Patterson describes several problems inherent in being a technique-driven counselor in a multicultural setting (1996). Though the paper is over 20 years old, it does still hold some merit in the information he conveys. He describes the problem of self-fulfilling prophecy in which a stereotype or preconceived belief will actually cause a client to act in the stereotypical manner and no be receptive to conventional therapy. A second problem he identifies is that just because a therapist knows a particular culture, doesn’t grant him a hall pass on the counseling. He states that knowledge of a culture alone cannot provide effective treatment; it must be combined into working theory and put into action. Third but definitely not last, Patterson discusses the problems of altering a therapeutic environment to fit the presumed needs of a certain cultural group. Finding ways to work around a road block (when culture clashes with the counseling process) would be more conducive than changing the counseling model to “presumed needs” of cultural groups.
Patterson (1996) goes on to suggest that building a rapport is most important in counseling, even multicultural. In this way, a therapist utilizes warmth, empathy, and genuineness to build the rapport for a comfortable and trusting therapeutic environment. Building a rapport does not negate confirmed and documented successful therapy strategies, but allows them to work. This approach allows the counselor to become “humanized” and able to work universally, and does away with the technique-driven strategy which can cause adverse results or hinder the process completely. Again, knowledge of the different cultures is recommended, but basing a counseling session and technique on the presumed characteristics of a culture for a client can cause more harm than good.
Patterson, C. H. (1996). Multicultural counseling: From diversity to universality. Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD, 74(3), 227. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/219011790?accountid=39364
The Patterson articles, discuss five problems inherent in being a technique driven counselor in a multicultural setting. The three out of the five that I will address will be the assumption regarding the characteristics of ethnic-minority groups to the self-fulfillment prophecy. The meaning of this if you are taught that a certain minority are a certain way then you are acceptable to believe that in that minority, but that same minority was brought up in the same environment s you were. Another one is the assumption that the counselors knowledge of the culture of his or her client will lead to more appropriate and effective therapy has not been borne out. Just because you may have an understanding of someone’s culture does not mean you are an expert in solving problem. It doesn’t make things easier. There are a lot that goes into one’s culture. The last one would be perhaps the greatest difficulty with accepting assumptions about the characteristics and so called needs of clients from differing cultures is that they will lead to failure, or lack of success, in counseling. The worst thing you can do is to draw assumptions. Assumptions are almost always wrong. These are ideas that people came up with and they have no facts.
What Patterson meant when he suggests that the solution to these problems is found in counselors becoming humanized would be few counselors ever ask what they can do to change themselves, few want to know how they can become better human beings in order to relate more effectually with other human beings who, through birth, are racially and ethnically different. I guess to elaborate becoming open minded and not be so quick to judge. I will show some type of empathy and respect for others beliefs and culture whether we understand it or not.
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