Counselor and Client Characteristics
Culture, language, and class highly influence the impact of counseling on the minority groups. Native Americans have been largely affected by these factors due their population, social status, and culture. According to Sue, et al (2009), culture denotes common values, and history of inhabitants. Through culture, individual environment can be interpreted; the perception of a group of people can be shaped in addition to their function within their world. Appreciation of culture is essential in the counseling practice as providers are able to overcome stereotypes and biases, which can negatively influence their effort. This study compares generic and Native American characteristics in relation to customs. The study also describes personal characters and forms of mental health concerns encountered on Native American clients.
Generic characteristics of counseling with Native American characteristics
Generic features are different from the Native American features (Sue, 2003). Generic characters affirm that a person is the main unit with central responsibilities within the societal and personal context but with limited control of the environment. Individuals should be in a position to solve issues within their environment. Communication is practiced in Standard English either verbally or in written tradition. This feature appreciates direct eye contact with limited physical contact during client-counselor communication. Generic features uphold monogamous families with males as the worker and leader. They believe that females are subordinate to their husbands and thus are homemakers. In this group therefore, family setup is mainly patricentric.
On the contrary, Native American characteristics endorse high significance on their tribe (Sue, 2003). The tribe is significant and assumes major roles and control of the environment. Therefore, individuals receive rewards and status on their adherence to tribal construction. Families are difficult to categorize as they consist of both matriarchal and patriarchal categories. They hold high significance on spirituality, tradition, environment, and family networks, which dictate their communication behaviors. They prefer listening and observing instead of reacting to avoid conflicts. Therefore, they would rather keep quiet as they reflect on the best response instead of reacting.
Reflection on the personal culture, class, and language
In my culture, an individual is the main unit who has control over the environment, and the society. Individuals come from monogamous family, which is the basis of the culture. The male is the provider whereas the females support the males in meeting their objectives. Personal conviction is derived from belief and societal principles. A person in free to respond according to their desire and silence is perceived as rude when communicating with a person.
Types of mental health concerns to encounter on a Native American client
In counseling practice, diverse mental health concerns are encountered on a Native American client. These are mainly results of high poverty levels in their society, low levels of academics and exposure and limited resources. Mental health concerns include aspects of psychological discomforts, which result to Schizophrenia, alcohol abuse and dependence related sicknesses and substance abuse among the adults. Substance abuse in children and women is perceived to have resulted to anxiety, depressive, conduct, mood, and attention disorders (Sue, 2003).
Approaches of Counselor to a Native American Client
To reflect understanding of personal characters and the client’s counselors ought to approach the client’s situations differently (Wang & Kim, 2010). Counselors possess their own language and professional traditions in handling clients. A counselor ought to respect and honor the Native American culture as a depiction of understanding of the client. It is therefore necessary to remain open to learn the client’s culture and overlook previous stereotypes associated with the families and relations of the client. It is essential to delay judgment when evaluating the stages of care. When dealing with these clients, counselors are advised to perceive the clients as distinctive within their Native Americans. This is necessary as some of them are defined by the varying background and experiences in their lives.
To depict sensitivity of client’s features and experiences, the provider should embrace serving attitude (Sue, et al, 2009). In cases where the cultures are varying, the counselor is obliged to honor and set aside personal culture and make individual changes in dealing with the client to overcome cultural clashes and ethical dilemmas. The counselor should be willing to acknowledge the role assumed as a power broker within the healthcare setup and deal with the counseling in a holistic approach. The professional should appropriately understand verbal and non-verbal messages from the client.
Counselor’s character, attitude, and belief on counseling practice will enable the client to open up to the counselor and discuss their culture. This will further result to the client seeking care, participate in the healthcare plan, and care prescriptions (Sue, 2003), in addition to ensure that the counselor understands their culture. Therefore, counselor’s reactions will make the client have a place of belonging within the healthcare setting, understand the system, and overcome the prevailing mental problem. These reactions are additionally essential in managing internalized oppression and institutional racism on Native Americans.
Generic culture, language, and class are highly contrasting with those of the Native Americans’. Providers should appreciate personal and varying culture to manage prevailing oppression and institutional racism (Wang & Kim, 2010). Therefore, providers should overcome domineering stereotypes and biases against the Native Americans to assist them in appreciating medical heath care and following the process in managing mental problems.
Sue, D. W., Sue, D., & Sue, D. W. (2003). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and
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Wang, S. & Kim, S. K. B. (2010). Therapist Multicultural Competence, Asian American
Participants’ Cultural Values and Counseling Process: Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Sue, S., Zane, N., Hall, C. G., & Berger, K. L. (2009). The Case for Cultural Competency in Psychotherapeutic Interventions: Annu Rev Psychol. 60: 525-548