Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and/or sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups. So simply put….being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working. In one of my recent reading assignments, I learned that diversity is not only about bringing different perspectives to the table. Simply adding social diversity to a group makes people believe that differences of perspective might exist among them and that belief makes people change their behavior.
This, I think is relevant to our practice as counsellors who in some way or another are engaging with clients to shape and change behaviors or address belief systems while working with different therapeutic modalities. When we talk about incorporating diversity in our profession, perhaps this is how it works – by encouraging the consideration of alternatives even before any interpersonal interaction takes place. This point again is important in informing our interactions with clients when we set up that initial appointment…yes perhaps we might make assumptions based on their names or accent but it might be worthwhile to keep those assumptions in the back burner. It is crucial not let them cloud our counselling approach.
So in a nutshell:
- Racially diverse groups tend to share information better
- Diversity enhances different points of view lead to broader thinking
- Diversity pushes one to abandon the status quo
By: Priya Senroy
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA