Counseling Abroad Advice

Found this neat article on counselors experiences and advice about counseling abroad. If I want to work with diverse clients in American and abroad, then I may want to also provide other needs than mental health services. As the article says, some countries do not have a word that means “counselor,” and there is stigma against mental illnesses… Interesting read. Makes me want to open or work for an organization that provides medical services and subtly also counseling services lolll. (Not in a manipulative way… But so that if people come to the organization, they don’t have to tell people it’s for a counseling session!) We’ll see how that’ll be phrased and marketed haha. x)

Counseling as a profession is not something many people are familiar with outside of the United States, Berliner says. Translating the word counselor is so difficult in some languages that psychologist is used instead. The trouble with that, Berliner says, is that the idea of psychiatry or psychology sometimes carries the stigma of a professional who works with the mentally ill or the “abnormal.”

“Counselors do well when they work on their awareness of their own cultural makeup and experiences, continuously work on expanding knowledge relevant to different cultural groups we work with — but making sure that we don’t try to fit our clients into what we learned about their particular culture — and strive to learn new skills and therapeutic techniques that could improve the effectiveness of our counseling intervention.” Alekma who moved from the US to Uzbekistan, which is a multiethnic country with Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Koreans etc.

“One of the most powerful parts of the clients’ experience at NCS, Kozlowski says, is the respect paid to their needs. The simplest example of that, he says, is how clients are given tea or coffee and biscuits while they wait for their appointments. “This simple act has often been mentioned to me by clients and how they are made to feel at home, safe and cared for when attending services.” Christopher who moved from the US to Ireland to counsel those neglected by school and orphanage systems

“We must be students of the individuals we are serving and students of their culture if we are to guide them through a healing process that is effective for them. Even when we feel that we are familiar with a particular culture, we must not assume that all individuals from that particular ethnic group are the same and share the same culture. There are subcultures within each culture, so the learning process never ends.

The more relationships the counselor can build with individuals from diverse cultures and the more the counselor can travel, read and inform himself about various cultures that he may be called upon to counsel, the more prepared the counselor will be to understand the issues that may affect the counseling process and outcomes.” Deborah from the US who moved to Venezuela to provide family counseling


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