist and client of the same race. Trust is a key factor in counselling (Leroy & Manning, 2016).
The problem I experienced in Ethiopia as a counsellor was that I was foreign to them and their culture hence my counselling advice took a lot of consideration. Trust was hard and took a lot of time to build which made counselling less effective considering the fact that trust is the backbone to effective counselling.
Prejudice & Discrimination
Prejudgments and discrimination greatly affect counselling both from therapist to client or vice versa. Prejudgment is when one makes conclusions over a certain person or topic hence will affect therapy process and the final result because, with conclusions, one will no longer be interested in the therapy process for the perspective that the end result has already been predicted. Discrimination is bred when people are of different races or cultures that do not harmonise well (Leroy & Manning, 2016).
Discrimination is the unjust treatment of race or subject. Discrimination greatly affects therapy as when notions of discrimination are portrayed, i.e. from different cultures or races; belief is reduced. Trust should be built in therapy to enable the truth and confessions to be presented from the client. With the current racial integration and an expected further integration in the future, i.e. between whites and blacks, prejudice and discrimination will reduce hence boost counselling as such discriminatory biases will be minimized in future (Leroy & Manning, 2016).
Working with new ethnic cultures and group, I faced a lot of discrimination and prejudice from the locals; they viewed me as unique and strange because I could not speak their language or utter the few words I knew from their language correctly. Discrimination and prejudice greatly affected me in performing my role as a counsellor for the reason that you can hardly advise a fellow who discriminates on you. In one wedding I attended, advising the bride to kiss the groom to show love was taken as odd and gross and some even hurled abuses as telling the coupleto kiss was not in line with their social norms.
Privilege is a particular benefit or favour. Privileges such as white privileges therapy affect counselling as they breed discrimination resulting to the effects expounded in the discrimination point above (Leroy & Manning, 2016).
In Ethiopia, we had our foods, but due to the extension of days to reach higher women populations, we were subjected to traditional food which we were not used to and the alien food caused stomach problems which affected duty performance as we had to take breaks for some days as we recovered.
As part of our counselling activity, I visited a church to reach a higher population in counselling against female genital mutilation and the importance of ladies to respect their husbands as commanded by the Bible in order to reduce marital conflicts which breed depression. On reaching, I was surprised that there were few people in the church as most of the population practised traditional forms of worship related to old traditional ways and this greatly affected my campaign as I reached only a few group.
The Oromo norm and belief that women are not supposed to take any advice from a person without the guidance going through her husband greatly hindered me as my main counsel and advice was based on matters affecting ladies, but the Oromo men insisted on being there as I addressed their women.
Effects of Ethnicity on Counselling
Contemporary issues relevant to today’s counselling activities include discrimination, prejudice and privilege as discussed above. Discrimination and prejudice reduce the effectiveness of results obtained. Diverse society have an impact in counselling as apart from learning counselling techniques, counsellors have to familiarize themselves with cultural practices within their working regions which might take a long time reducing counsellor productivity (Leroy & Manning, 2016).
From the above discussion and my experience, it is evident that ethnicity and diverse cultures greatly affect personal and professional fields with the main effect being the case of language barriers. One of the areas greatly impacted is the counselling and healthcare professions where you have to interact and communicate with the new groups of people for effective service delivery.
Baruth, L. G., & Manning, M. L. (2016). Multicultural counseling and psychotherapy: A lifespan approach. Routledge.
Nelson-Jones, R. (2015). Basic counselling skills: a helper’s manual. Sage.