DSST fundamentals of counseling

Developing knowledge and understanding an exercise

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Developing knowledge and understanding An exercise, which can be used to gain knowledge and understanding of difference, is a role play exercise adapted from a conference workshop run by Jackson (1995). The exercise requires a training group of three people, approximately two hours when these three people can work together on this exercise, a suitable room and some individual research time. Jackson identified two main purposes of the exercise: First, to develop empathic understanding by enabling you to attempt to discover what it might feel like to be a person who comes from a different background. Second, to enable you to begin to identify some practice guidelines that counsellors might follow to enhance their effectiveness with clients who are different from them- selves. In preparation for the role-play, select someone from a culturally different group about which feel you are currently ignorant or have an inadequate understanding but would like to gain a more thorough understanding. It is important to define `culturally' in this context in the broadest possible sense (that is, to include social class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, etc.). As thoroughly as time permits, research the background of the people who come from that background. The research process should harness a range of resources, including someone from your chosen group. Once the individual research has been completed, the training process involves working in your training group for approximately one and a half hours. During this time each member of the group will perform in turn tasks related to the three roles of client, counselor and observer.
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Client: for approximately fifteen minutes, you have an opportunity to be a person from a group that is culturally different from your own. Come prepared to present a problem or concern to a counselor or health professional who would like to help you. Identify some realistic concern that the person you have chosen actually has had or might reasonably be expected to have. Counselor: you will be asked by a 'client' to help resolve some difficulty that will be presented to you. If you wish, you may ask your 'observer' for ideas and suggestions on how to proceed. Observer: you will be available to the counselor to offer ideas and suggestions. After the role play, you will lead the feedback session which should identify the most helpful statements or actions performed by the counselor. Suggested guidelines: Introductions: as client, introduce yourself to your two colleagues (the name of your person along with relevant cultural information). (2/3 minutes in total) Role play: conduct a brief counseling session in which the client presents a concern and the counselor attempts to be as helpful as possible. (Approximately 15 minutes) Feedback: review the session with the purpose of identifying the most helpful actions.
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