Personal Reflection Paper
Before this course, there were many rumors about how it progressed and what would be taught. So at the beginning, which was not so long ago, these rumors were percolating in my head and have created a sort of stigma concerning learning about social context within clinical practice. I hope by the end of the quarter this set of rumor is put to rest and there is much learned to apply to my current and future clinical practice.
Race and ethnicity can influence a client’s experience of self and others in a variety of ways. A client’s personal race and ethnicity can influence his or her experience within the context of therapy through the set of beliefs he or she brings into the room. This set of beliefs and customs influences how he or she views therapy and whether there is motivation to be there. If the client’s culture does not usually seek therapy for their problems, or even believe in mental illness, it is likely the client will have apprehensions about trusting or speaking to the clinician. If the clinician is not aware of this possibility, the clinician may wonder why the client is in therapy if he or she will not speak or allow rapport to be built. A responsible clinician will take this into consideration.
Cultural meanings of gender can play heavily into therapeutic effects of the client. A female client who is in therapy with her male partner may not have the “right” to speak against what he is saying if she disagrees; some cultures forbid the woman to go against her male partner or even speak in the presence of a male stranger, which could be the clinician. On the other hand, a male client with the above cultural custom may view a female clinician in a negative light since he would believe she is not fulfilling her “gender role” in society.
Socioeconomic circumstances impact a client’s experience of self in relation to others in at least three ways. If a client is in a lower socioeconomic status than the majority of those he or she interacts with, he or she may view their life as dismal or destitute; this can potentially result in anxiety and/or depression. This would occur if the client begins to compare his or her life with those of others that are considered “higher” status than their own. If a client is in a middle socioeconomic status, he or she could look to the lower class and be content with where they are in life or look to the upper socioeconomic status and not be happy with where they are at in life. These two views of other classes could make the person feel sympathy for those lower than them or envious of those above them. A client in an upper socioeconomic status may view themselves as superior than the other classes. These ideas may create a stigma about each of the three main socioeconomic statuses that can impact a client’s view of self.
Client experiences with religion and legal structures influence the construction of self and others through the...