Trans-Cultural Counseling Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:06:56
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Category: Multiculturalism

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One of the greatest challenges in counseling today is being able to deliver services that respond to the social developments that translate to responsive and effective psychological care. Hand in hand with globalization, people are not only having to deal with the social changes but also have to deal with the accelerated pace of these developments. Growing cultural diversity, economic challenges and globalization are a few of the major factor shaping society today. DArdenne and Mahtani, (1989) were among the ones to raise awareness regarding the issues that highlight the needed competencies and review of previous standards and approaches for counseling services.

According to the article published by the Clinical Psychology Forum, Racially and Culturally Appropriate, recognizing culture and ethnicity are essential to create programs that consider the overall perspective of the individual and the circumstances of conditions that reflect a realization the pressures that individuals and groups because of the developing social scenarios. This is to provide emotional and psychological support for those that are most challenged which are often also are cultural minorities, the economically challenged, the youth and the elderly.

Trans-Cultural Challenges

Continuing research in to the nature of human psychology and mental health is now providing mental health care professional more insights to develop treatment, therapy and rehabilitation that is more sensitive to the needs of patients but also considers more the reality of patients lives. Particularly since the 1970s, mental and psychological health services have begun to realize the need to revolutionize the treatment of mental illness.

Developments in technology and health care services are changing the field of mental health nursing. Concurrent researches in the fields of psychology and sociology have revealed the importance of mental health and the programs that promote and support the same objectives. These developments have considered more factors of the state of human condition and the realities that they contend with. And what is most critical in understanding the human condition is understanding the individual in terms of his history, culture and experience.

Mahtani and Marks (1994) point out that the valuation trans-cultural issues must be rooted in the most basic approaches and perspectives of counselors and psychiatrists. Their opinion is that psychology services must not just equate it as a factor in dealing with their clients, but rather see it as a pervasive and everlasting component of the individual. It is then prescribed that services should be able to address not only known conditions but also those that are yet recognized or have yet to develop. The objective is not just to be able to recognize trans-cultural issues but also to develop proficiency in dealing with related issues in the future.

The influence of trans-cultural issues is both direct and indirect. It develops form social conditioning, experience and perception. Though it is a very significant influence to individuals, they are not reliable in terms of establishing standards for approaches. Therefore, one should consider them as theoretical precepts that have to be proven true first before being considered a factor in the case or session (Davies & Neal, 1996).

In the edition of Gender and Power in Families edited by Perelberg and Miller, they site that in the case of genre roles in the family, there are unique dynamics that contribute to the roles assigned to each of the member that influence how the manner by which individuals roles in other groups or situations in work, their personal lives or generally in society. However they also mention that though individuals are molded by these roles, the new groups or scenarios that they encounter other than their families may encourage the development of similar roles or discourage them equally.

Counseling and Culture

            How does culture impact counseling? It affects by its very foundations: the definition of normality depends significantly on the perspective by which it is defined. The problem of defining normalcy and any subsequent counseling or treatment is because it is so closely associated with conformity that it becomes difficult to universalize considering differences in norms which is greatly defined by the cultural majority (Mahtani & Marks, 1994).

For example, the utilization of normality is critical in theorizing the cause of mental disorders. Aside from creating serving as standard to measure deviation, it can also be used to establish statistical characteristics and tendencies for the population. Davies and Neal consider the case of homosexuality. Though it has been taken off the list of psychological and even a general acceptance, there still a significant amount of negativity attached to it. And this is not just by religions or societies that still consider it an abnormality. Perceptions attached to homosexuality are a cause of identification even in societies that have accepted it.

Either way, it is an important factor in evaluating patient problems, expected outcomes of mental illnesses and the needed rehabilitation and treatment according to Perelberg and Miller. Undeniably, a person is a product of his self and the manner by which his environment affects him. In all theoretical models regarding the development of a personality, the conscious person is supposed to be motivated by internal interactions within his person. These two levels of personality interact with his environment and affect him individualistically developing his unique personality and psychological identity (DArdenne & Mahtani, 1989). In both levels, culture has a role: the definition of the internal person is influenced by his culture and at the same time, the society he moves in responds to culture as well.

Professional Implications

            The sensitivity to cultural issues are critical in being able to asses and develop treatment for conditions. Thus, the recognition of cultural issues and their consideration in the development of programs should become a priority of every institution and professional. This, from the  work of Mahtani and Marks, includes the need to identify what the cultural perception and influences of patients and psychologist, counselors and other metal health professionals are. This must then be communicated to the educational and training of professional.

            There should be a realization that the insensitivity to these issues can result to the alienation and disenfranchisement or members of the society. DArdenne and Mahtani believe that there can be debilitating effects: it deters those with culture related issues from being able to be productive members of the society because they feel that they are not part or valued by society. This stems from their inability to access social and economic opportunities regardless of their availability.

Professionals continuing education is one of best strategies to keep at pace with these researches and developments. Authorities in the field judge that there is a need to appraise model for continuing professional development not just to ensure that patients get the best care but also to afford career enrichment for professionals. Studies have indicated that most professionals are given very little opportunity, motivation or alternatives for professional development regarding cultural issues which has limited the professional development and skills regarding the issue.

Therefore, efforts to alleviate whatever conditions that contributes to negative effects or limiting effects of cultural should be a priority concern. This involves the resolution of the issues not only from the perspective of clients but also just as importantly on the part of the counselor. Counselors are aware that they should remain impartial but there should now greater realization if perceptions of clients are being influenced by the counselors own cultural perspectives.


Multiculturalism is not just about culture, its core objective is to be able to incorporate different heritages to create a society that celebrates all the richness of humanity. It is the mark of a society that embraces the world and lives unafraid of the unknown. It is the foundation of a just and broadminded society. The development of a multicultural society is a reflection of true social progress. Most of the conflicts in human history were initiated by forms of cultural intolerance.

A comprehensive understanding of the significance and principles of how trans-cultural issues influence diagnoses, conditions and treatment is a knowledge base that all professionals should have. There are many issues that can effect trans-cultural issues among them are disabilities, gender, social class, educational attainment, cultural notions and age. These factors create a great range of treatments and patient needs. At the same time, it also creates a wide range of possible treatment outcomes and interventions.

Regardless of the issues, it should be understood that if trans-cultural issues are not fully addressed or responded to, there can be no comprehensive progress in communicating with the subject. Sensitivity to theses issues afford better mental and psychological health and have the potential of increasing greater awareness and sensitivity in society as a whole.

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