TMA 03 SEPT 2012
Consider sociocultural issues in a counselling case study.
In this assignment I will provide a fictional case study of a counselling client with issues relating to fear and sadness and then consider how their individual problems might be located in the social context in which the clients are embedded. The case study will clearly focus on sociocultural issues, such as culture, race, gender, sexuality, etc. It will look at how useful it can be to recognise how important sociocultural issues can be when considering individual distress. The main focus this assignment will be drawing on with regards to sociocultural issues will be, race, culture and ...view middle of the document...
Her father was intimidating towards everyone in the family especially her mother. As a result of this she adopted the role of her mother’s carer and protector giving her love, reassurance and emotional support that was never returned to her leaving her feeling very scared and vulnerable. Alex states that her fear of men in general is immense and that her true lifestyle which she is now living is increasing that fear as most of the abuse she is subjected to, is from men. She also states that living in the gay community sometimes makes her feel like a minority within a minority because she is mixed race. She likened it to growing up mixed race and not completely fitting in with whites or blacks and felt rejected by both. Alex made a self-referral to our agency to seek help with her anxiety. The approach used when working with Alex was person centred therapy. Alex actively sought out this approach feeling it is more open minded compared to old traditionalist such as psychoanalytical.
Relating sociocultural issues to the client
In society today, there are hierarchies with regard to race, gender (status), sexuality, (dis)ability, age, mental health and class. You are considered “normal” if you are white, male, straight, able bodied, young, mentally healthy and within the middle/upper classes. In light of this, Barker points out that, when we are part of the norm we often don’t even see that aspect of our identity, but when we are in the other group we may be all too aware of it. (Barker, 2010) (Barker, 2010, p.214)
It has been argued by, feminist, multicultural and LGBT afﬁrmative therapists that such norms are present in mainstream psychotherapy and counselling. We all know that the main approaches of today all emerged in a western context and were largely founded by straight men. Barker asks: Can counselling theories and practices be usefully applied to people outside these groups, without reinforcing the notion that their members are lesser or problematic in some way? (Barker, 2010) (Barker, 2010, p.215) In answer to Barkers question, it could be argued that, the psychotherapists and counsellors of today are just that, of today. We all live in a modern world and know much off the sociocultural aspects that come with it.
When we try to treat a client purely as an individual this can result in the loss of the experience of being different. Barker states that traditional therapeutic approaches have been critiqued by multicultural, feminist and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) afﬁrmative therapists for their individualist stances. (Barker, 2010) (Barker, 2010, p.212) It is said that, they regularly fail to see how important culture, gender and sexuality are.
Barker states that today, the majority of counsellors and psychotherapists are white, middleclass, heterosexual women, and this group also makes up the bulk of clients. Given this, how easy is it for other people to access counselling, or to experience it without power differences...