Friday, November 28, 2014

Multicultural Family Counseling - Clinical Implications

■ Increasing diversity presents different cultural conceptions of “family.”
o Whether groups value a lineal, collateral, or individualist orientation has a major implication for their definitions of family.
o One definition cannot be seen as a superior to others.

■ Families cannot be understood apart from the cultural, social and political dimensions of their functioning
o The traditional definition of the nuclear family as consisting of heterosexual parents, married, raising biological children, with father as breadwinner and a stay at home mother are now in the minority.
o Extended families, intermarriage, divorce, homosexual parents, mixed race families, single parents, and both parents working outside the home are now becoming the “normal” family description.

■ When working with minority clients, therapists must make an effort to learn as much as possible about them
o What their definitions of family are
o The values that underlie the family unit
o The therapists own contrasting definitions

■ Therapists must be aware of traditional cultural family structure and extended family ties.
o Non blood relatives may be considered an intimate part of the extended family system
o Understanding relationships is crucial, such as
■ Husband and wife
■ Parent and child
■ Sibling to sibling

■ Therapists must be careful not to prejudge from an ethnocentric perspective.
o Be aware of culturally patriarchal or egalitarian relationships
o Division of labor in the home may be a violation of family norms

■ Minority families view the “wife” role as less important than the “mother” role.
o Existence of children validates and cements a marriage
o Motherhood is often perceived as a more important role
o Therapists should not judge the health of the family on the basis of romantic egalitarian model of marriage

■ Counselors must not overlook the prospect of utilizing the natural help-giving networks and structures that already exist in the minority culture and community.
o Explore what the minority cultures used as “therapy” prior to actually see a therapist