Becoming Aware of Cultural Biases in Counseling
None of us are free of cultural biases. Though we might value diversity, affirming that God’s splendor and majesty is magnified in diverse cultures and expressions, it can also bring about challenges as we minister to others. Inadvertently, we might apply prejudice to other people’s differences. This happens because we all exist in cultural contexts that form and influence our perceptions, reactions and judgments. Therefore, as we engage our congregants or clients in the counseling room, each of whom embody diverse aspects of society, we need to also cultivate healthy levels of cultural sensitivity.
Cultural sensitivity can be defined as a set of skills that allow us to learn and understand people whose cultural background is distinct from ours. When we shepherd others, we are creating space for our cultures to coexist with theirs. As such, when we overlook the ways in which people are shaped by their cultural contexts, we risk creating shallow and conflictual relationships. Instead, we should bring about a convergence of cultures that will enable greater understanding, deeper conversations and increased transformation.
This month’s tool will guide you through practical exercises to facilitate growth in two components for cultivating cultural sensitivity. The first includes increased self-awareness of what defines your own cultural identity, and then the second part will focus on forming greater cultural curiosity for those you shepherd.
Josue Calderon, M.A.