Advocacy for Counseling Profession and Client
Advocacy for Counseling Profession and Client. The counseling profession has for a long time been applied to help clients deal with their emotional problems, as well as retain their coping mechanisms. Counseling is a helping profession that helps individuals deal with and live through disappointing moments which disable their coping mechanisms or people. Arguably, human beings of all races and colors experience stressful moments at one point in life. Stressing moments of life could entail emotional turmoil after losing a relative or a close friend or a life experience that gives individuals horrible memories and feelings. Left on their own, stressed individuals develop severe dysfunctions, which temper the daily activities and functioning of individuals.
Most importantly, counseling intervention is vital to individuals because people who are stressed can easily find their way to depression. Unless such dysfunctions are treated, they can kill clients within days (Murphy-Berman, 2003). This explanation spells out the significance of the counseling profession, which is crucial for the structure of this paper (Chin, 2004). This brief overview will analyze the impact of prejudice and Bias on counseling relationships. Further, the paper will explore the responsibilities of a professional counselor to advocate for parity and diversity of service.
Prejudice and Bias and Counseling
Prejudice describes the negative assumption or prejudgment made concerning an individual without meaningful information to judge such an individual. Prejudice makes people reach conclusions about other people without certainty or accuracy. Prejudice is a preconceived judgment of an individual due to gender, race, disability, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, among others (Neukrug, 2001). In most cases, prejudice leads to other severe social evils, such as discrimination, which exposes people to mistreatment because of their appearance but not their character or potential. On the same note, Bias describes an inclination to hold a partial perspective at the cost of other valid alternatives (Kottler & Shepard, 2011). A biased aspect lacks a neutral viewpoint, as they are always one-sided. It is imperative to note that prejudice and Bias are used interchangeably, and they may mean more or else the same thing (Murphy-Berman, 2003).
The two terms discussed above, prejudice and Bias, are highly significant in counseling relationships. Prejudice and Bias affect the establishment of a productive relationship between the counselor and the client. Sometimes, counselors are tempted to judge their clients by their appearance and form an attitude toward these people (Neukrug, 2001). It is essential that a counselor maintains an enabling environment and regard every client with respect and dignity. A counseling intervention cannot be effective unless the client feels he is being appreciated. A counselor must comprehend the fact that the counseling profession is placed at the center of human life. This position means people will seek counseling services from different walks of life, and they come with different life issues.
Essentially, if prejudice or Bias in their judgments guides a counselor, then the counseling relationship that will be developed will be entirely unproductive, as this will affect the intervention and case building (Neukrug, 2001). A counselor should avoid judging people on their ethnicity or color. Counselors should listen to every client’s story, as well as handle the case objectively. As a counselor, one cannot choose the clients or the race of the clients that come for help (Murphy-Berman, 2003). Therefore, one should be prepared to deal with people of all races and religious beliefs using the single concept that they are all clients seeking professional help. It has been proved beyond doubt that humans are all unique and different and cannot behave the same. These differences are the ones that make people who they are, and nobody should assume that people are supposed to be this way or that way (Neukrug, 2001). The best thing a counselor should do is accept cultural relativism and individual differences, as people cannot behave the same way (Murphy-Berman, 2003).
Notably, a person can be inclined or biased over another person without intending to do so or unconsciously (Murphy-Berman, 2003). This possibility is a severe issue to my work because I am strategically positioned to receive clients from different racial groups and cultural beliefs. The most significant problem is that I can unconsciously express prejudice and Bias to a client, which would automatically affect my relationship with the client (Murphy-Berman, 2003). These possibilities would easily cripple my intervention approach and eventually temper the outcome.
Diversity and Parity of Services
It has become apparent to most scholars and professionals that, for a long time, people have been judged wrongly by strangers (Murphy-Berman, 2003). Further, people have been subjected to programs that are irrelevant to their life situations due to the assumption that all people will benefit from a service. On the contrary, there is nothing like a universal service or intervention that can benefit all people and help them with their life problems (Chin, 2004). Mental health and counseling programs emphasize parity and diversity of intervention programs to ensure that the interventions respond to the needs of different people (Sue & Sue, 1990).
Arguably, people used to assume that standard programs were crucial in dealing with universal problems and issues that affect the lives of clients. However, it has been proved beyond doubt that people have come from different life experiences and encounters (Chin, 2004). The essence of disparity of services is to ensure that all individuals get fair services and treatment, which addresses the issues that are affecting that person, instead of deliberate approaches, which leave out most of the crucial aspects of the individual situations and circumstances. It is the responsibility of a counselor to respond to the concerns of parity and disparity of services to clients.
This can be achieved by treating all clients as unique individuals and respecting their means of earning livelihoods. The best thing for a counselor is to engage in diverse and intensive research, ensuring that the counselor has ample knowledge of human diversity and cultural differences (Chin, 2004). With this information, then I will have understood the dynamics of human behavior; thus develop treatment plans and intervention approach after listening to the story of everyone (Sue & Sue, 1990). In this case, the counselor’s responsibility is to ensure that they promote diversity in all individuals seeking their services and help people appreciate their uniqueness.
Expanding Perspectives of Others
There are various avenues that an individual can utilize to expand other people’s perspectives. The first way of expanding individual perspective is extensive research to establish how other people view life (Chin, 2004). Research exposes an individual to plenty of information, which can expand a person’s knowledge concerning the views and beliefs of life. Inquiry into any field expands an individual’s knowledge to the extent of mastering the dynamics of a life phenomenon (Kottler & Shepard, 2011).
Secondly, I will read books and literature which describe life using different perspectives. Such books will include diverse cultural literature and books have been written by different authors from different cultural backgrounds (Chin, 2004). This literature will be beneficial for my quest for knowledge and expansion of the knowledge base, as well as opinions from other people.
Thirdly, I will visit different parts of the planet to get a clue about how things are done in different places. This traveling will involve keen observations of the activities and operations of other people (Sue & Sue, 1990). Apparently, traveling exposes individuals to various things in the world. People do things differently, and they think differently depending on their culture and environment. Therefore, traveling is the best way to learn how other people view things in the world.
Fourthly, I intend to take a few courses that will facilitate a clear understanding of the human dynamics that affect human behavior. Further, these courses facilitate the interaction of people from various cultures and regions of the planet. During the training and education period, I will have a chance to learn from others (Kottler & Shepard, 2011). The final way to expand my knowledge of other people’s perspectives will be to expand my circle of friends. This circle will entail many friends from as many cultural backgrounds as possible. The wide circle will automatically improve my understanding of other people over time. The interactions with these friends will give valuable experiences on how people think and behave.
Chin, J. L. (2004). The psychology of prejudice and discrimination: 3. Westport, Conn. [u.a.: Praeger Publ.
Kottler, J. A. & Shepard, D. S. (2011). Introduction to counseling: Voices from the field. Belmont, Calif: Brooks/Cole.
Neukrug, E. (2011). Counseling theory and practice. Australia: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.
Murphy-Berman, V. (2003). Cross-cultural differences in perspectives on the self. Lincoln [u.a.: Univ. of Nebraska Press.
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (1990). Counseling the culturally different: Theory and practice. New York: J. Wiley.