Culturally Alert Counseling: Working With Asian Clients
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Working with ethnically and racially diverse clients presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges. Understanding a client's worldview offers the opportunity to connect and build trust on a deeper level, but it also presents counselors with a challenge to develop the right set of skills unique to their client(s). In this carefully illustrated session, a White counselor helps an East Asian client deal with family and relationship dilemmas. The demonstration highlights issues that many Asian American clients face, such as duty to one's family, conformity to group norms, obedience to parents and deference to authorities, maintenance of interpersonal harmony—which includes avoidance of confrontation and indirect expression of negative feelings or views—and educational and career achievement. The counselor demonstrates the following skills that might be important in working with Asian clients: taking a solution-focused approach, showing interest in and knowledge of the client's culture, giving self-disclosure about previous successes, and including the place of the family in discussion of individual concerns. The session is tightly scripted to highlight key elements in culturally alert counseling with this group. By viewing the session in its entirety, students and clinicians will benefit from seeing firsthand how the counselor manages the session and uses opportunities to deepen the therapeutic relationship.