Cultural awareness is basically possessing knowledge on the beliefs and values that are held by an individual (LaFromboise, 1985). In counseling intervention, it is imperative for the counselor to be aware of his/her culture, beliefs and values to be able to provide effective interventions. Likewise, the client needs also to have an awareness of their culture.
If one understand culture, basic tendencies, what culture places on our comprehension, our philosophies of life and capabilities, then we are likely to approach an issue in an objective manner. Our cultural prejudices and stereotypes should not hinder our effectiveness in counseling clients. Therefore, this awareness will help in guarding our own self prejudices to guide or lead us through the intervention process. An example of a situation where individual need to guard or be aware of their culture to impact positively in counseling intervention is to learn and appreciate other peoples cultures. For instance, when meeting, an individual from Africa, the dialogue begins with a firm hard shake. This therefore creates a rapport and good relationship that allows the process of counseling intervention successful. If this is not done at the beginning of the dialogue, the other party may not feel that warmth and freedom to express their views and this may deter the process of intervention.
People have different needs that require different understanding and education background. In treating persons with disabilities, an individual need to acquire special training in special education to be aware of the needs and how to treat such people. To treat people of different colors, an individual is required to be educated and have skills and knowledge to appreciate and understand other people.
LaFromboise, T. (1985). “The Role of Cultural Diversity in Counseling Psychology.” The counseling psychologist 13 (1985): 649-655.
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