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Awareness of Multicultural Communication Styles in Counseling - Research Paper Example

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Awareness of Multicultural Communication Styles in Counseling Author’s Name Here Institution’s Name Here Multicultural Communication Styles Over the last few decades, it has become apparent that the psychological counseling approaches for the past will not be entirely applicable as the Western world becomes more aware of the need for multicultural considerations…
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Awareness of Multicultural Communication Styles in Counseling

Download file to see previous pages... This scrutinizing is necessary because the application of many disciplines is inapplicable to multicultural situations due to an overwhelming Western influence. The field of psychology is a primary example of a field that was built almost exclusively on the needs of middle-aged, white men (the typical Western subject pool). The delivery of psychological treatment is a very important aspect of the field, and researchers are now busy altering these treatment approaches to suit a multicultural world. There are several features of psychological treatment that are candidates for examination in the context of multiculturalism. The theories that support these treatments are largely the result of studies on Western populations, the delivery of treatment is designed to be the most compatible with Western communication patterns, and the target outcomes are chosen as a response to the needs of a Western patient base (Xu, 2011). We will focus on the communicative challenges of treating a multicultural population. Communication is an extremely important aspect of delivering psychological (or any other) treatment. Even with altered theories and altered outcome intentions, multicultural treatments would be rendered practically useless without the means to communicate effectively with patients from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Communication can be categorized as being verbal or nonverbal (Sue, Arrendondo, McDavis, 1992). Verbal communication, most commonly in the form of language, is the most obvious means of interaction in counseling sessions. However, other verbal communication may come in the form of reactionary sounds. Some Western examples include “hmm” which indicates contemplation in certain contexts, and “uh-huh” which often conveys understanding. Not only will language differ between cultures, but these sub-vocabulary sounds may also differ in meaning and/or intention. Nonverbal forms of communication may be more extensive than verbal. The most commonly identified form of nonverbal communication is gesturing, which includes individual or coordinated movements of the body that are meant to convey some type of meaning or thought rather than specific messages. Gestures are far from being the only source of nonverbal communication. Body language and posture can communicate interest or agitation among other things, and facial expressions are often interpreted as sources of communicated information. Eye contact is another form of nonverbal communication, as are articles of clothing as they often represent aspects of the wearer’s personality. Aspects of voice quality during speech (rather than the information in the speech) are another form of non-verbal communication. Some examples include pitch, volume, and speed of delivery. Additionally, haptic communication refers to the transfer of information through touching. Psychological therapy is driven by both verbal and nonverbal communication. The misunderstanding of these cues can lead to seriously negative outcomes for the patient, as well as a dissatisfaction and even frustration or anger with the counseling process. Regarding verbal communication, it would be a laborious task to learn the native language of every client in a multicultural setting, but it is not unreasonable to expect a therapist to become familiar with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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