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How Do You Think Multicultural Awareness Relates to Effective and Ethical Communication Discuss With Examples.

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How do you think multicultural awareness relates to effective and ethical communication Discuss with examples.
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  Q) How do you think multicultural awareness relates to effective and ethical communication? Discuss with examples. Ans) Once you master the skill of riding a bike, you will always  be able to ride a bike, or so the theory goes. But counselors would be mistaken if they apply that same logic to multicultural competence, says Michael Brooks, president of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, a division of the American Counseling Association. Instead, he says, remaining multiculturally competent requires constant work, study and development as counselors move through their careers. Some counselor educators and practitioners think, incorrectly, that once they have learned about multiculturalism in a class or by reading a book  , that they have “checked the box” and are done, Brooks says. Other counselors believe they are automatically competent about multicultural issues in counseling because of their own backgrounds, heritage or exposure to those from other cultures. For exampl e, Brooks says, a counselor might think, “Well, I dated someone from this culture, so I know about issues relating to this group.” Although the counselor likely learned from that experience, Brooks says, that one particular experience should not be considered representative of an entire group of people. Brooks says counselors should view multicultural competence in a similar fashion to a  professional certification. “You obtain it, and then you maintain   it,” says Brooks, an associate  professor in the Department of Human Development and Services at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. ACA President Cirecie West-Olatunji agrees, saying that counselors must accept the idea that multicultural competence is ever changing and demands constant work and attention. “Maybe we’re competent enough in that moment, but we’ll never be a card -carrying member of multicultural competence  —    and that is something we have to learn to be OK with,” says West-Olatunji, the counseling program director at the University of Cincinnati and director of the university’s Center for Traumatic Stress Research.   The importance of striving toward multicultural competence can’t be overstated, she says. “We understand and believe that to be multiculturally competent is to be effective  [as a counselor]. We can’t avoid it or see it as an add - on or optional.”  Despite extensive training in multiculturalism, West-Olatunji says that when she started out in counseling private practice, she was still operating from a predominantly Western  pers  pective and treating her clients “as if they were middle - class white males.”   “Most of what I had learned in my course work was based on evidence -based interventions with middle- class white males,” she says. “So, I had very few resources that were shown to  be effective with diverse populations. In effect, I had to first educate my clients about how to behave as middle-class white males, and only then could I provide interventions. Over time, my clients patiently taught me about their own realities and worldviews. Then I was able to develop culturally responsive interventions.”  Having the capability to work with clients from their own cultural perspective is more expedient in resolving issues, West-Olatunji says. She offers the concept of ambiguity as an example. In Western cultures, counselors are taught that when a client asks a question, the  counselor should reflect it back, saying something along the lines of, “What do  you  think the  problem is? And what do  you   think the answer should be?”  That ambiguous, reflection-based response may work within a conventional Western  perspective, West-Olatunji says, but counselors must also have an awareness of when that  perspective doesn’t fit with the client sitting in front of them. Otherwise, counselors run the risk of compromising their credibility with those clients. “For a lot of culturally diverse clients, those kinds of reflective responses can appear as though you don’t know [the answer] or you’re avoiding the question,” she says.  Instead, West-Olatunji suggests that counselors use more engaging responses with culturally diverse clients. For example, counselors might consider asking these clients to role-play as if they were talking with someone important in their life who has provided them with those kinds of defin itive answers in the past. “Let’s have a conversation with that person and move forward with that,” West -Olatunji might tell a client. Just as each counselor’s work is never done when it comes to multicultural competence, West-Olatunji says the profession as a whole must continue reaching higher as well. “Although we have come a long way in disseminating research about multiculturalism in counseling, we still have a long way to go,” she says. “First, counselors -in-training and  practitioners still evidence resistance to the topic of multicultural counseling. We need to continue to investigate resistance to multicultural counseling. Second, counselor educators conduct the bulk of the research. So, much of the research is about what multicultural counseling is  rather than how we enact   it. Now is the time for us to investigate clinical  practice in the area of multicultural counseling.”  For example, West-Olatunji says, research has shown that many African American clients utilize spirituality as a way of maintaining well-  being. “We know that, but what does that mean when I’m working with a client?” she asks. “When the door closes, what evidence - based practices do I have available to me that use spirituality for working with African American clients?”  West- Olatunji’ s hope is that the profession will keep growing, moving forward and seeking answers to questions regarding multiculturalism. To probe this issue further, Counseling Today  contacted several ACA members who have studied, researched or worked in the area of multiculturalism. Read on for their thoughts about the state of multiculturalism within counseling.
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