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Cultural competence is an essential aspect of counselor training and understanding the perspectives of different cultures is integral for the growth and development of counselors. Through this assignment I investigated a culture that was different from my own, through watching a documentary on Native American culture. This investigation allowed me to gain insight into how their values, language, rituals and traditions, religious or spiritual beliefs, and roles and expectations within their group can be both similar and different from my own culture.

My prior impressions of Native American culture derived mostly from movies like Dances with Wolves or Little Big Man; primarily featuring them as nomads who roamed vast plains hunting buffalo while living in teepees. After having watched the documentary however, I realized that most native tribes today live in either reservation communities or cities; they have modernized but still maintain strong ties to their heritage through celebration of traditional ceremonies such as powwows during which tribal members meet to commemorate various occasions throughout the year (Native American Project 2020). The fact that these communities have managed to survive despite centuries-long oppression serves as inspiration for resilience in other minority groups facing similar struggles today

One assumption I had made about Native Americans before doing this investigation was that all tribes were alike when it comes to values; however I learned that just like any diverse population there are many unique beliefs within each tribe varying even further between regions depending on what customs were passed down through generations (Native American Project 2020). Furthermore, certain cultural biases exist surrounding typical gender roles with men traditionally being hunters while women tended to domestic duties such as gathering wood or food preparation; although attitudes towards these roles are slowly changing over time with more women taking on leadership positions (Navajo Nation 2020).

In order to reduce any potential prejudices when working with clients originating from native cultures in my practice I plan on actively learning more about each individual’s background. It is important that counselors take the initiative to understand the social context surrounding each client’s upbringing including familial dynamics since this can shape much of their identity later in life (Guzman 2020). Additionally recognizing one’s own biases against any particular group including racial/ethnic minorities is paramount so effective strategies can be implemented into therapy sessions specifically tailored for those individuals. Finally providing resources for connecting with local support networks consistent with clients’ traditions may prove instrumental when helping them navigate hardships associated with difficult circumstances throughout life (Ferrari 2012).

When it comes to counseling clients from native backgrounds common attitudes towards psychological services vary greatly between tribes due largely in part by differing views pertaining to mental health issues stemming miles apart geographically speaking (American Psychological Association 2017). In more rural areas stigma regarding treatment seeking persists which can create further challenges when attempting communication between counselor and client making trust building even more integral during these early stages especially if traditional healing remedies are not welcomed or accepted outright (American Psychological Association  2017). Therefore open dialogue regarding spirituality should also be encouraged since “for many indigenous peoples, spirituality has been historically connected closely with psychotherapy” offering potential paths toward personal growth beyond regular talk therapy sessions alone(Bennett & Sprott 2011 p 1) . Lastly some tribes view counseling as “an internal process rather than something done by someone else” advocating self-empowerment leading therapist facilitators towards ultimately relinquishing control allowing autonomy within therapeutic relationships whenever possible (Saveri 1997 p 13 ).

Overall undertaking this assignment allowed me greater access into perspectives outside my own expanding upon previously held assumptions concerning Native American culture thus enabling better care provision if ever called upon professionally. Allowing oneself opportunities such as Cultural Plunging will invariably yield superior results compared solely relying upon limited knowledge gleaned second hand meaning intentional research must occur regardless whether practiced informally through film analysis or formally via direct contact/interviews. By staying abreast continually on emerging trends relevant across all demographics anyone striving towards obtaining true cultural competency will experience exponential benefits far surpassing general understandings acquired passively elsewhere eventually maturing practitioners toward becoming proficient providers capable aiding others equipped fully capable addressing matters without prejudice yet furthermore incorporate nuances exclusive singularly restricted only few thereby completing journey becoming excellent counselors whom excel at delivering truly world class services guaranteed fit cosmopolitan demands present day society increasingly requires moving forward together henceforth beneficially benefiting us all .

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