Ethical Dilemmas in Multicultural counselling

4199 words 17 pages
Ethical Dilemmas in a Multicultural Setting
Silvia Galea

“An ethical dilemma exists whenever there are good but contradictory ethical reasons to take conflicting and incompatible courses of action.”
(Kitchner, 1984 p.29)

“There is no legitimate way to avoid these ethical struggles.
They are part of our work”. (Pope & Vasquez, 2007 p.125).

Cultural competence is fast becoming the new competence in counselling (Barnett 2009, Barnett 2000). As society changes and minorities become more prominent in our society, professionals are ethically bound to learn new skills that help them deliver a culturally sensitive service to clients requesting assistance in the helping profession. (Ridley, Liddle, Hill, & Li,
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The concept of “ubuntu” or the collective is a concept of a collective identity which is diametrically opposite to the westernized concept of individualism on which the counselling profession is built. (Boston, 2000). A sense of ethical-mindfullness
(Bond 2007), alerts the culturally sensitive clinician to tread very carefully and cautiously into the unknown waters of multicultural counseling and to understand the implications of change in the concept of collectiveness (Kareem & Littlewood,1992).
Working with Dodo entailed teaching her to how to assess and access her multiple identities in different contextual settings (Hansen et al,
1992) and to become more aware of her racial/ethnic identity as well as her gender identity and its meaning in her cultural cohort and in different cultural contexts (Pedersen, 1997). These reflections ensured that Dodo learns how to step inside and fit into the cultural context she wished to operate in. Dodo had to wait for her husband Gautier’s readiness to work through her process of change. It was very important that I understood and respected my client’s implicit need and that I was continuously alert to rebalance the power factor as during the therapeutic process I too had become very important for her even more so in the African tradition of