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Diversity 2 – Sexuality – January 2015

12. May, 2015|Blog, Uncategorized|No comments

Following on from November’s Diversity 1: Understanding Multicultural Concerns, sexuality is the focus this month.  The issues raised in November also tend to apply when working with clients where differences in sexuality is highlighted.

Although today’s world is much more liberal than in the past, people’s sexuality still can cause much prejudice and judgement.  It is likely that there are more mental health problems in gender and sexual diversity communities: increased cultural pressures, lack of understanding from family and friends leading to loss of contact which leads to feelings of isolation and social stigmatisation, and often being victim of hate attacks and homophobia.  This results in self harm, anxiety, suicide, depression, low self esteem, to name a few.

In counselling, it is important to ensure that clients are assured of confidentiality, that they feel safe and not pressurised into disclosing anything they do not wish to.  The counsellor needs to be honest with themselves and the client – if it affects their work, it is in the interest of the client to refer to another counsellor in consultation with the supervisor.  Self awareness is key along with a clear understanding of the issues that will arise when working with clients in this area.

 

The views here are the author’s and are intended for general guidance only

 

 

Diversity 1: Understanding Multicultural Concerns – November 2014

13. November, 2014|Blog, Uncategorized|No comments

In an increasing changing world it is important to be aware of the needs of clients when it comes to race and ethnicity.    Counsellors are unlikely to have a broad knowledge and understanding of racial and cultural differences which result in cultural barriers to communication – customs, language, history and manners, to name a few.  These must be taken into account, working through in supervision any issues that may come up and allowing space to reflect on the spiritual implications.  The counsellor’s self awareness is paramount, knowing their own values, attitudes and biases and how they are likely to affect their work with their clients.  However, the relationship is the focus of the work and each individual is unique – not just from skin colour or religion – which is essential to who we are as people.  The challenge is to be aware of the diversity between yourself and the client, what your feelings are about their culture and how it may impact on you, as well as how much their culture affects their behavioural approach to life.

It is not the client’s job to educate the counsellor about their cultural background, it is the counsellor’s job to research it in order to possess the skills, knowledge and awareness necessary to work effectively.  Knowing a broad range of theories and more specifically techniques makes the counsellor versatile and his/her style malleable to the presenting client.  For example, some clients may be inhibited about opening up about their feelings as a result of engrained cultural conditioning of values and traditions which they have been brought up to respect.  Working with this resistance is a challenge and may well take time until they feel safe in the therapeutic alliance.  Strong boundaries and containment are vital.

During the counselling process:

  • Raise the cultural differences with the client and ask them how it feels for them.
  • Clarify their expectations.
  • Be aware of what is going on unconsciously and any transference/countertransference.
  • Find out about their attitudes to relationships, authority, commitment and work.
  • Establish their motivation.

 

The views here are the author’s and are intended for general guidance only

 

 

 

 

The Purpose of Supervision – September 2014

3. September, 2014|Blog, Uncategorized|No comments

It is a requirement for all counsellors to have supervision from a qualified supervisor either in a group or one-to one.

Supervision provides an opportunity to stand back and reflect on what is going on for you and your clients in the room and to examine how you are working both in practice and from a theoretical viewpoint.  It helps to get different perspectives on your practice and identify what might have been missed or overlooked.  It is a form of support and a way of checking both you and your clients are keeping safe, particularly when working with more challenging clients.  It also can be a forum for feedback and new ideas.  Ethical and legal issues can be discussed along with a counsellor’s own needs for therapy or training.

To get the most out of supervision, it can be a good idea to consider what you want to get out of the session.  For example, if your client is turning up late or not at all, you are aware of the transference and counter transference and its implications, you are feeling sleepy with a client….  Focusing on the important information about clients is important along with any special issues that are a cause for concern to you.  To maximise the session, try to be honest about your own feelings towards your clients as well as how you respond to your supervisor as the relationship between the two of you is just as important as that with your clients.

 

The views here are the author’s and are intended for general guidance only

The Importance of Self Care – July 2014

1. July, 2014|Blog, Uncategorized|No comments

How often do you put others before yourself even when you are tired and know that you need to look after yourself? It is hard to get the balance right without being selfish but if your self care is in place you will be stronger and in a better position to cope with life and to be there for others.

Your well being is important so try to do the following:

  • Eat healthily and drink wisely e.g. lots of water and not too much alcohol.
  • Exercise regularly – whatever gets your endorphins going e.g. brisk walk, jogging, going to the gym, swimming.
  • Get enough sleep/rest.
  • Understand what helps you e.g. being with family and friends, pursuing hobbies, going on holiday.
  • Listen to your body and try not to ignore the warning signs of physical ailments that are telling you to slow down.
  • Relax by taking a bath, having a massage etc.
  • Have time on your own.

 

The views here are the author’s and are intended for general guidance only

 

Understanding Grief and Bereavement – May 2014

11. May, 2014|Blog, Uncategorized|No comments

Grief is a painful experience resulting from bereavement which can be the death of a family member, partner or friend close to you or the loss of someone or something important in your life such as a relationship or job.

There are various stages of grief which can be passed through as part of the bereavement process.  Everyone handles their emotions in their own way and there is no set process though Acceptance and Hope is the ultimate goal.

  • Shock and denial
  • Pain and guilt
  • Anger and bargaining
  • Depression, reflection and loneliness
  • Upward turn
  • Reconstruction and working through
  • Acceptance and hope

Initially the sense of loss is profound.  However, time can be a great healer and, along with memories, can help soothe the raw wounds which, at times shrink to pinprick size, but are still there.  As we progress through life, other experiences can stir up those feelings and bring them back to the surface.  For example, children leaving home can trigger that sense of loss.  It is being able to acknowledge these feelings and find ways of coping in our own individual ways.

 

The views here are the author’s and are intended for general guidance only