I consider myself to be a global citizen…meaning plant me anywhere, I will assimilate and survive, I will grow my own roots, embrace the culture and thrive as a counsellor….I thought that all clients will seek my professional services and no one will discriminate me because of my accent, my skin color, my ethnicity , my age or how I dress myself in ethic wear…Well….on the contrary, I find myself targeted….by clients who want to come and see me only just because we look the same, we speak the same language and we know where we are coming from. It does not matter to them that I am not an expert in what they are looking for….it’s my accent that comforts them, that assures them that they will be heard and not be marginalized. It’s a sense of belonging which is creating therapeutic space, a therapeutic relationship and ultimately helping the clients to deal with their concerns. So many times I am hearing in a diverse work culture, that what matters is your competency but that’s not the case, it’s about the cultural competence, it’s the connection. Even I see when I burst into the common mother tongue and explain the confidentiality or complex process. It s such an interesting time in my head, when I have to think in English and translate the essence in another language. For me being culturally diverse in my practice is more than just understanding the commonality, it’s about conveying the appropriate message within the context – sometimes translating emotional languages and words which do not exist in my clients. It’s also about recognizing and embracing my own (and sometimes inviting clients) into my cultural diaspora to make that connection.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA