Reflection 8 Professional Identity and Ethical Practice

Reflection 8 Professional Identity and Ethical Practice


Reflection 8 – Professional Identity and Ethical Practice

Professional Counseling in a Diverse Society

Chapter 18 Pope & Vasquez, 2010

Chapter 3 RemleyHerlihy, 2014

Javier D. Ley

Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi

November 2, 2013

Reflection Eight

These chapters centered on ethics in counseling in a culturally diverse society. This cultural diversity can include differences due to race, ethnicity, gender, sex, age, religion, spirituality, mental and physical ability, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class. From the chapters, two relevant issues called my attention. The first issue is the balance between cultural knowledge of a specific group and the inclination to stereotype group members based on that same knowledge. The second issue is the different levels of competence that a counselor must prepare on to be competent at a multi-cultural level.

In regards to the first issue, finding this balance seems an essential aspect of counseling for a diverse society. On the one hand, knowledge of specific group characteristics is necessary for a counselor to understand cultural factors that can influence a counseling process. On the other hand, these common group characteristics need not be a must reality for all members of this particular group. Counselors also need to understand the personal values and beliefs of the individual person beyond physical characteristics of group belonging. The fact that a person looks a certain way does not mean the person embraces the characteristics of that particular group.

The second issue that called my attention from these chapters was the different levels of competence required to become competent as a multi-cultural counselor. There is knowledge based competence as an initial must know. In this sense, knowledge of group cultural characteristics as well as skills specific to certain cultures is required. There is also competence based on self-awareness of own values and beliefs regarding your own cultural influences at different levels and values and beliefs regarding other cultures different than your own. Finally, an important component of counselor competence that called my attention was emotional competence, a concept also related to self-awareness. This has to do with the counselor’s emotional responses to people and situations particular to a certain culture or even to a different person with different values.

As for my own experience, counseling for a diverse society has mostly centered on differences due to socioeconomic differences, sexual orientation, gender, and age. I have less experience with different cultures due to race and ethnicity, since Nicaragua is not as culturally diversified in these aspects as the United States. Even so, the relevant end aspects in becoming more competent in multi-cultural counseling are the willingness to learn more and to acquire additional functions such as advocacy change agents and community involvement.


Pope, K.Vasquez, M. (2010).Ethics in Psychotherapy and Counseling.John Wiley & Sons,

Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.

Remley, T. & Herlihy, B. (2014).Ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling. Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.