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Cross cultural counseling Essay

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This article focuses on how different people view culture and it affects their attitudes and perceptions to other people. The purpose for conducting this interview is to get views on what people understand by culture, how they think their culture shapes their way of thinking, how parents cultivate cultural values in their children, gender and culture and how to lessen divisions that can come up due to differences in culture. Uwe peter Gielen, Jefferson M. Fish, Juris G. (2004) Background information of the interviewees

I felt that Dominic was suitable to be interviewed because he seemed to be mature, honest, and most willing to spare his time to answer my questions to the best of his knowledge.

He also comes from a different country from ours hence will give us a better view of culture and its impacts since he has mixed with people who are not from his cultural setup. He also has a wide range of experience in terms of culture differences since he has been allowed to live in different countries with his parents and learn in different schools which have students who come from different communities and different social status for example the poor and the rich.

Ramya, who is an Indian, is suitable for this interview since her culture and more so the aspect of religion is quite diverse from other religions such as Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Muslim. As a result, she is best suited to giving ideas and views on how people from a culture which is so diverse can adapt in other cultures. She also seemed to be very honest and also critical in giving answers to the interview questions. Uwe peter Gielen, Jefferson M. Fish, Juris G. (2004) Aim/Goal Many people are experiencing challenges on how to live in different communities and countries which have different cultures from theirs.

As a result, many people fail to cope with people who are not from their cultures. In the home setup, parents are frequently being in conflict with their children because of the different values that they hold. Religion affects people’s ways of life in such a way that it affects love relationships where one is not allowed marrying a person who is not from his/her religion. My goal for carrying out this interview is to understand how people view culture and cultural changes and how they affect their life in totality.

This will go a long way in assisting people from different cultures to understand one another hence live in harmony despite of their cultural differences and also help researchers in the cross cultural counseling to be aware of the issues facing people, their attitudes and how to help them cope better in different cultural settings. Shahe S. Kazarian, David R. Evans (2001). Results and discussion of the interview The interview went on successfully since the people I interviewed were willing and ready to devote their time to answer my questions to the best of their knowledge and ability. They seemed to be very free and open.

I interviewed two people and these are: 1) Dominic from Jamaica 2) Ramya from India In this interview, I asked Dominic and Ramya the following questions: 1. Can you tell me your point of view on what culture is? 2. How does your culture impact on your belief systems and life experience? 3. What was considered important to your parents? 4. What expectation did your parents place on you regarding religion? 5. What was the attitude of being a female/male in your culture? 6. How does your culture shape your experiences in interacting with people in the ? a) office environment, ? b) home environment ? c) general social environment (e. g.

parties and going out) 7. What are your suggestions for lessening the impact of cultural divide that may occur in Australia? Dominic viewed culture as the Culture is the values, traditions and beliefs that the society you grew up in instills in you. He believes that the culture you are brought up in is the one which moulds the beliefs that you hold and also determines how a person will behave/react to different environments and situations. His parents, who instilled the values in him hence teaching him culture, were concerned about making him know and appreciate different cultures and hence help him to fit in the society in which he lives.

This concern from his parents is clearly seen when he states that they made him live in different countries, go to different schools which have pupils from all social classes for example the poor in Jamaica, be keen on politics and current affairs, see plays and read books from his country and throughout the world. The parents valued education as a way of getting joy and satisfaction in knowing and practicing what you know rather than getting employment. To him, the parents have a very great influence to the way a person believes and the values that he holds close to him.

Shahe S. Kazarian, David R. Evans (2001) His parents considered it very crucial to develop strong network of his family and friends. They also taught him to take part in activities that lead to the development of the community such as being involved in politics, community activities, charity work and education. This is further evidence that parents shape the beliefs and cultural values that their children hold. Dominic in taking part in this interview shows his willingness to participate to contribute to community development a character that he was taught by his parents.

However, his parents seem not to have controlled nor guided his decision as pertains to religion. He however asserts that his grandparents had a different view since they wanted him to attend the church in which they were elders. This shows how the cultural values keep on changing as generations come and go. The grandparents hold the belief that their child should go to the church they are in while the parents feel that one has a choice of which religion to follow. This age gap creates a lot of conflicts between the age groups.

This issue has to be addressed in order for people to live in harmony. Dominic emphasizes that in his culture, women are the bread winners. They are supposed to start up families and also bring them up. Women in his culture are seen to be involved in activities such as putting up and owning businesses, be radio and television producers, musicians, scientists and even teachers. To him, the woman in their culture can work anywhere so long as she provides food at the table for the family and also raise children. This could be contrary to some other cultures.

Dominic does not find problems in his workplace as far as cultural values are concerned since he comes from an English Caribbean island whose cultural values have quite many similarities with those in Australia. This implies that people who don’t have some common values to those in Australia are likely to have problems in the workplace. He also confesses that he has never worked in his home country. This could be the reason why he adapts easily to working in Australia since he has no experience of how it feels to work in an environment in whose culture one holds.

He however admits to be facing challenges in his home environment since he married someone whose culture is different from his. This problem extends to the children who also seem to be holding different values from those held by their father. This demonstrates how culture can go to bringing conflicts to people in the same family. As a result, people need to be educated on how to avoid or overcome such conflicts when they arise. Joseph G. Ponterotto (2001). Cultural values also differ in social places and occasions.

According to Dominic, social places in Australia don’t do similar things to what is done in Jamaica. To him, social occasions such as parties should be dominated by music, dancing and food. Drinking is not necessary in such parties, and even if someone wants to drink, then it should be done later. This is contrary to the Australian social occasions where people go purposefully to drink. In Jamaica, the major activities to take place are song and dance. Joseph G. Ponterotto (2001). He finally says that people need to be tolerant of all cultures and appreciate people despite their differences.

People should be discriminated simply because they come from different cultures. In fact, people should try to understand other people’s cultures since they may find something good in them that they may like to learn and live by. Shahe S. Kazarian, David R. Evans (2001) Ramya begins to define the term culture by emphasizing that it is so important to the Indian people. She defines it as the way of people that has been followed for a long time. Thus, she feels that culture is acquired from the time someone is born to the end of that person’s life.

She views culture as a means through one’s characters are molded. She believes that culture makes one’s life to be successful and happy. She believes that culture influences most of her decisions and that people are not supposed to compromise their cultures. She also argues that culture defines how to adapt to different environments and hence is flexible to changes which are necessary after questioning and comparing the cultures. Ramya believes that what is important to our parents may not be important to us since we are of a different generation.

She goes ahead and gives examples of things which used to be of priority to our parents but no longer are to us. These include culture, family, respect, unity and love towards the family. On religion, Ramya feels that this is one of the greatest points of conflict. She views the Indian religion as much more complicated than the other religions such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. Her concern is more on what is within a given religion. According to her, this has affected many relationships especially in situations where parents limit their children on who to play with and who to marry.

Being asked to marry a certain person because he /she is from your religion or not marrying someone you love because he/she is from a different religion is what she considers critical point for the young people. This issue needs to be addressed since it is dividing people on religious lines, hence on cultural lines. Joseph G. Ponterotto (2001) In the Indian culture, women used to be considered inferior and men superior to them. Men were allowed to get better education while women were supposed to do household chores such as cooking and getting married off at a very tender age.

However, this has changed as generations came up and women are being viewed as being equal to men. This shows how cultural values are changing with time hence requiring that peoples’ attitudes towards cultures different from theirs should also change. Rayma’s culture on this issue of gender is different from that of Dominic since in Dominic’s culture the woman is the bread winner. Shahe S. Kazarian, David R. Evans (2001) At the workplace, Rayma feels that culture determines how you relate to people. It gives guidelines on what to say, and what to do.

It helps one cope with challenges at work. It enables understand other people and integrate them even when we don’t hold the same cultural values. That loyalty and sincerity come from learning our cultures. At home, culture is our everyday life. Home is the ground where one learns and implements his culture. People get to understand why they hold certain values hence learn to appreciate and adore them. In the social environment, culture reflects who a person is. It gives one an identity. It also gives a person an opportunity to learn other cultures and let others know the person’s culture.

As a result, people get to learn, understand and appreciate each other’s culture. Rita Sommerrs-flanagan (2002). Finally, Rayma feels that cultural divide only occurs when people are narrow minded and not ready to be flexible. People should be ready and willing to accept and appreciate other people’s cultures even when some of the values seem to conflict. Rita Sommerrs-flanagan (2002) Conclusion Information obtained from the interview shows that; differences in geographical location of places where we live, gender and religion are among factors that result to cultural differences.

Culture in its real sense is the set of values that guide and dictate a society’s way of life in order to live in harmony and unity. The fact that we hold different cultural values should not be a reason to cause divisions among us. We should always learn to accommodate everyone despite of their cultural values and hoe different they are from ours. This document has shown that indeed we are different but we can enjoy staying together as one so long as we appreciate each other. Counselors should look for ways of making their clients learn how to cope in different environments with different people who hold different cultural values.

The people should also be made aware of the importance of learning to accommodate each other. Paul Pedersen (2002) References: 1. Paul Pedersen (2002) Counseling across cultures. 2. Rita Sommerrs-flanagan (2002) clinical interviewing. 3. Uwe peter Gielen, Jefferson M. Fish, Juris G. (2004) handbook 5. Joseph G. Ponterotto (2001) handbook of multicultural counseling 6. Ray Woolfe, Windy Dryden, Sheelagh Strawbridge (2003) handbook of counseling 7. Shahe S. Kazarian, David R. Evans (2001) handbook of cultural health psychology

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