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In this critical reflection, I will be identifying and exploring identities, power, skill, and experiences that relate to the client situation. Moreover, I will highlight, analyze and develop considerations related to ways in which power, stereotypes, oppression and differences may impact work positively and negatively with the client. Intersectionality will be used as analytical tools for making sense of these interlocking systems.
What identity factors might be most salient to her current situation and presenting concerns?
In social work, cultural identity is seen as that which people define themselves by.
Our cultural identities drive our sense of self, our value systems and our perceptions. It is how we see the world around us, as well as our selves in realtion to the world. In this client situation cultural identity challenges are an integral part of therapy, the client is shaped by multiple social and cultural identities. Some of which apparent are being a student, age factors, family status, immigrant issues, and socioeconomic stature.
Courtney is 18 years old and currently lives in Tecumseh, Ontario. Courtney baker is the daughter of Shannon Baker. Shannon Baker is a single mother who works 6 days a week, she has challenged the stereotypes about immigrants and single motherhood. Being an only child provided Courtney with the advantage of undivided love and attention of her mother. Courtney acknowledges her mother as a role model and credits her for having instilled the right values at the right time, and in contrast, Courtney has felt mature beyond her age.
Courtney is currently enrolled at the University of Windsor for an undergraduate program in engineering. Academic success had always been a cakewalk for Courtney prior to university. She was a star student all through high school and graduated at the top of her class. Besides that, she was actively involved in several extra-curricular activities all throughout high school and had great group of friends she could rely on. While at college, she is beginning to find herself in situations throughout her day that trigger some anxiety and feeling the symptoms of depression. She is struggling to keep up with schoolwork which is leading to more stress. There is stress overload from her mother’s high demands and expectations. She is feeling stuck, she does not know who she is, failing to develop close friendships, and is trying to find herself.
What response does this information elicit in me professionally
The factors mentioned above may impact my client interaction positively and negatively. As a counsellor, it is my obligation to be informed of the issues that might arise in multiethnic families. I must avoid misconceptions and projection of my own cultural beliefs and treat my client as an individual with her own set of unique needs and as a member of her culture. In turn, this will allow me to create culturally sensitive interventions leading to better client rapport. Secondly, I am also aware that I may have the same stereotypes of single parent households, immigrants and individuals with anxiety whether negative or positive. A common stereotype/ label associated with individuals that have anxiety are that they are lazy people. However, they might be doing the best they can, and tiredness may be a deeper sign of depression. To combat this, it is imperative that I engage in active listening to develop a positive and healthy interaction with a client. Lastly, I believe that by reducing the power between the client and I will build a much more positive relationship. To date, Courtney has been shaped by her mother based on her own values and experiences. This could be the cause of her anxiety, pressure and low self-esteem. Not only does this help maintain respect for the client’s dignity and autonomy, but it helps build confidence in solving her own problems and identity.
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