TheCase of Claudine
TheCase of Claudine
Claudinebecomes the director of a clinic that has a significant percentage ofAsian immigrants (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2011). Claudine is notAsian. During a staff meeting, she discloses her counselingphilosophy in a manner that seems insensitive to cultures that aredifferent from her western culture. She says that people decide to gofor counseling because either they want change, or they are in theprocess of change. She further says that the work of counselors is toencourage clients to begin their change and finally change. InClaudine’s perspective, the philosophy holds truth for all clientsregardless of their cultural backgrounds. She states, “This holdstrue whether the client is euro-American, Asian or some otherminority.
Ifthe client is reluctant to speak, our job is to challenge them tospeak because that is what they are expected to do in Americanculture, where people deal with problems through talking.” Indeed,she appreciates that talking does not work for all cultures. However,she tells clients from Asian cultures and other cultures wheretalking does not work that it silence does not work in “thisnon-Asian culture.” The “non-Asian culture” Claudinespecifically refers to is the American culture. Claudine concludes bytelling non-Asian clients that the sooner they recognize that theyhave to talk the better. Actually, she tries to impose Americanvalues of sharing one’s psychological problems through talking toevery client in the clinic regardless of their socio-culturalbackground. Considering that the clinic has a large number of Asianclients, there is an ethical dilemma in Claudine’s remarks and theway other counselors would treat them. She views the reality ofdifferent clients through her own assumptions.
Anethical dilemma in counseling exists when a counselor has to choosebetween two competing ethical principles in a counseling situation.In Claudine’s case, the dilemma is on two competing ethicalprinciples that make her top set a philosophy, which is rather biasedthrough her own assumptions. They include the principle ofbeneficence and autonomy. Beneficence mandates counselors to work inthe best interest of the client while autonomy mandates them to allowclients to voluntarily disclose information that would be materiallysignificant throughout the counseling process.These two principlesbring a conflict of choice because it is in the client’s interestto get the best therapeutic outcome from the counseling exercise. Thebest outcome is based on the available information for the counselorso that they can administer the relevant DSM procedure. At the sametime, autonomy for the client is an essential aspect of psychologicalcounseling and therapy. While the client could be unwilling to talkabout certain private matters due to cultural aspects at play, thecounselor should not force information from by coercing them to talk.By imposing a cultural assumption, Claudine and other counselors atthe clinic are unlikely to act in the best interest of clients fromother cultural backgrounds.
Implementingthe least intrusive intervention for the dilemma
The least intrusive intervention entails capturing differentcultural backgrounds of clients before choosing the therapeuticmethod to use (Paradise & Kramer, 2011). Establishing theircultural views about psychotherapy aspects such as self-disclosureand sharing out private matters would fundamentally encourage theclient to share valuable information with the counselor. That waythe counselor would manage to achieve the set goals as agreed uponwith the client. For example, in Asian cultures where it isconsidered taboo to share private information with strangers, clientsare likely to be reluctant to share important information. When thishappens, the counselor should understand that culture is at play.They need to establish a relationship with the client to be sure ofany confidential information from them. At no given time should thecounselor impose a cultural assumption on the client because thiswould be intrusive to their privacy, and it works on the principle ofclient autonomy.
Theinformation the client shares with a counselor is confidential.Respect for confidentiality means that it cannot be disclosed withoutthe client’s consent or a justifiable legal or ethical situation.If the counselor succeeds in making the client to self-disclosecontrary to their cultural orientation, the information remains withthe counselor and must never be disclosed unless it is ethically orlegally necessary. Some information that could be an exception toconfidentiality is: intention to harm oneself or another person and acourt order to have the information disclosed.
Recognizingthe multicultural ethical behavior of the client
Counselorsare likely to hold attitudes and beliefs that can detrimentallyinfluence the assumptions and interactions with people who come fromdifferent racial and ethnic backgrounds. Through research, thecounselors at Claudine’s clinic would understand differentmulticultural sensitivities. To effectively counsel clients from theAsian community, who are considerably many at Claudine’s clinic,counselors should employ the constructs of multiculturalism anddiversity based on their earlier research.
Inconclusion, multicultural approaches to counseling psychologyappreciate the diversity of the world. Different cultures havedifferent traditions that could affect the counseling and therapeuticoutcomes of a counseling process. Therefore, the process should beable to constitute the least intrusive interventions, respectconfidentiality, and recognize the multicultural ethical behavior ofthe client. The three concepts are essential to avoid presumptiveconstructs such as the ones Claudine proclaimed in the case studyabove.
Corey,G., Corey, M. S., & Callanan, P. (2011). Issuesand ethics in the helping professions.Belmont, Calif: Brooks/Cole.
Paradise,L. V., & Kramer, H. (2011). Ethics in Counseling. Counselingand Values,25(4),219-68.