Lessons from my Multicultural class
by Beza Addis
In my multicultural class we each had to select a topic that is focused on multicultural issues which has bearing in our personal life and future work with clients. As an immigrant minority, it is a benefit to myself and to those I come across to be able to live harmoniously with people of all racial backgrounds stemming from a place of knowledge, strength, reasonable trust, tolerance, and forgiveness. However, I am learning this task is a personal choice that takes rigorous work and faith. Nevertheless, I admit its result in my life is invaluable and satisfying; causing a rippling positive effect in the collective consciousness.
Moreover, as a future mental health counselor being culturally competent and sensitive is a matter of great service and value. And from reading our class book by Sue and Sue I agree that multicultural competence cannot occur without us students confronting our harmful and detrimental attitudes about race, gender, and sexual orientation. Therefore, I am appreciative and grateful that my education and training as a future mental health counselor at Southwestern College encourages me to work above the cognitive and objective domain. For this reason above all else I am learning self-exploration and reflection to be an integral building block of future counselors.
Hence, by selecting this risky topic and fighting to take ownership of it I am provided with the unique opportunity to broaden my consciousness, have an affective/experiential component, a knowledge component, and a skill set component. The above four components are what is allowing me to be able to understand the worldviews and life experiences of the diverse groups in this nation from a cultural and political perspective. Furthermore, it leads me to question and examine my deeply rooted perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to race. From doing self-exploration and reflection including our class discussions and readings I am learning how to become a better therapist and individual of the world. I become a better therapist the more I understand my own motives, biases, values, and assumptions about human behavior. The words ‘counselor know thyself’ and its implications in multicultural competence and sensitivity cannot be overstated. Hence, I see that my beliefs are more than ideas; they shift how I experience myself and my life in general. Therefore, I appreciate having the opportunity to explore this topic in length and learning to grow from it.