This week’s assignment has been an eye opener. I have never been one to judge people because of who they are, where they’ve come from, or their education level. However this week I have seemed to find that it is possible regardless of how much I want to retain that open mind, I see bias rearing its ugly head. The multicultural self-assessment was not surprising. I did as was instructed and was honest with my answers. I have had to sit and do some reflecting because to many I fit the ‘other’ category and while the required readings and video links were of people from other nationalities, I am a Caucasian, I have a decent education, however, I am finding that this too poses some challenges. As a result of my self-assessment, I plan on making several changes with me going forward by creating a statement of counseling identity.
Summarize Multicultural Self Assessment
These self-assessment that are provided are designed to enlighten the individual responding to the questions asked only if they are answered honestly and without bias. I came into this test on Monday with anger and distrust and knew that my answers would be reflected by my mood. I took the test anyway. Most were all one’s except a few where I felt I was honest. After a few days of ‘calming’ down, I went back and took the same test again and the answers seemed a bit more honest of my true self. In order for me to be a successful mental health professional, I need to be able to look past multi-cultural issues, and bias emotions so that I can make sound judgments for those I encounter in therapy.
When I realized I Was “Other”
Growing up I never felt that I was different; I had parents who loved me for the most part, had a small handful of friends I spent time with, however I never seemed to really fit in when it came to my immediate family. I had the traditional blonde hair and blue eyes I was always dressed nicely, Mom spent hours on my clothes it seemed. I recall a group of classmates were sitting on the stage in middle school and we were discussing families, and how one young lady looked similar to her mom, and another looked like her aunt. Someone turned to me and said that I didn’t look anything like my mom or my dad. I looked and said to them "No, I don’t I am adopted.” One child responded with what your real mom didn’t want you? That was the first time I had heard someone say ‘real mom’ and not biological mom. For me Mama was my real mom, and Daddy was my real dad. I had enough sense at 13 or 14 to be sort of mean back but I got my point across by saying unlike your family that you were born into, I was hand picked to be with my family. From that day on, I have understood what minorities feel like not to fit in, what some feel when they are abandoned, and certainly what an adopted person is feeling. Trying not to place people into that ‘other’ category is sometimes more difficult than just saying I am not bias.
My reaction to being other has shaped me, I have used it to become who I am today. I push myself to not let those who are being placed in the ‘other’ category feel they are there. I feel we are a human race; that silly coke commercial from the 1970’s keeps popping in my where there are people standing on a hillside singing they’d like to buy the world a coke; you see a young blonde standing next to an African American, who is standing next to an Asian, and so on we need to stand united and not divided.
On the self-assessment part, I was shocked more at my first answers than the second set of answers that I did. I have always heard that you get someone mad or give them too much alcohol and the truth will come out, that scared me that I can have those feelings going into the profession I am wanting a degree in.
Actions Going Forward
I think that I have some work to do, as most human being would say if they were being honest with themselves on the assessment and they have a strong desire to change. I need to really work on my asking questions until I am clear so I can understand what is being said. I also want to work on being able to adapt to change; both of which I scored one’s in. I don’t like change I think that stems from my childhood, however if I can accept change in me, then it will be easier for me to accept change in other situations. Another improvement I would like to make is being more social. I know this comes from my childhood, and how I do not feel comfortable in new situations for fear of being judged by others, or somehow receiving pity from the life that I had. I view a lot of people as ‘not good’ and let me explain that. I don’t mean that everyone is a criminal or out to do wrong, I just generally have reservations when it comes to folks who I let into my inner circle. I know that stems from bad adult choices.
Statement of Counseling Identity
Looking for the right words to put here can be challenging. Using the examples provided I have found this defines my counseling identity best.
As multicultural our nation is, I accept that I will behave in a positive manner and honor those who act in kind. I am dedicated to helping those who face concerns in their lives regardless of ethnic background, gender, mental or physical abilities, or education level. I am willing to guide clients based on his or her goals, and pull their strengths out with them and make them shine. I vow to continue to seek knowledge though meditation, and education for things I am yet to understand.
Importance of Multicultural Awareness in Mental Health
One look at the United States and one can see that our culture is becoming more and more diverse by the moment. “In urban centers, almost two-thirds of the students are neither European-American nor middle-class” (Zion and Kozleski, 2005, p. 2). As the population continues to grow, wars continue to battle on and the United States becomes a safe haven for those seeking refuse, I will see beliefs, behaviors, values and customs that are different from mine. I recognize after this weeks reading that I will have to prepare myself with any one sitting across from me in a counseling session. I need to be abreast of characteristics and skills that will allow me to be a proactive counselor. This week I have been inspired to think outside of the box and seek new ways to bring counseling to those of a different culture than mine.