Counseling hispanic-americans


            The following document will look at the Hispanic-Americans and the process of counseling them. The Hispanic Americans are a group of people who have originated in the Hispanic America or also in Spain. According to Aldrich L, and Variyam, J. N. 2000 they are believed to constitute to 15.1% of the population in America and that is about 45.5 million people who form the second largest group after the Americans itself. The people of Hispanic-Americans are believed to have lived there continuously from 1565 and this was the time of the founding of St. Augustine, Florida by Spanish people.

            The term Hispanic is a term that denoted the relation that existed between the Ancient Hispania and the people who lived in Rome. Today the term is used to portray the culture of the people and the countries that Spain ruled. They are also the countries that speak the Spanish language. It is also said that the Hispanic is not a culture that is homogeneous, it is a culture that comprises of people who have the same traditions, beliefs, customs and the language that is Spanish.

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             Part I

Demographic Characteristics of the Population

            According to Camilli, A. E., McElroy, L. F., & Reed, K. L. 1994, Hispanics are believed to have accounted for 14.8% of the national population and has 44.3 million people. There was growth in the population after one year of about 3.4% and this was the highest recorded growth of a minor group in the united states. It also increased in the national population by three and a half times. There is also a projected Hispanic population that by the year 2050, the total population of the Hispanic Americans will constitute to 60% of the total population of America.

            According to Canales, S., Ganz, P. A., Coscarelli, C. A.1995,49%, that is, 21.5 million of the Hispanic live in Texas or California. The research has not included the counting of the Puerto Rico and this is a territory that has been possessed by United States. New Mexico is a state that contains the highest number of Hispanics and they are about 44.7% of the origin of Hispanic. The majority group of the population  of the Hispanic in the part of Northeastern United States and are said to be concentrated in Florida originated from Cuba. They consist of Puerto Rico but the population of Dominican has increased.

            There have been immigrants who are from Spain. This has been shown by the research that was carried out in 2000 and reported that the the ancestry of those who came to settle in the country are from Spaniard ancestry. The Hispanics who are believed to be modern are said to be fall in the national traditional category. The Hispanics are scattered in parts of America and are said to have intermarried and interacted with other people in America and thus their cultures have changed and have become modern. This is what has led to the increase of the population of the Hispanics.

Cultural Characteristics

            There are some characteristics that are associated with the Hispanics. One is language. This is clearly illustrated by use of Spanish language in the newspapers, churches, radio stations, factories of tortilla, bakeries as well as restaurants. There are also some music shops and clothing stores that are related to the culture of the Spanish. Hispanization is a term that is used to explain the process by which a person and place absorbs the culture of the Hispanic and their society as well. The Hispanization of a person is the way that a person will dress, speak in the language that they use, eat the food that is of  Hispanic culture.

            Assimilation is the opposite of Hispanization. This is because assimilation is the process of the small group or minor group trying to absorb the characteristics that are in the cultures of the group that is dominant. According to research the Anglo culture in America is said to be the group that has dominant culture and this has been assimilated by the immigrants. This is not the case for the Hispanics because they are said to have lived in America for many centuries and therefore it is impossible for them to assimilate other cultures.

            They have also been able to retain their language for many years and because of this they have been able to assimilate many people to adopt their language and culture. Those who are born in this modern times are also taught the language and this is also accompanied by their culture. The media covers news in Spanish language and there are those media houses that use the language to print newspapers thus the culture of the Hispanics is maintained. Other than the media there are courses in the university that are taught using this language. This are the centers for the education of the Spanish language and their culture. They have a way of dressing that is cultural and as they dressed in the past. They also have certain type of food that differentiates their culture from the rest and they have build restaurants. They also have decorations that are different from other ethnic groups and this includes paintings and drawings. Their music is also different from the rest.

            Experiences of the Group

            The experience of the group has been difficult and this has led to the group adapting  to the American culture. According to Flegal, K. M et al  1991, the Hispanics have undergone transitional changes since they started to live in America and this has made them move from their traditions. The acculturation has been characterized by sedentary lifestyle in the patterns of their culture. In terms of their diet, they tend to eat food that is much more healthy than the Americans.

            The degradation of their culture occurrence  is because they have been acculturated into population of the Americans as there are some improvements that continue to occur and not the degradation of the status that the economy is in. The acculturation process and the changing of the culture that they believe is said to have serious implications in their lives. One, is in terms of their diets; they tend to take foods that are not balanced or are American. This has made them to suffer from diseases that are related to  health. Their socioeconomic status has gone down and this is because of the acculturation process. The changing of their lifestyle is what is said to be accompanying the process of acculturation. The changes occurring depends on the regions and the environment that one is in.

Influence of Minority Status

            The Hispanic is an ethnic group that is increasing in the population among other ethnic groups. This means that the influence they have on others is great but it depends on the region that one is in. If the region is concentrated with Hispanics then the people of this ethnic group cannot be influenced by others likewise if the region is concentrated by other ethnic communities then they are likely to be absorbed. The influence they have on people is on their culture and language.

            The Hispanics are thought to be people who are the latest because of the attention that the media has given them since 1980s. They are also said to be a group that is increasing in population and this is to say that their influence is also increasing.  Hispanics are independent on the origin of their race. They have an influence on the food that the Americans eat. This is because the food they eat is common in grocery stores and the restaurants. There are also some patterns that have changed in the food industry of America.  They have also been reported to have influenced the sporting industries as well as the art industry. They also have a racial identity that one can be able to tell. Apart from the language the names that they have suggest that they are from that very particular race. They are not identified by the gender that they have but gender is an important identity. Their ethnic identity is the language they speak and the culture that they follow.  They are also catholics.

            Part II

            People from cultures that are different have different ways of expressing depression symptoms. The Hispanics are not different and they express their depression as aches in the body and pains. Hispanics describe depression as tiredness and feeling nervous. Other symptoms that describe depression is changes that occur in patterns of sleep as well as eating and experiencing some difficulties in remembering or focusing.  According to Guendelman, S., Abrams, B. 1995, there are some mental heath disparities that occur for the population of the Hispanics.

            There have been some symposiums that have been organized in order to create awareness of the mental disparities that take place in the population of the Hispanics. According to research, 1 in 11 contact health doctors and in the American population and it is said that the ratio is 1 in 20 people. According to the same report it is said that 40% of the population do not know English and that there are 1% of psychologists who are licensed and their identity is Hispanic.  The problem that the health group is experiencing is the access to the mental health care. This is because the group in not insured and most of them are unemployed and thus the medical cover reaches 18% of the Hispanics.

The socio political aspects of counseling.

            There are some barriers that are associated with the counseling culture bound values. One of the barriers is language. This makes the communication of the counselor and the patient to be very difficult. Communication is very vital in counseling. This has been brought about by the difference in the language that they use. According to Guendelman, S., Abrams, B. 1995 most of Hispanics do not know English and there are very few counselors who know the Spanish language. Another barrier to counseling is culture. The group has some cultures that are very important to them and this has become a barrier since everyone sees everything from the point that they stand on their culture. The culture in which people live in tends to differ from the culture of others and thus may bring conflict.

            Cultural overhang is what is used to describe the cultures that people believe in and how some cultures have been made superior over others. This is the case especially in western parts of the world. Another thing is that there is fading of the culture and this  has been experienced by the changes that the world is facing. It is said that change is inevitable and this has led to people believing in the changes that keep occurring. There are also some values that people believe in and are not cultural and thus this has has brought controversy in the field of counseling.

            There are also social classes that have been developed and this have been barriers to the counseling field. There is also the idea that the western society practices cultural racism. This manifests itself in the strong belief of superior achievements, crafts, arts, and religion. It has made the Hispanics to be reluctant to going for therapy. The other thing is that, the culture that they have is not dominant and they are pressured to follow the dominant cultures. Another barrier is that the counselors value the belief of emotional, verbal and behavioral dynamics and thus they end up transmitting their own cultural values to the Hispanic patients.

            There are various ways that the counseling takes place. One is the nonverbal communication and this includes what people say and their actions. This is because they are usually qualified by the actions they show. Gestures, inflection, posture are the tools that are used to make the speech positive or negative. According to research, counselors assume that there are certain things that people do and  portray the same meaning. Personal space is another behavior. According to the studies that proxemics have done they have shown the use of interpersonal and personal space. This may cause the counselor to back down. The other problem that is likely to occur is that the counselor may not interpret the   behavior of the client well and this may result to the pushing away of the counselors.

            Eye contact is another aspect of nonverbal communication. This is the method that is used to determine the concentration of the patient and the counselor. According to research, the Hispanics use the eye contact as a way to determine whether a person is concentrating or not. There are cultural differences in the eye contact communication as people believe that it is a way to tell if a person  is attentive or not. Others believe that eye contact is wrong and a bad omen. The counselors believe that the eye contact is a sign that can be diagnosed. Conversation conventions are another form of  nonverbal communication and according to Harris, M. I.; Flegal, K. M.; Cowie, C. C., et al. 1998. There are rules of speaking that govern how people great each other, address each other and speak to one another. According to the Hispanics they great each other with body contact.

            Rules have become complex in the way that people speak to one another. This is because it depends with the cultures that the groups have, for example, silence in the middle of a conversation is uncomfortable to some, and to others is a sign of respect. In the counseling world silence might make the counselor uncomfortable and the client might not be able to elaborate further. This might make the client not to get to the point and lack the desire of not speaking.

            The Hispanics have adopted some indigenous mental health practices that are culture bound. The Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the decades that have passed and this has made them to mix with the other cultures that are around them and the environment causing them to have influence over them. Since the Hispanics are immigrants, they have continuously experienced some problems in the environments that they live. This has made them not to use the health services that are are around them but adapt their own. The other reason that they have adopted to the indigenous mental health practices is because of misdiagnosis usually occurs frequently and culture-bound syndromes that exist. This has caused the diagnosis to be precise as there is no correspondence between the categories of diagnosis that have been established and the indigenous labels that exist.

            According to the Hispanics, the body is viewed as unitary and the patients focus is on discomforts that are physical and not emotional. The healing methods and practices that are traditional are often used to remove this distress before the family seeks to modern method that bis conventional. They also consider that the seeking of help is something of the family. The Hispanics are said to respond well to interventions that are structured.

            There are some health seeking attitudes that the group has adapted in order to seek medical assistance. As much as they are trying to seek help there are some factors that influence the attitude that are involved. One is the social network orientation. This involves the attitudes as well as the beliefs that are involved, and this leads to high expectations to the individuals. This means that they expect the utility that is in place to work in the solving of the problems. A negative social network will come about because of experiencing social support that is ineffective and punitive and the results are low trust and social skills.

            Negative social networking orientation will also lead to the belief that the support system of the group has characteristics that are not desired and pose danger to  people. According to earlier studies, help seeking attitudes were focused on influences from psychological and personal matters and demographic factors such as age, gender, race education and the status of socioeconomic. According to Romero-Gwynn, E.; Gwynn, D. L.; Grivetti, R., et al. 1993, social network has contributed to help-seeking attitude in that people are willing to disclose their mental heath and especially women.

            There are some challenges that have been associated with multiculturalism. This is caused by the multiculturalism movement that is now making the nation to put to consideration the perspectives of the diverse groups that exist. This is for the case of therapists that meet with patients of diverse backgrounds. The counseling is said to be at crossroads because the therapists have only followed monoculturalism.  This is the fact that the western has made their culture to be superior than the rest and have made people believe so. There are also some policies that have been implemented and they support  mono-culturalism.

            On the other hand multiculturalism has recognized that there are diverse cultures that exist and it is upon everyone to engage in the road. This is for the purpose of the good that it will bring in the nation and specifically to the work of the therapists. The reason why people should follow the road is because there is an increase in the diversity of the America. This has been caused by high immigration rates and that the white are aging plus the decline in fertility rate. This has led to increase in the population that whites are few. This are the factors that contribute to the fact that there should be therapists that will have to increase the competency that they have over the Hispanic American ethnic group.


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