Mental Health Setting
How it works
In these days, I have seen the topic of diversity as one of the most common subjects in every industry and this includes healthcare, education, manufacturing, etc. It is a fact that individuals bring in different beliefs, views, culture or ideas and those are valuable assets that could contribute in a positive way for a company to succeed. These beliefs also, make the difference and could transform each scenario of life.
In a mental health setting, the topic of diversity is not the exclusion. In this setting, therapists have their own opinions about how things should be as well as the clients. However, the mutual respect must be continuously present to maintain the professionalism. Besides, personally I have seen how the topic of diversity has changed my life and the perspectives I used to have on others simply because culture, religion, preferences, rituals, and many other areas.
How it works
Couple and Sex therapy with Diverse Couples
Reflecting on the topic of diversity I see myself as someone that keeps a professional environment with my clients as well as my bias. On the other hand, the topic of diversity is greatly increased and the chances of having couples or individuals in therapy with different ethnics are more evident (Blount & Young, 2015). The main reason individuals, couples or families will come to me is that they need help with their issues as they are expecting my consideration and respect instead of having feelings of being judged or discriminated.
Besides, no matter the client’s circumstances, their beliefs should not be proportional to my own opinions or ideas. In the contrary, I would like to receive the same respect from my therapist regarding my beliefs or ideas to a certain situation. A great example of this is when treating individuals that have chosen a different lifestyle for me. I grew up in one of the islands of the Caribbean called Puerto Rico. The proximity and the influence of the United States was remarkable as well as the mixed population, open the possibilities to explore other cultures that were living in the island during the time I was younger.
Based on these circumstances, I could say I was raised in a culturally diverse environment, including diverse religions, multiracial groups, sexual orientation such as the LGBT groups, etc. In this case, I must say I feel capable to provide a quality service to the client (s) under my care and if for some reason I feel I am not talented to treat the client, then the best alternative is to refer the client to another professional in the area to assist them better with their presenting problem.
Furthermore, being raised in Puerto Rico and coming to live years later in the State of Florida has given me the opportunity to change my perspectives regarding being working with other individuals with different views. During my time in Florida, I have had the opportunity to work with Hispanics from different places or origin, Islamic, Asians, African and African-Americans, and Americans. I was always curious and asked them questions to learn about their preferences, language, behaviors, or rituals. In other words, I was fascinated with other cultures, religions, expressions, behaviors from other cultures different than me.
I honestly, don’t feel I have any bias, I am comfortable working with someone regardless of their sexual orientation, or religion. I believe, I would be somewhat nervous to work with a same sex couple that is experiencing some type of verbal or emotional abuse or physical, because I have experience that type of abuse in the past in a heterosexual marriage; I would hope I would not be bias in that sense. I know it can affect my level of care if I do not make a point to remember to leave my judgment at the door, because this is about my clients, and they come first always.
For example, I grew-up in a Catholic family and my values are strengthened in a life based on family values presented by God in the Bible. My grandparents raised me and they believed, men and women are meant to be together as a family and any other changes different than that could affect or influence the family system. I growing up, didn’t have that believe, I always thought to each its own, everyone has a right to decide what is good for them. I really don’t see I would have an issue.
Reversely, another great example, but in a different category is to when working with a couple or individual with a different religion than me, like for instance a Muslim. They do have different point of views about God than what I believe. However, I feel capable to work with them to find a solution to their presenting problem that could be related to sexual dysfunction or problems with their communication as many others. To me, I feel capable since I have studied religions and their behavior, and I can work with them. If I am not able to comprehend something in specific about their behavior, I could either do a research, ask them about their preferences as a couple or specific rituals they might have or lastly refers them to a therapist more trained to assist the couple.
However, I recognize there will be times, I will have to see clients that are having issues with their sexuality or have suffered from a trauma, such as someone paralytic or someone that had a spinal cord injury for example. My tendency here will be to treat them with respect and as someone without any disability and make sure I don’t make impulsive comments. I personally know how important is to treat someone with compassion, since I had a brother who had a mental disability and many times experienced rejection from a care provider as well as from others.
For this reason, we must think about that this topic of diversity is rising tremendously in our society and we will be seeing different cases daily in which we have to ensure to maintain a professional environment. The Code of Ethics in its 2015 edition mentions that a therapist should have no bias when working with clients and must provide “services despite difference of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, and religion, natural origin, gender identity or relationship status” (Code of Ethics, 2015).
In cases when a therapist is not familiar with a specific area or is not capable to treat clients, then it is crucial to look for training opportunities to become more skillful and to add more expertise to their career or services she or he offer in practice. Hence, there are also many resources to assist therapists and help them to success. I could use, as an example, to improve their level of competency such as articles that use approaches of relational ethics, systemic interactions, and many others in cases when working with lesbian couples (Belous, 2015).
Following this example, therapists can use systemic theory to treat same-sex couples and better understand their present issues and avoid having the bias towards their opinions. Here we can include situations when couples have different cultural backgrounds, religions, languages, etc. (Henricksen & Paladino, 2009).
Another good resource, is to engage in the different community organizations that help minorities or other racial groups to learn more from other professionals. Based on this when therapist, for example, is treating issues related to culture, then he or she must be aware of how that specific culture thinks, behave or internalize life perspectives to better assist the client (s) with those sexual issues. Also, when dealing with issues related to religion, then it is crucial to understand how that religion works and the influence or control (if any) it has to the individual involved.
The same process is with language issues or place of origin. In fact, the process basically consists of helping couples to understand cognitively their issues and move forward with a rational resolution instead of keep thinking about the same problem repeatedly. These issues make the relationship more difficult and affect the system as a whole.
The work of the therapist regarding diversity consists in removing his or her bias, views or opinions and focusing on addressing the couple’s issues (Gehart, 2014). The fact is that no matter of how much training we undergo, or how many clients we see in a short or long term; there is a chance we will come across new things to learn. Besides, therapists must be in constant self-evaluation to make sure those rules are followed, and professionalism is maintained.
Furthermore, my own views relating to the difference in culture might influence the delivery of therapeutic services to clients from different cultural backgrounds. For the same reason, it is important to appreciate the culture of the client which will result in a better relationship between the client and me and hence providing better services. By understanding their boundaries and have a better understanding of their response depending on their cultures and beliefs.
- AAMFT Code of Ethics. (2015, January 1). Retrieved from http:// www.aamft.org/imis15/Document/ Legal Ethics/ Board Approved Code for Web Secured.pdf
- Belous, C. K. (2015). Couple therapy with lesbian partners using an affirmative-contextual approach. http://www-tandfonline-com.proxy1.ncu.edu/doi/full/10.1080/01926187.2015
- Blount, A. J., & Young, M. E. (2015). Counseling Multiple-Heritage Couples. Journal Of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 43(2), 137-152. doi:10.1002/j.2161-1912.2015.00070.x
- Gehart, D. R. (2014). Mastering competencies in family therapy: A practical approach to theories and clinical case documentation. Belmont, Calif: Brooks/Cole Pub.
- Henricksen, R., & Paladino, D. (2009). Counseling multiple heritage individuals, couples, and families. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.”
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Mental Health Setting. (2021, Oct 15). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/mental-health-setting/