A Journey Through Clinical Mental Health Counseling

A Really Beneficial Outlet

Reflecting on the past seven weeks, I’ve found immense value in nurturing and expanding my perspectives through writing material, discussion posts, and reflection pieces. For most of my life, I’ve internalized my thoughts and perceptions, often struggling to navigate life with them. However, my journey in pursuing a master’s in clinical mental health counseling has given me a newfound sense of belonging and alignment.

The Marginalized Populations

The chapters on marginalized groups deeply resonated with me, particularly in highlighting aspects of my adoptee identity and the voices within the adoptee community. Reading about white privilege, implicit bias, microaggressions, and ethnocentric monoculturalism provided new perspectives and language to articulate my experiences of displacement and cultural disconnection.

Relating To Adoptees

The exploration of biracial identity in the course material offered insights into being caught between two cultures and the struggle for a holistic sense of belonging. Growing up Colombian with Italian-American parents who didn’t strongly identify with their cultures, I often questioned my own identity. The emphasis on historical trauma validated the intergenerational wounds affecting many adoptees, stemming from abandonment, loss, and assimilation. The discussion on microaggressions particularly struck a chord, reflecting the experiences adoptees often face.

Becoming More Culturally Sensitive

Gaining familiarity with these cultural insights will aid in better understanding, relating to, and communicating with diverse clients, especially those grappling with discrimination, isolation, and identity conflicts. While the exposure to culturally competent content is invaluable, I aim to integrate it more into my daily life. I already possess empathy and compassion, but I feel a need for more cultural sensitivity. The material, while focusing on oppression, could benefit from exploring the positive cultural elements and successes of various communities.

A State of Unknowing

This course has encouraged me to embrace a state of being that is more openly uncertain. While I consider non-judgmental perception a strength, I recognize the importance of leaning into a state of unknowing. This approach fosters cultural competence and humility, supporting my willingness to understand others’ struggles instead of intellectualizing them. Recognizing the need for humans to feel deeply understood, especially in their personal and contextual cultures, is crucial in a globalized society facing potential job losses due to AI advancements.

Supporting Scholarly Article

The article “Cultural Diversity and Mental Health: Considerations for Policy and Practice” from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) delves into the intersection of cultural diversity and mental health. It discusses the implications of cultural differences for mental health practice, including perceptions of health and illness, treatment-seeking patterns, and issues of racism and discrimination. This article supports the importance of cultural sensitivity and competence in mental health counseling, aligning with the themes discussed in your reflection.

Read the full article here.

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