Increasingly, academic programs are including education on the diverse needs of minority groups as part of counseling education programs. A growing body of research suggests that understanding differing cultural backgrounds and how this might affect the therapeutic process is essential for counseling effectiveness.
Discrimination Isolation within the larger society Feelings of frustration and anger Difficulty finding support and friendships with other people of Color in Portland Challenged by the lack of diversity and social justice all around you Like you I have dealt with these challenges.
Being a Portland native I understand how Portland can appear to people of color. Many people have shared with me their experience of culture shock upon moving to Portland.
There is an adjustment to living in the City of Roses plus there can be other issues to face as well. Ever get overly anxious, worried, or suspicious but not sure exactly why?
Are you spending your free time over indulging in food, media games, television, alcohol or some other substances? Do you sometimes feel lonely, out of place, or isolated? Unfortunately most African Americans do not ever seek counseling when it could be a benefit.
Many of us view counseling or psychotherapy with Counseling african americans and caution. I want to help change this. As African Americans and other people of color we seem to have the idea that we do not have many of the same issues as white people.
Being the decedents of people who endured the ultimate human horror — slavery — and the extreme hardships of racism and discrimination, we feel that many of the modern problems seem small and trivial.
As a result of all this many of our own issues go without help. To be fair, counseling still has a stigma associated with it no matter your race or ethnicity.
However non-people of color are not dissuaded from therapy or counseling and end up using this valuable service and benefiting from it. Many get better, move past issues in their lives, and go on to live more productive and satisfying lives.
As African Americans we are not, often enough, taking advantage of a service available to us.
Now this is fine and I believe friends, family and religious affiliation can be very helpful. Sometimes church ministers and pastors are not trained in psychology, personal growth, or development like a trusted counselor or therapist. Friends and family can mean well but may be too close to your problems or have invested interest in your decisions unlike a counselor who is objective and has no agenda except to support you.
And lastly sometimes our issues are just too much for family and others to handle effectively. Other Issues For Counseling Besides the challenge of being an African American living in Portland Oregon and personal psychological issues there may be other issues that counseling can help with.
Are you a first generation graduate in your family and are facing new social and cultural situations that are challenging? Do you come from a family history of economic challenge or poverty and find it hard to deal with affluence?
Have you gone through so much racism that sometimes you are not sure if it is coming from the outside discrimination or inside internalized racism? These are unique issues that African Americans and other people of color face.
In our culture many of these problems will be little understood.Counseling African Americans Ethnic and Racial Identity As we have learned previously African Americans go through a process of racial identity.
This process reflects perspectives regarding the self and relationship with others. Depending on where an individual is in the racial identity process will greatly influence the counseling process. Correspondingly, African Americans are reluctant to participate in medical research and are even today underrepresented in many medical treatment studies.
Cultural mistrust is linked to the underuse of vital mental health care services, leaving many without needed care.
Unfortunately most African Americans do not ever seek counseling when it could be a benefit. Many of us view counseling or psychotherapy with suspicion and caution. I want to help change this.
As African Americans and other people of color we seem to have the idea that we do not have many of the same issues as white people.
Culturally Alert Counseling: Working With African American Clients A Training Video for Counselors Written by Garrett J. McAuliffe Based on the video produced by Garrett McAuliffe, Ed.D. University Professor of Counseling College of Education Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA African Americans share the same mental health issues as the rest of the population, with arguably even greater stressors due to racism, prejudice, and economic disparities.
In this series of blog entries, we will look at some counseling considerations for African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans.
Please note that these blog entries are not meant to be a complete description of cultural factors, but rather to provide some useful information to give you a “head start” in your counseling.