Sample Courseworks Paper on Psychology

Intercultural Questions

  1. Ways that cultural differences between a counselor and a counselee affect counseling.

Cultural competence is among the factors that promote the efficiency of counseling sessions. A study conducted by Sundberg (2013) reveals that the cultural differences affect the perception that the counselor and the counselee have on various issues and this impact the efficacy of their communication. The cultural background of the counselor may adversely affect the quality of their services to the counselee, especially due to social stereotyping associated with varying cultures. The cultural background of the counselee may lead them to distrust the counselor, limiting their willingness to open up about the issues affecting them. It is thus crucial for counselors to ensure high cultural competence to mitigate the adverse effect that may result from cultural differences between them and the counselees.

  1. Indigenous alternatives to “counseling” in a non-Western culture

According to Christine et al. (2004), the adoption of indigenous alternatives to counseling in the Western nations is necessitated by the high rate of immigration of people from other parts of the world into the countries. The application of Western methods of counseling is inefficient due to the diversity of culture among in the society.  One of the alternative methods used in counseling in the Western nations is Reiki healing, which is based on the assumption that life energy possessed by all individuals is helpful in healing their physical, emotional and psychological pain. The other alternative counseling method used is Qigong healing, which involves the use of breathing exercises and energy control methods to provide emotional healing. Pranic healing is the other approach used in the place of counseling, which holds that life force or energy has the ability to cure one’s physical and psychological pain.

  1. The varying of psychological problems with the culture of the clients

The psychological problems expressed by clients differ because individuals have varying interpretations of life experiences they face, such that an event may be normal to one person and abnormal in the other. Clients rarely report the experiences that they perceive normal. The social stigma associated with the psychological problems also affects the nature of issues presented by clients form varying backgrounds (Sundberg, 2013). Clients whose cultural backgrounds stigmatize some mental illnesses may be reluctant to seek medical health. The cultural background of the clients affects the seriousness of their illnesses, thus leading to varying level psychological problems across different cultures.

  1. Essential issues involved in counseling international students.

For international students to achieve their academic and personal development goals, it is crucial to provide counseling services effectively. One of the issues that should be considered is cultural shock that the students may experience in the new environment. They should be prepared to adjust and accept the new culture they find in the institutions. The other issue that should be considered in counseling is their academic aspirations and personal expectations. The counselors should focus on helping the students realize their dreams (Scottham et al., 2010). The dissonance of cross-cultural experience that is likely to affect the students should also be considered when counseling international students. The students should be sensitized about the need to respect the host culture and other cultures. However, they should also be wary of cultures that may affect their development negatively.

  1. Value-orientation conflicts

Value orientation refers to the assumptions that people hold concerning other cultures. The orientation helps in defining the major cultural differences between the Western culture and other cultures. At the individual level, value orientation describes the internalized components of the individual (Sundberg, 2013). At the community level, value orientation refers to the modes of organizing conduct. The differences in the types of value orientations lead to conflicts that can affect the cohesion of the society. The conflict results from variations in individual personality, secular rationality and external conformity.

  1. Stages of Black racial identity development

Racial identity develops over time, following a number of stages. Among blacks, the first stage of the racial development is pre-encounter, where the individuals learn about the black and white culture. In this phase, the focus of the individuals is to gain acceptance by the whites, thus may distance themselves from other blacks. The second phase is encounter, where the individual faces rejection from the whites. Their effort to be accepted by the whites becomes futile, and they realize that they cannot be accepted by the whites as an equal. As a result, the individuals focus on their identity as members of a biased group. The third stage is the Immersion, where the individuals accept their racial identity and they an active rejection of any symbols that may be associated with the whites (Scottham et al., 2010). The fourth stage is internalization, where the individual associates with both the black and white peers, but only those that respect the black race. The final stage is commitment, which is characterized by positive racial identity by the individual.

  1. Counseling is to some extent “multicultural”.

One of the primary objectives of counseling is to ensure the well-being of the clients, regardless of their demographic background. In light of this, counselors are required to be well acquainted with the varying cultural beliefs and practices of the different groups, as a way of improving their efficiency. The fact that counseling entails dealing with people from varying cultures is among the reasons that the discipline is regarded as multicultural (Marsella & Pedersen, 2004). Additionally, the principles applied in counseling are developed from a wide range of cultures and disciplines, thus making it multicultural. Counseling sessions are well suited for clients from varying economic backgrounds, race, genders and other groups in the society.

  1. Characteristics of “cultural encapsulation” for counselors

According to Kagan (2004), one of the primary reasons that may hinder the ability of counselors to understand different cultures is the tendency to stereotype certain members of the society based on their culture. One major characteristics of cultural encapsulation is stereotyping other cultures. Counselors who do not realize that stereotypes are social constructs may end up failing to understand the effect that the stereotypes have on their judgment.  The other characteristic of cultural encapsulation is inadequacy in education programs that the counselors take, because the learning activities should make the individuals more culturally competent. Cultural encapsulation is also characterized by rigidity in the performance of the counselor, which limits their ability to change with the varying cultural developments in the modern world.

  1. Commitment of counselors to “changing” the environment and not merely helping a client adjust to it

In my practice as a counselor, I intend to conduct more research in cultural competency to help develop knowledge that can be used to improve the relationship between the counselors and counselees, especially those with varying cultural backgrounds. I will also conduct more research on implementation of social justice in the society, as a way of averting emotional and psychological torture experienced by majority of the clients. I hope to develop measures that can be used by law enforcements agents to help curb social injustices in the community.

  1. Some of the barriers to accurate communication

One of the primary barriers to communication in counseling is language barrier, which affects the understanding between the parties involved. Cultural diversity is the barrier that affects communication between the counselor and the counselee because their interpretation of words and actions described is greatly influenced by their cultural background.




Christine J. Yeh, Carla D. Hunter, Anvita Madan-Bahel, Lillian Chiang, and Agnes K. Arora. (2004). Indigenous and interdependent perspectives of healing: Implications for counseling and research. Journal of Counseling & Development82, 410.

Kagan, N. (2004). Three dimensions of counselor encapsulation. Journal of counseling Psychology11(4), 361.

Kates, S. L. (2015, February). Conflicting Value-Orientations and Intra-Personality Conflicts. In Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science (Vol. 33, pp. 282-285).

Marsella, A. J., & Pedersen, P. (2004). Internationalizing the counseling psychology curriculum: Toward new values, competencies, and directions. Counselling Psychology Quarterly17(4), 413-423.

Scottham, K. M., Cooke, D. Y., Sellers, R. M., & Ford, K. (2010). Integrating process with content in understanding African American racial identity development. Self and Identity9(1), 19-40.

Sundberg, N. D. (2013). Cross-cultural counseling and psychotherapy: A research overview. Cross-cultural counseling and psychotherapy, 28-62.