Counseling and Therapy Exists to Serve the Needs of the People Within Societies

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Updated: Jun 28, 2022
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Words such as culture, race, and ethnicity are extremely prevalent in counseling today. Counseling does not exist in a vacuum. We may sometimes feel that what is happening in the outside world is shut out of the counseling room, but it is not and has never been. Counseling and therapy exists to serve the needs of the people within our societies. We have all read, wrote, and heard about the importance of advocating for our clients. For many people, counseling provides the only safe space they may ever experience. Therefore, it is our privilege and duty to serve our clients.

Many clinicians believe that counseling should hold a neutral position. However, I beg to differ. First, the most basic fact is that we all share in the human experience which connects us, whether we choose to acknowledge this fact or not. The therapeutic process is also built on our abilities as counselors to connect and empathize with our clients. This concept was illustrated with the creation of Rogerian and existential therapies. Social factors affect all individuals and as such directly influences therapy as neither clients nor therapists checks their value systems at the door at the start of the sessions.

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Secondly, how do we help clients make sense of their experiences if they are unable to process all of their experiences in therapy? We all experience our worlds through our environments, relationships that we build, and stories that we create to make sense of our worlds. Therapy helps us to examine our stories and make healthy changes accordingly. And lastly, psychology and counseling, which is still heavily based on the medical model, has difficulties incorporating client experiences which are largely internal and individualistic. Many of the theories that are utilized are western, male-Eurocentric based and some of the diagnoses that are available do not fully facilitate the cultural experiences of the clients.

Counseling has a long history of being heavily influenced by the dominant white male culture. The models and theories were created around a particular cultural and racial identity and was not inclusive of minority groups. Hence, the creation of multicultural groups to help counseling become more inclusive and also to help counselors meet clients where they are socially, culturally, and racially. An important recognition about counseling is that it possesses an inherent power dynamic that may appear threatening to minority groups who are already uncomfortable with the counseling process. Adding the fears and social stigmas about therapy and mental health only highlights groups of people who critically need mental health services but are instead left underserved or unserved because our profession and practices do not meet these clients where they are.

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Counseling and Therapy Exists to Serve the Needs of the People Within Societies. (2022, Jun 27). Retrieved from