Readings: Graham, J; Bradshaw, C, and Trew, J. (2010). Cultural considerations for social service agencies working with Muslim clients. Social Work. 55(4). pp. 337-346. Jim, J. & Pistrang, N. (2007). Culture and the therapeutic relationship: Perspectives from Chinese clients. Psychotherapy Research, 17(4), 461-473. Discussion: The Graham article emphasized that just because a Client is Chinese, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she would fare better, therapeutically speaking.
Also, the study within the article discussed the importance of communication and empathy; Chinese or not, is an important tool of psychotherapy, in the creation of trust from the client to therapist. Without the trust, there’s no relationship; with no relationship there’s no chance of discussing one’s problems, and no chance for a solution to be discovered.
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Conversely, the Jim article discussed the use of Sensitivity Training in working with Muslim clients; as most Muslim clients feel that their population is on the receiving end of stereotypical behaviors and attitudes. In turn, this typically leads to a lack of understanding of their culture, norms, and values and an overall understanding of how they lead their lives. Additionally, the Jim article suggests that therapists working with the Muslim population have an understanding of spirituality and the role of Islam, when one would like an effective session.
These articles represent Multicultural Social Work, and how we need to be more open to ways of practicing that respect, and not trample other’s way of life; but also aim to suggest alternatives. To be an effective Social Worker, and human, a broader understanding of others’ ways of life are crucial to therapy success and success as a citizen of the world. I get to work with a plethora of different backgrounds, and am excited to be an open book, and to connect the dots with readings and practice.