Donald is suffering from Schizophrenia and Ann has been counseling him for several months with no tangible results and both the patient and the counselor are complaining. The major issue, in this case, is that there is a cultural barrier that Ann has been unable to break due to perceptible limited counseling skills in a multicultural environment. Schizophrenia, paranoid type is a psychological disorder where the victims experience the perception of being the target of some evil plot to cause harm to them or the people close to them. The victims may therefore formulate both physical and psychological ways to protect themselves and those close to them. (MedlinePlus, 2010) There is a higher possibility that the victim will attempt to perceive the counselor as being an enemy rather than a source of help and comfort especially when there are diverse factors such as culture. It is therefore upon the counselor to use appropriate skills to win the trust of the victim and therefore creates a good rapport.
From the briefing, it is obvious that Ann does not have appropriate counseling skills for this kind of situation. During counseling, culture constitutes an important aspect and as stated by Leach (2010), it is very difficult to understand the psychological challenges faced by an individual unless one understands what that challenge means culturally to the individual. Having been brought up in a different cultural environment in terms of race, there is a high possibility that Ann does not understand what the situation means to Donald. Furthermore, Ann seems to be indifferent on issues about racism and this demonstrates an unwillingness to develop an understanding.
As much as a counseling session is more about the patient, the attitude and the beliefs of the counselor may significantly affect the direction or the outcome of the counseling sessions. The fact that Ann has resolved that Donald devalues him and never pays attention to what she says, demonstrates that the level of self-awareness of Ann is significantly low. Self-awareness is important to the counselor in the sense that it helps him/her appreciate the differences and similarities that may exist between them and the patient. (McLeod, 2007)
The probable belief system of Ann also presents a major challenge to the situation. Having been brought up in an all-white neighborhood and being an Asian, there is a high chance that at one point issues of racism emerged. However, the fact that Ann avoids discussions revolving around race and ethnicity demonstrates that she might be harboring some racial sentiments that have not been dealt with. Therefore, there is a high possibility that Ann’s belief system is not multicultural. Furthermore, Ann’s knowledge of the African-American culture could be limited to what she has learned in books or from the media and she could therefore be judging the situation depending on this basis and cultural stereotyping may be inevitable.
The choice of the intervention method and approach during counseling is usually unique to every circumstance and challenge. (McLeod, 2007) However, analyzing the whole situation it is evident that Ann failed to come up with the most appropriate culturally sound approach. The fact that Donald is poor in grammar and pronunciation creates an instant barrier to communication that Ann has to deal with. This could be the reason why both of them feel that the other is not communicating well. Once there is a lack of communication the obvious outcome is that not even the best intervention technique can work. This is because aspects such as trust and empathy are dependent on communication. (Chapman, 2000).
Chapman, J. (2000). Interviewing and Counselling. London: Cavendish.
Leach, M. (2006). Cultural Diversity and Suicide: Ethnic, Religious, Gender, and Sexual Orientation Perspectives. New York: Haworth Press.
McLeod, J. (2007). Counseling Skills. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill.
Plus, M. (2010). Schizophrenia-Paranoid Type. Web.