Buy research paper: Culture

Question 1. Think about a client population that may face social stigma (prisoners, those with psychological disorders, or those living with a physical or intellectual disability). What are some common perceptions and misconceptions about this group? How does the reading on cross-cultural competence help you relate to these populations in an effective and positive way?
The term “culture” in its broad sense covers not only distinct race and ethnicity, but also such concepts as class, religion, age, sex, mental characteristics etc (Sue & Arredondo & McDavis, 1992). Thus, from the broad perspective cross-cultural competences are a must for every counselor: without these core competences a counselor can perform unethical and potentially harmful actions with regard to the client. Working with clients facing a social stigma (for example, prisoners) also obliges the counselor to be cross-culturally competent.
The society heavily stigmatizes prisoners and those who were imprisoned in the past: such people might be regarded as inferior or deviant individuals. Representatives of the social majority believe that prisoners have certain deficiencies in their character and will turn to recidivism sooner or later. However, the real picture is different: less than 1/3 prisoners returned to jail again, and about 35% of these issues took place due to technical violations of parole (Espejo, 2002). Thus, social perception of prisoners as malicious human beings mostly emerges due to misinformation and stereotypes.
Counseling is not isolated from the society (Sue & Arredondo & McDavis, 1992), and the counselor can also be affected by social stereotypes, even unintentionally. Being aware of cross-cultural differences and possessing major skills for working in culturally diverse environment will help the counselor to keep track of own assumptions about the client and to avoid stigmatizing the prisoner. Practicing different strategies for working with multicultural population can enable the counselor to be more effective in understanding the client and in finding the right approaches. One of most important things in cross-cultural training is that counselor can be aware of own society-imposed errors and can select methods of eliminating stigmatized perception of the client. Getting rid of stereotypes is a must for a counselor to develop a positive attitude to the imprisoned client and to provide effective and quality service.
Question 2. As a future human services professional, how do the cross-cultural competencies impact how you would evaluate clients or programs? Choose at least two different competency areas and discuss them in detail..
Knowledge of cross-cultural competencies can greatly enrich professional outlook and perception of a human services professional. Since we are operating in an environment which is becoming more and more diverse, the ability to evaluate things from a multicultural perspective becomes more and more important for a counselor. The standards do not provide a clear formulation of cross-cultural competencies and skills. One of frameworks that can be used to define cross-cultural competency areas is the framework created by the Division of Counseling Psychology.
Competencies defined by Sue and Sue (1982) (Sue & Arredondo & McDavis, 1992) include nine competency areas. For a counselor all of these areas are of high importance, but I would like to focus on “awareness of own assumptions, values and biases” and “developing appropriate intervention strategies and techniques” (Sue & Arredondo & McDavis, 1992). For evaluating clients and/or programs, both of these competencies are crucial.
Being aware of own assumptions and biases, a counselor can separate the objective situation and these prejudices, and arrive to a more clear evaluation of the case. Moreover, if a counselor is unable to “step out” of the vision imposed by the society, he cannot provide effective treatment. The same can be stated for human service professionals: the contact with the client should be built on the unbiased perception, and only then it can be successful.
In addition to understanding own biases, a human services professional should know how to address these biases and how to approach different clients. The diversity of the term “culture” yields plenty areas when diversity has to be addressed. A counselor should be able to determine the areas where the cross-cultural differences take place (for each client), and he should possess adequate techniques to address these differences. These two competencies in combination provide a solid background for unbiased evaluation of clients and programs, and future effective actions of the professional.

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