I have learned that each client that seeks professional assistance from a psychologist is unique. This necessitates the need to use a specific approach to treating them by first understanding the underlying situation, then designing a treatment schedule. For me to succeed in the field of psychology, I have to put into consideration the cultural background of the clients as it has an effect on the developments. The cultural background is the practice and norm of a client that makes them feel like an individual with character and identity. It is important to give the client time to express his or herself. The client has a clear understanding of the genesis of his or her problems (Ratts & Pedersen, 2014). The presentation from the client determines the approach a psychologist will adopt so that a solution can be given to the person seeking professional assistance. Therefore, there is no one solution or theory in psychology that addresses the issues clients faced. A psychologist must listen to the client and maintain an open mind so that he or she can understand the worldviews, cultural background, perceptions, and experiences so that as a team working together, both can identify the solutions. The multicultural-social justice approach emphasizes interacting with the client then designing the theory to deal with the issues (Peters, 2017). As a psychologist, I understand that I will deal with clients from diverse backgrounds and personalities and my flexibility to maintain the multicultural-social justice approach will ensure that I address the root cause of issues. I have also learned that as a professional, I should not impose my cultural beliefs and practices on a client since he or she has their own identity. I should view the client through the cultural lens since the character, exposure in life, behavior, and beliefs are unique. A deep understanding of how culture influences an individual will help include cultural beliefs in the therapeutic process (Ratts & Pedersen, 2014). Social justice in the field of psychology emphasizes on the need to provide opportunities and distribution of resources equally among the diverse social structures in the society.
As a counselor, my goal in my career should be encouraging clients and ensuring that they live in dignity and accord respect to others. Being responsible means that I should be accountable for my actions and allow a session with a client to be interactive as opposed to taking the lead. Active participants have a high probability of recovering within a short time since they take responsibility for their actions and understand that the psychologist is a guide to the solution. A client is more likely to respond positively if the therapist shows them that he or she trusts the knowledge they possess. Therefore, a therapist that adopts the social justice approach in therapy sessions aims to empower and equip the client, irrespective of their background.
The five paradigms in psychology, including the multicultural, psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, social justice, and the existential-humanistic, are important for a psychologist as they design the approach to apply when dealing with a specific client (Chung & Bemak, 2011). Of importance to note is that no single approach is right as one has to combine more than one force so that a client can feel their need shave been addressed. For instance, it is common to apply the social justice forces with the multicultural force. Every person's character is shaped by their background including the social, cultural, and political environments (Peters, 2017). Hence, designing a solution should address the underlying issues and enable the client to connect with the problems as well as barriers that may limit them. Medically, clients who visit the premises of a psychologist are considered ill and need some fixing. The medical experts treat what they perceive is wrong with the patient, whereas a therapist seeks to understand the background and any other underlying issues that may have triggered the behavior and change in characteristics of the client. With the identification of the change that has taken place, it becomes easy to design an approach that will help address all issues (Chung & Bemak, 2011). The main goal of a therapist is to help and encourage the client to adjust and adapt to the environment in which he or she as opposed to changing the surroundings. Some of the environmental factors that affect the behavior of a client are permanent and are beyond his or her control. Therefore, change must come from within and a mastery of controlling the thoughts and feelings is the initial step to getting a solution.
I have also learned that a therapist deals with people from different backgrounds and clients come in seeking help. I have a responsibility to ensure that a client is comfortable and that I listen to him or her without judging nor perceiving their choices in life as wrong. Sometimes, it may be necessary to change the environment with which I interact with the client just so I meet their needs. As a counselor, I have to uphold the human's dignity and assure clients that things will normalize. Giving hope helps restore the will to seek a solution.
Chung, R. C. Y., & Bemak, F. P. (2011). Social justice counseling: The next steps beyond multiculturalism. Sage Publications.
Peters, H. C. (2017). Multicultural Complexity: An Intersectional Lens for Clinical Supervision. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 39(2), 176-187.
Ratts, M. J., & Pedersen, P. B. (2014). Counseling for multiculturalism and social justice: Integration, theory, and application. John Wiley & Sons.
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