Cultural Self Awareness

Cultural Self-Awareness
In today’s society diversity has become the norm. It is not an option to become culturally aware, but rather it has become an essential part of the counseling profession.   In order to practice in a multi-culturally competent manner, counselors must become aware of cultural issues.   One would assume that all counselors are culturally competent given the skill set that being a counselor requires.   Unfortunately, this is not always the case (Laureate Education, 2007).   In combination with the above, a counselor must also be aware of the cultural influences that can affect an individual.   These include age, development disabilities, disabilities acquired late in life, religious and spiritual orientation, ethnic and radical identity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, indigenous heritage, national origin and gender (Sue, & Sue, 2008). The ADDRESSING framework introduced by Sue & Sue, (2008) is a tool that can be used to help a counselor assess his/her knowledge regarding cultural competence and biases (Sue & Sue, 2008)).
Many cultures highly respect and value their older population.   Unfortunately, the U.S. is just the opposite; they prize youthfulness and tend to discriminate against the elderly.   According to statistics, more than 12% of the U.S. population is 65 years old or older and remain our fastest growing population group (Robinson-Wood, 2009).   As competent counselors, we must be aware of our own biases toward age and be sure that we are not involved in stereotyping the elderly as all being the same.   Today’s young/old, healthy, active 65-year-old should not be compared to the old/old, weak and frail 95-year-old.   The challenge for counselors regarding this issue will be to become aware of their own feelings toward the elderly and identify their biases and work to eliminate them (Remley, Herlihy, 2009).  
Development Disabilities
A prevalent form of discrimination against disabled...