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Counselling in a diverse society - stereotyping, language issues, different belief systems, family structures, family life experiences

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I will evaluate, using examples, the relevance of the following in the counselling process:- stereotyping language issues different belief systems family structures family life experiences Stereotyping A stereotype is a popular belief about specific types of individuals. Stereotypes are standardized and simplified conceptions of groups based on some prior assumptions. "Stereotyping is where qualities are assigned to groups of people, based on their, for example, - race, religion, class, disability, age, gender, and sexual orientation. These qualities, characteristics, are generally "oversimplified, rigid, and often prejudicial" (Gladding, 2006) and results in a distorted image of a group. This distortion ignores the diversity within a group, so therefore should be avoided. Stereotyping can be positive and negative, however stereotyping generally results in a negative image of a group and should be avoided. I need to be aware of how I stereotype people and try to ensure that within the counselling process, that stereotyping does not prevent me from offering unconditional positive regard. I also need to be aware of how the client is stereotyping me. For example: If we were walking through a park late at night and encounter a gang of senior citizens, we may not feel as threatened as if we were met by a gang of teenage hoodies. This is a stereotypical generalization which generally derives from the reading books, watching television/movies and listening to stories from friends and family. What we must realise is by doing this we are resorting to prejudice by ascribing characteristics about a person based on a stereotype, without the true knowledge or total facts. Language issues "Being misunderstood begets anger, frustration and even hatred. By contrast, to be understood evokes trust, gratitude, exploration, love and aspiration. The use of language is absolutely central to the communication process and however much good intent there is, on both sides of the conversation, if misunderstandings persists then the potential for therapy is substantially diminished if not stopped altogether." ...read more.


Family life experiences influence the development of an individual which will influence their frame of reference in the future. From this family life experiences and upbringing, valuable knowledge and skills are learnt. These can be reused at different stages throughout life. For example: If i could not get chore's completed because of "surfing the internet" (Wilson Library Bulletin,1992.) or my physical, emotional or mental needs are being neglected through time misuse. Skills and knowledge acquired from my schooling days have made me experienced and aware of situations like this. I may consider setting up a positive constructive timetable to adhere too, to enable me to address time balance inadequacies, enabling me to manage my time more affectively and therefore as a result become more productive. Family life experiences will influence the counselling process. Counsellors bring with them their cultural manifestations as well as their unique personal, social and psychological background. These factors interact with the cultural and personal factors brought by the client. Cultural divisions and heritage Cultures divisions can be described "as the shared history, practices beliefs and values of a racial, regional or religious group of people." (D'Ardenne & Mahtani, 1989). These influences touch on all aspects of individual's life such as language, thinking, beliefs, and modes of behaviour and relationships and are dictated by: race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, class and accent. We have all inherited from our parents, siblings and peers, bigotries and prejudices, some of which are deeply imbedded in our subconscious and are therefore not easily identified. It is suggested in the Western world we believe that we are liberally minded and therefore relatively free of prejudice, but in reality this is not so. Consequently cultural divisions and heritage can have a negative effect on the counselling process. Cultural heritage is unique and irreplaceable. The deliberate act of keeping cultural heritage from the present for the future is known as preservation. ...read more.


This is useful because it allows the client to be informed of what is on offer, what's expected of them in terms of the conditions of cancelations, time constraints and the ethical boundaries in line with the professional code. Disadvantage is that it, initially, could slow down the rate at which the therapeutic relationship develops, the ethical principles related to councillors would not reflect Autonomy "respect for the client's right to be self-governing" (BACP) if the client feels powerless. This may result in the client not being able to find their own solutions or answers to their situation. Moreover a power imbalance may stop the client from disclosing or even turning up to the sessions. As a counsellor I must also be aware of potentially mirroring any inequalities which I have acquired. In my catholic up-bringing it is instilled onto us that homosexuality in wrong and therefore I am aware when in a counselling setting I do not judge them according to the scriptures set down by the Holy Bible, society, family values, life experiences and the media. I must offer Unconditional Positive Regard at all times and also be aware of transference and counter-transference. * Transference: "In psychoanalysis, the process by which emotions and desires originally associated with one person, such as a parent or sibling, are unconsciously shifted to another person, especially to the analyst" * "Countertransference: A psychotherapist's own repressed feelings in reaction to the emotions, experiences, or problems of a person undergoing treatment" http://www.answers.com/topic/countertransference#ixzz1qGdmuqP5 Transference can occur quite easily. Clients sometimes look up to the counsellor as a person of power, someone in charge whom they can associate with other people who have been instrumental to them in their lives. If transference was to occur in the session, it would become difficult for me to develop a therapeutic relationship which would not be beneficial to the client. Ethically I should speak to my supervisor, seek professional help form another counsellor to enable me to deal with this situation or consider referring the client on. ...read more.

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