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ERIC Number: ED546891
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Must All Counselors Be Culturally Competent?
Gassama, Sorie
Online Submission
That the number of people from a variety of background is on the increase in all countries in the world is a fact that must be accepted, and not be ignored. This is especially true about western societies where people from diverse backgrounds seek refuge for a plethora of reasons. Some of these may be fleeing from war, political witch hunts, or economic starvation. When these are not the cases, people migrate temporarily to attain the education they might have been otherwise denied in their home countries, or which, they believe, might increase their chances of becoming what they aspire to become in their societies. Whatever the reasons for their migrations, one thing remains clear, and that is that they come in with different personalities, beliefs, and cultures. As is with all humans, when these people reach their destinations, they not only bring with them, but face new problems, and therefore need a lot of help if to make their transitions smooth, or even semi- permanent. Rendering these helps, may not be easy as one may predict. So being, the countries harboring these new arrivals must be well equipped with those professionals that can, to some extent relate to the culturally different migrants. Unfortunately, while there are many so called counselors, few can boast of being culturally competent. According to Sue and Sue (1990) most mental health professionals have not been trained to work with other than mainstream individuals or groups. For most western refugee agencies the idea, being there economically for the refugees they bring outweigh the social help they so badly need. In the United States for example, refugees are provided with free apartments and food stamps for a determined period of time not to last over four months, except in rare cases. The case workers they are assigned, are not culturally competent to solve the many challenges that the refugees face, and therefore cannot help them. Worst still, these case workers know nothing about the culture of the refugees, and when they refer them to counselors, it is only to make them swim deeper in their problems, because in many cases the counselors' approaches are culturally inappropriate so that the refugees remain hurt. While as the counselors' intentions are good, their lack of cultural competencies breed displeasure in the very people they strive to help. It is becoming increasingly clear that the assumptions, beliefs, and practices of our society are structured in such a manner so as to serve only one segment of the population ( D. W. Sue, Ivey a. Podersen, 1996). To make situations better for migrants, it is therefore very necessary to train counselors that are culturally competent.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A