Examine how social and cultural factors influence the counseling relationship and are reflected in counseling theory and practice.

Directions: In 250-300 words reply to the classmate discussion post below. Your reply must add some sort of feedback to the classmate. Be sure to site and reference one source in your reply. Please remember to include appropriate formatting using the APA manual, 6thed. This is very important as a graduate level student. Be precise, concise and clear and give you instructor exactly what the rubric and instructions ask for when completing your assignments. Graduate quality work is expected to be free from spelling and grammatical errors, written according to the most current APA formatting guidelines, and adhere to the specific assignment rubrics that are provided. APA style also applies to reference pages and citations.

After reading the case “Carving a Mask,” from the Vernon text, I feel it is crucial for counselors to be cognizant of multiculturalism without any regards to personal opinions or religious stance.  Being that a person’s background cultural upbringing involves “behavior, attitudes, feelings, and cognitions related to our identities living within the world” (Hays & Erford, 2014, p. 6), it is impractical to expect those in need of counseling to neglect or disregard their backgrounds simply because we have our own opinions /views about their values, religion, etc.  Personally, I feel it is imperative that we set aside our personal opinions and instead perform as counselors so we may contribute significant guidance. If we ridicule or condemn religious practices, we could be condemning or ridiculing that person; the bible tells us that we do not have a right to do that.  They may feel a connection to their religion that is more than a practice to them, but more so as part of their makeup or lifestyle. To be able to prepare and give the best services we can, it is imperative that counselors “engage in multicultural counseling practices that better serve the needs of a diverse population” (Hays & Erford, 2004). Once that is successful, counselors can be successful with clients.
Being Myron’s counselor, I would have faced multiple challenges. The first challenge would have been acclimating myself to Alaskan traditions and native rituals. Coming from a Christian background, I have little to no knowledge about native practices; this would have been outside the norm for me. The second challenge would have been trying to identify people who could provide ongoing and culturally responsive support after the funeral and upon Myron’s return to foster placement. Searching for culturally responsive guidance outside of counseling requires a level of training, time, and patience. Vernon (2009) stated, “That a final aspect of cultural responsiveness is multicultural competence, which is enhanced by extensive multicultural training” (Vernon, 2009, p. 162).
There are multiple steps I can take to ensure that I will be as prepared as possible for multicultural counseling situations. These steps could include:
1. Developing an awareness of multicultural beliefs, practices, and skills necessary to counsel socially and culturally diverse individuals. Vernon (2009) suggested “That a counselor must take time to learn which practices and beliefs regarding problems, healing, and change are important to the client (Vernon, 2009, p. 162-163).
2. Developing strategies for working with diverse individuals, couples, families, groups, communities, and multicultural competencies via case conceptualization and treatment planning.  According to Vernon (2009), counselors should have the ability to incorporate a variety of conceptualizations and treatment strategies with diverse client populations.
3. Examining how social and cultural factors influence the counseling relationship and are reflected in counseling theory and practice. Constantine (2001a) found that theoretical orientation aside, a counselor whom clients perceive as empathic “is likely to develop effective working relationships with these individuals, resulting in potentially beneficial counseling outcomes” (p.343).

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