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     Consider the intern’s communication in The Impact of Diversity and analyze how her communications may have been perceived by the Gonzalez family

    Psychology homework help

     Communication Styles

    Referring to your reading and the presentation The Impact of Diversity, prepare a post that completes the following:

    Discuss the centrality of communication (verbal and non-verbal) in counseling with diverse clients. Briefly define proxemics, kinesics, paralanguage, and high-low context communication.

    Consider the intern’s communication in The Impact of Diversity and analyze how her communications may have been perceived by the Gonzalez family (for example, quietly jotting notes on a clipboard, refusing a refreshment).

    How could increased awareness of cultural considerations related to ethnicity and economic resources improve the counseling intern’s interactions with and understanding of the Gonzalez family?

    Communication Styles



    You are a Caucasian intern, raised in a middle-class, primarily white suburb of Milwaukee. You are placed in the inner-city school, where you are exposed for the first time to minorities. You work with students who are having difficulties in school or have excessive absences. You are allowed to make home visits when contact by phone is not possible. One of your first such visits is to the Gonzales’ home, in a barrio on the outskirts of town, to find out more about Anna, an 8-year-old. As you approach the address, you begin to feel anxiety and trepidation. Graffiti and boarded up or dilapidated homes are everywhere. At Anna’s home, many children are playing outside in the dirt. Although they are carefree and apparently content, you question whether this environment is adequate. You also note how shabbily they are all dressed. As you approach the door, an older child, about 12, asks who you are. You tell him that you are here as a representative of the school and wish to speak to Mrs. Gonzales. At that moment a matronly, Hispanic woman approaches the door. Her hands are covered with flour, and the smell of tortillas is in the air. She seems hesitant to speak, but motions you in to sit down. She offers you a beverage, but you decline because you are worried about germs.

    The home is sparsely decorated, but it does seem fairly clean. Nonetheless, you feel uncomfortable. When you ask about Anna, she takes you into one of the bedrooms in the small duplex. Anna is sleeping at one end of the bed. The older boy says that Anna has been ill these last few weeks and has been sleeping a great deal. The local health clinic diagnosed her as anemic. She was told to rest and to take iron pills that it provided. You notice that this room is cluttered and ask who else sleeps here. The boy states that Anna shares this room with her five younger siblings. You are struck by the fact that there is only one bed. You quickly conclude that this family is enmeshed and needs help with boundaries. You also wonder whether Anna has been undernourished due to improper cooking. You write your assessments on the referral form and leave abruptly.

    The next day, your supervisor calls you in to discuss this assessment. She asks that you expand on your comment about, quote, an enmeshed family with no boundaries-unquote. You explain your observations. She gently chides you for lack of sensitivity to diversity issues and proceeds to explain that this family is not enmeshed, but just too poor to afford a larger home or more beds. She provides insight into cultural and socioeconomic issues you had not been aware of before. You are visibly upset. She comforts you, and says: That is why you are here-to learn!

    How might you feel in this situation? How could this have been handled differently?


    Read each question. Select all of the options that apply to you.

    Question 1

    What observations might prompt you to be more frightened, friendly, open, or intimidated?

    · Appearance of the homes and neighborhood.

    · Condition of clothing worn by the neighborhood children.

    · Mrs. Gonzales’ accent.

    · The family’s sleeping conditions.

    Feedback: Be aware of the individual’s surroundings and how you personally react to them. Then, pay attention to those feelings and where they come from. Are they the result of what you are actually observing, what you are feeling, or are they the result of personal experiences? It is helpful to stay focused on the behaviors you observe, as our fears can interfere and influence our perception of a situation.

    Question 2

    Which of the following cognitions or attributions about the individual’s behavior might be factors as you reflect on this scenario?

    · Skin color

    · Language

    · Education

    · Cleanliness

    As you review these cognitions or attributions, which ones impact you personally? Ask yourself about your feelings or what you have learned about these cognitions or attributes. How can you become comfortable with your own fear of the unknown and avoid focusing only on what is familiar?

    Question 3

    Do you think these individuals may be reacting to you differently because of diversity issues?

    · Yes, they are reacting to me differently because of my diversity.

    · Yes, they are reacting to me differently because of their diversity.

    · No, they are reacting to me differently because of my diversity.

    · No, they are reacting to me differently because of their diversity.

    Feedback: We forget that we each have our own diversity issues and it is easy to forget how others view us. We only think that there is one view–ours. It is important to consider how individuals see us and how this can get in the way of developing positive relationships. Once we are accepting of each other’s cognitions and attributes we can develop a successful working relationship.

    Question 4

    What did you learn about yourself by completing this activity?

    · I have a limited view of socioeconomic realities.

    · I have a naive and unrealistic view of other cultures than my own.

    · I have an opportunity to learn something new about a culture.

    · I have an opportunity to learn something new about myself.

    Feedback: Often we are stuck in our own culture and the values by which we were raised. We learn about our fears concerning differences, but we must also learn how to change those fears.

    Question 5

    What changes would you make concerning your behavior after completing this activity?

    · Maintain a nonjudgmental view of individuals’ economic positions.

    · Realize that often individuals make the best possible decisions in their given situation and challenges.

    · Analyze whether basic needs are being met.

    · Give perspective to the situation by placing oneself in the position of the individuals.

    Feedback: As you learn about individuals and their unique cultures, you will also learn more about yourself. In the end, you will develop relationships that focus on change and what is better for your patient or client.


    · From ALLE-CORLISS/ALLE-CORLISS. Human Service Agencies, 2E. © 2006 Wadsworth, a part of Cengage Learning,Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission. Text/images may not be modified or reproduced in any way without prior written permission of the publisher. www.cengage.com/permissions


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