Counselors working with clients addicted to substances or behaviors often find themselves treating individuals from diverse backgrounds. It is important that counselors approach the client-counselor relationship with cultural humility, a concept defined by Tervalon and Murray-Garcia (1998) as “acknowledging one’s own cultural identity while understanding the potential for its influence in providing care; recognizing the individualized nature of cultural experience; respecting diversity; and maintaining an openness to learning new understandings” In order to increase their competence in working with these clients, there are five steps counselors can take:
1. Educating oneself on culture: Counselors should begin by taking time to educate themselves on different cultures. This can include reading books, articles, or blogs related to various cultures as well as attending conferences or workshops about multicultural counseling (Sue & Sue 2018). Additionally, counselors should be prepared to research specific questions that arise when working with a culturally diverse client. Be sure not only to consider how crossing cultures may affect the therapeutic relationship but also how it may shape other aspects such as treatment goals and interventions (Tinsley et al., 2017).
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