Wherever you're considering your training, you will be introduced to different cultures and ethnicities, therefore it's very important to bring awareness to your own cultural values and biases and then build upon these and educate yourself about other cultures.
Here are our 10 guidelines (albeit tentative).
- To be able to provide a warm caring non-judgemental atmosphere within which the client can feel safe to trust.
- To have a genuine interest in the client's culture.
- To develop awareness of one's own cultural framework and how this may differ from that of the client.
- To attempt to gain knowledge of the moral values of the other culture.
- To be aware of your own cultural norms about non-verbal communication.
- The offering of empathy may have profound effects on the counsellor, effects that can be both distressing or can facilitate learning.
- The counsellor needs to have security within his/her own cultural identity and personality to risk exploring in the client's cultural framework and yet not get lost in it.
- The counsellor needs to consider carefully many ethical concepts including confidentiality, his/her role in the situation, his/her underlying philosophy, all of which may have very different connotations for the clients.
- To develop knowledge of when it may be appropriate to refer people to other forms of help (possibly from other cultures) and try to build a network of such provision.
- Need for training, supervision and support, including an awareness of racism.
This is such a huge topic and this is merely a small taster for you to reflect upon. Over the next few weeks, we will explore this a little more.