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  • Dawn Leatherman-Kulis

Diversity in Counseling

The United States has seen significant changes in cultural climate conversations and inclusion over the past 5 years. How does this impact your experience in the counseling session? The counselor’s responsibility is to ensure that they provide a safe, welcoming, and reassuring space for all clients. Our counselors strive to provide an environment that promotes inclusiveness and respect. While committing to our clients and our profession that we will engage in ongoing education towards diversity learning, cultural awareness, celebrating our differences and social justice.

Cultural Importance Cultural Importance is imperative in the counselor’s role in the therapeutic process as it establishes an understanding of how clients view mental health conditions, descriptions of symptoms, how communication is shared with medical providers, and how the client receives and responds to treatment. As a client, it is appropriate to ensure cultural competency and awareness have a place in the therapy room. If your cultural background has not come up in your sessions, it is appropriate for you to engage your therapist in questions related to your cultural background as well as their cultural competency and understanding. Some ways to start this communication would be asking about your therapist's experience treating people from your cultural background, asking if the therapist would like to learn more about your beliefs, understanding, attitude, or values towards mental health, or if there is a way that would be appropriate to include aspects of your identity into the treatment plan.

Comfort in Therapy

Finally, it is important to know that your comfort in the therapeutic space is important and if you are not feeling safe or comfortable, you could cease services with your counselor and/or ask for referrals to a therapist that may better fit your needs.

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