Counseling in cross cultural environment

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Presentation of aspects of book by David Augsberger that looks at Counseling and Family Systems, in different cultures. Emphasis on Christian counseling, and differences between "eastern" and "western" viewpoints.

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Counseling in cross cultural environment

  1. 1. Pastoral Counseling Across Cultures Highlights of book by David Augsberger. Powerpoint by Bob Munson
  2. 2. <ul><li>There are three components of our personhood… our “trinity” as human beings: </li></ul><ul><li>“ That which is like everyone else.” This is our HUMANITY </li></ul><ul><li>“ That which is like no one else.” This is our INDIVIDUALITY </li></ul><ul><li>“ That which is like some others.” This is our CULTURAL IDENTITY. </li></ul>
  3. 4. We often cannot tell which is which. This is particularly true in Monocultures.
  4. 6. Why is this a problem? Because when we try to “help” someone from a different culture, we might be simply trying to conform them to our cultural norm.
  5. 7. While many PC&C books offer an eclectic view of models, strategies, and techniques, most focus on a single overarching goal. That goal is to take someone from a dependent state to an independent state. This is a Western mindset. The unwritten assumption of Western society (and consequently Western counselors) is that an unhealthy individual is one who is dependent on people and structures around him. The goal of therapy is to engender a sense of autonomy or self-reliance in the individual.
  6. 8. However, in many societies, such a sense of independence from family, clan, or society is considered to be unhealthy. Rather, these societies (such as much of the Eastern and African cultures) see a healthy person as living and acting within strong social bonds. These bonds typically take precedence over self-determination.
  7. 9. “ In mental distress, the Easterner tends towards independence, isolation, or acting out. Therapy tends to focus on learning dependence”. On the other hand, “In mental distress, the Westerner tends toward passive dependence, depression, helplessness. Therapy tends to focus on learning independence.” (page 88)
  8. 10. The author would argue that too much independence and too much dependence is unhealthy in any society. Therefore, a good universal goal is “Interdependence.” “Interdependence in social responsibility and solidarity with significant others.”
  9. 11. Thought #1 Recognize the humanity that is present in all people across cultures. Try using the concept of “God’s Image” as a good model.
  10. 12. Thought #2 Recognize that our humanity created in God’s Image can be recognized in all cultures… not just our own.
  11. 13. Thought #3 Careful with labeling. A label… “robs the person of identity through profound mortification and depersonalization and forces an ascribed role with extremely difficult exit.” (317)
  12. 14. Thought #4 Counselors should focus on the “normative” rather than the “descriptive.” Science loves description, labeling, “pidgeonholing”. But in counseling, we need to focus on cultural norms… which are variable.
  13. 15. Thought #5 No society or culture is more prone to mental illness than others. This goes against the assumptions of many. However, it is true that certain problems link to certain cultures more than others.
  14. 16. Thought #6 “ The counselor is not value-free; no theory of therapy is, no effective therapist will be, no human being of integrity can be. Values are central to all truly human existence; values are essential to all healing and maturing in the therapeutic process.” (35)
  15. 17. Thought #6 (cont) Therefore, each counselor must be aware of these values and be willing to freely disclose them to the counselee.
  16. 18. Addendum A <Cultural Awareness> Believable: I understand affectively Cultural immersion; living the culture Awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. 4 Believable: I understand cognitively Intellectual analysis Awareness of the meanings of the cultural traits that contrast sharply with one’s own. 3 Unbe1ievable : frustrating, irritating Culture-conflict situations Awareness of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with one’s own. 2 Unbelievable: weird, exotic Tourism, textbooks Awareness of superficial or very visible cultural traits ; stereotypes 1 Interpretation Mode Information Level Believable: I understand affectively Cultural immersion; living the culture Awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. 4 Believable: I understand cognitively Intellectual analysis Awareness of the meanings of the cultural traits that contrast sharply with one’s own. 3 Unbe1ievable : frustrating, irritating Culture-conflict situations Awareness of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with one’s own. 2 Unbelievable: weird, exotic Tourism, textbooks Awareness of superficial or very visible cultural traits ; stereotypes 1 Interpretation Mode Information Level
  17. 19. Addendum A It is doubtful whether a person can be effective in counseling someone from a different culture unless he/she is at least LEVEL 3 in his/her cultural awareness. Believable: I understand affectively Cultural immersion; living the culture Awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. 4 Believable: I understand cognitively Intellectual analysis Awareness of the meanings of the cultural traits that contrast sharply with one’s own. 3 Unbe1ievable : frustrating, irritating Culture-conflict situations Awareness of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with one’s own. 2 Unbelievable: weird, exotic Tourism, textbooks Awareness of superficial or very visible cultural traits ; stereotypes 1 Interpretation Mode Information Level
  18. 20. Addendum B <Ethical Systems> Three Major Ethical Systems <Augsberger, 250> RIGHT/ WRONG GOOD/ EVIL FIT/ UNFIT Deontological Teleological Contextual Unbending Flexible Flexible Rules (ends) (means) <Western> <Chinese> <Indian> Believable: I understand affectively Cultural immersion; living the culture Awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. 4 Believable: I understand cognitively Intellectual analysis Awareness of the meanings of the cultural traits that contrast sharply with one’s own. 3 Unbe1ievable : frustrating, irritating Culture-conflict situations Awareness of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with one’s own. 2 Unbelievable: weird, exotic Tourism, textbooks Awareness of superficial or very visible cultural traits ; stereotypes 1 Interpretation Mode Information Level
  19. 21. Addendum B <Ethical Systems> Be careful here. Many Christians are positive that Biblical Ethics are Deontological (Thou shalt/shalt no). Some are convinced that is it Teleological (End justifies the means). But one finds all three systems supported in the Bible. Believable: I understand affectively Cultural immersion; living the culture Awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. 4 Believable: I understand cognitively Intellectual analysis Awareness of the meanings of the cultural traits that contrast sharply with one’s own. 3 Unbe1ievable : frustrating, irritating Culture-conflict situations Awareness of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with one’s own. 2 Unbelievable: weird, exotic Tourism, textbooks Awareness of superficial or very visible cultural traits ; stereotypes 1 Interpretation Mode Information Level
  20. 22. Addendum B <Ethical Systems> Perhaps it is correct to assume that all ethical systems are pale, simplified cultural constructs that have elements of divine truth, yet are limited. In other words, all three systems have elements of truth and falsehood that should be respected and challenged. Believable: I understand affectively Cultural immersion; living the culture Awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. 4 Believable: I understand cognitively Intellectual analysis Awareness of the meanings of the cultural traits that contrast sharply with one’s own. 3 Unbe1ievable : frustrating, irritating Culture-conflict situations Awareness of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with one’s own. 2 Unbelievable: weird, exotic Tourism, textbooks Awareness of superficial or very visible cultural traits ; stereotypes 1 Interpretation Mode Information Level
  21. 23. Addendum C <Life Orientations> Control What controls one’s actions? External: Society controls one’s actions EC Internal: Personal belief controls one’s actions IC Responsibility Who is responsible for what happens? External It’s God’s will ER Internal I am the captain of my fate. IR Believable: I understand affectively Cultural immersion; living the culture Awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. 4 Believable: I understand cognitively Intellectual analysis Awareness of the meanings of the cultural traits that contrast sharply with one’s own. 3 Unbe1ievable : frustrating, irritating Culture-conflict situations Awareness of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with one’s own. 2 Unbelievable: weird, exotic Tourism, textbooks Awareness of superficial or very visible cultural traits ; stereotypes 1 Interpretation Mode Information Level
  22. 24. Addendum C <Life Orientations> This leads to four categories IC-IR I make my own decision, I accept responsibility for what happens <Western Ideal> IC-ER I make my own decisions. However, the way things are not my fault. <minority groups in oppressive societies> EC-IR I follow the crowd. I am responsible for what happens. <bi-cultural individuals. Some cultural racists> EC-ER I follow societies demand. I am not responsible for what happens. <Eastern Ideal> Believable: I understand affectively Cultural immersion; living the culture Awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. 4 Believable: I understand cognitively Intellectual analysis Awareness of the meanings of the cultural traits that contrast sharply with one’s own. 3 Unbe1ievable : frustrating, irritating Culture-conflict situations Awareness of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with one’s own. 2 Unbelievable: weird, exotic Tourism, textbooks Awareness of superficial or very visible cultural traits ; stereotypes 1 Interpretation Mode Information Level
  23. 25. Addendum C <Life Orientations> Western Ideal: IC-IR Healthy, High self-reliance, self-control, assertive, self- sufficient. self-responsible. IC-ER Angry activist. Revolutionary EC-IR Marginal person in oppressed minorities. No control over environment. Responsible for his/her own failure/poverty. EC-ER Learned helplessness. Non-assertive. Placating/passive. Depressed with hopeless feelings. Believable: I understand affectively Cultural immersion; living the culture Awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. 4 Believable: I understand cognitively Intellectual analysis Awareness of the meanings of the cultural traits that contrast sharply with one’s own. 3 Unbe1ievable : frustrating, irritating Culture-conflict situations Awareness of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with one’s own. 2 Unbelievable: weird, exotic Tourism, textbooks Awareness of superficial or very visible cultural traits ; stereotypes 1 Interpretation Mode Information Level
  24. 26. Addendum C <Life Orientations> Eastern Ideal: IC-IR Outsider. Isolated, an individual in a corporate community. Sociopathic IC-ER Deviant personality. Assuming private control of life, but not responsible for choices or actions. EC-IR Unhealthy personality. Blames self in depressive or hysteric “possession”. EC-ER Healthy personality in corporate solidarity with tribal values. Accepting group responsibility for choices, decision, actions. Believable: I understand affectively Cultural immersion; living the culture Awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. 4 Believable: I understand cognitively Intellectual analysis Awareness of the meanings of the cultural traits that contrast sharply with one’s own. 3 Unbe1ievable : frustrating, irritating Culture-conflict situations Awareness of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with one’s own. 2 Unbelievable: weird, exotic Tourism, textbooks Awareness of superficial or very visible cultural traits ; stereotypes 1 Interpretation Mode Information Level
  25. 27. Be careful in assuming which ideal, which ethical system, which life role is “more Biblical” than others… These choices may say more about our cultural upbringing than God’s ideal.
  26. 28. Pastoral Counseling Across Cultures Highlights of book by David Augsberger. Powerpoint by Bob Munson

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