Most school counsellor’s approach their jobs with the goal of wanting to helping students achieve their best in academics, adaptive functioning, and social competencies. It is my belief that to do this requires the school counsellor to commit to a regime of reflective practice which can be a difficult task. I recall the first time that I encountered a culture competency model of counselling and was asked to identify my biases to my fellow classmates. My immediate reaction was that I didn’t have any biases and that I would be willing to work with any student on any issue. Upon further questioning and reflection I realized that having biases is unavoidable and that one of the most important aspects of being a counsellor is to acknowledge and exam our world views to develop an understanding of how those views shape our practice perspectives and influence our interactions with students. Sue and Sue (2002) described culturally competent counsellors as having an awareness of their own assumptions, values, and beliefs, having knowledge about the worldviews of others, as well as possessing the skill necessary to use therapeutic modalities and interventions that are most appropriate for the individual client. Schools are a microcosm that reflects the ever changing and growing diversity in today’s society and as such it is more important than ever that counsellors commit to deepening our understanding of ourselves and the impact our views have on our interactions and interventions with students.
As this week marks the beginning of PRIDE week in Toronto and the topic of this blog is about developing competency when working with diverse populations, I started thinking about the importance of the school counsellor in helping to create and maintain the school as a safe and supportive place for all students. The following link is to a guide created by Wells and Tsutsumi (2005) titled, Creating Safe, Caring and Inclusive Schools for LGBTQ Students. I found the guide useful in helping to understand the needs of LGBTQ students. The guide offers information, strategies and ethical guidelines to help school counsellors develop supports, services, and interventions for LGBTQ students.
Sue, D., & Sue, D. (2002). Counselling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. NY: John Wiley & Sons.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA