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Cultural issues

What are cultural issues in counselling?

Cultural issues may have a focus on racial identity development (races such as Black, White, Brown, etc), ethnic identity development (Black British, British Asian, and other ethnic groups), gender identity and sexual orientation, from infancy through adult maturity.

An understanding of this development is necessary to understand the dynamics of multi-ethnic and multi-racial groups in the United Kingdom.

A counsellor working with cultural issues may take in to account any or all of the following:

  • Racial identity, ethnic, and sexual identity (if you wish to disclose that information)
  • Stages of identity development for different ethnic, racial, and cultural groups
  • The way identity operates in the everyday adjustment of people of colour and other oppressed groups
  • How racial and cultural identity experiences can influence interpersonal relations

It is understandable that some clients would prefer to talk to a therapist from a different cultural background, for example in cases where certain aspects of their life may be seen as taboo or wrong in their culture’s eyes, so talking to a counsellor who potentially holds the same beliefs may be unhelpful.

Alternatively, in other cases, it may be useful to talk to a counsellor from the same cultural background as you if that would help them understand your situation and issues better.