Summary of the Article
The article depicts the reality of multicultural marriages in the US and the existing counseling gaps. The constitutional amendment in the US paved way for rapid growth of the number of interracial marriages. It comes to light that the rise in interracial marriages has not reduced the number of problems these couples and their children face as the situation remains the same as it was before the Constitution legalized interracial unions, and they are still negatively perceived by the whole society thus facing rejection (Wilt, 2011). That is why multiracial children end up struggling in a bid to form coherent racial identity. Shockingly, their parents often lack sufficient preparedness to raise their children. In response, it is imperative for the counselor to develop strong ties with such families to successfully foster healthy racial identity development (Wilt, 2011). The article reveals the real situation concerning psychosocial functioning of multicultural couples with supportive data and ideas complementing information under discussion.
Challenges of Working with Clients of a Particular Identity in Couples and Family Counseling
Language Bias and Misunderstanding
While counseling people of different culture, religion, sexual orientation and gender, harmonizing language use through correct choice of words and vocabularies not to offend any person has proven difficult. Despite use of a common language across competencies, many authors still recognize variation in language among transgender communities (American Counseling Association, 2009). These distinctions hardly influence correct use of language. For instance, transgender individuals require careful use of self-ientified pronouns in references to gender such as “hir” and “ze” (American Counseling Association, 2009). Therefore, maintaining harmony in a group therapy is difficult as it is easy for a patient to offend another person during sharing time with the use of certain words unconsciously.
Dealing with Fear among These People
Victims of prejudice and discrimination because of their culture, religion, gender and sexuality experience hatred and irrational fear towards people who violate, transgress and blur them in a particular society (American Counseling Association, 2009). As such, a counselor is under constant pressure to avoid erroneous behavior and any kind of assumption.
Maintaining Uttermost Confidentiality
Privacy is a principal issue in counseling. Confidentiality is viewed differently by people of different cultures, religions, genders and sexuality (Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, 1992). Thus, assuring confidentiality of all the shared information to such a diverse group of individuals is a difficult act. For instance, women share their private information easier compared to men while Muslims believe that there are certain things they should not share publicly. Finding a common ground for such opposing mindsets is a challenging task for a counselor.
To establish clear and appropriate assessment of the client, it is imperative to put into consideration various cultural and ethnic factors that may have significant impact on the person presenting situation. Such aspects may include discrimination, oppression, racism and stereotyping. Awareness of these factors enables a coounselor to suppress any racist feeling, attitudes and beliefs (Arredondo et al., 1996). In other words, counselor must have full knowledge of the client he/she is dealing with such as family history, past traumatic events in the patient’s life, his/her beliefs and culture. As such, it is easy to gain confidence of a client and overcome the issues that hamper possible improvement. For example, when a white counselor is working with a black lady with self-esteem issues which are a result of cultural influence, the former must make the patient feel secure in her own skin. In summary, appropriate assessment of client requires taking counter measures against negative cultural cues.
A culturally competent counselor is one who has adopted the cultural worldview of the patient by attaining cultural awareness and competence. This mindset is quintessential in handling different clients of diverse cultural origins such as language groups, countries, religions and belief systems (Arredondo et al., 1996). Thus, such a counselor is flexible enough to treat serious and new cases even as cultures evolve.
Psychosocial functioning among multicultural couples, families and children has evolved in recent years in terms of practices employed to accommodate diversity. Counselors have to be mindful of race, culture, ethnicity and sexuality to create a successful interaction and provide an effective treatment to any patient. Cross-cultural counseling practices have recognized the need to handle issues of masculinity, cultural hegemony, power, influence and racism. Currently, one of the biggest challenges of multicultural counseling is inclusion of traditional healing practices in discourse to encourage ethnic minorities to actively participate in counseling.