Assignment: Broaching Styles

Assignment: Broaching Styles

Assignment: Broaching Styles

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Class discussion: Broaching the Subjects of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture During the Counseling Process

Broaching is the counselor’s ability to consider how sociopolitical factors such as race influence the client’s counseling concerns. The counselor must learn to recognize the cultural meaning clients attach to phenomena and to subsequently translate that cultural knowledge into meaningful practice that facilitates client empowerment, strengthens the therapeutic alliance, and enhances counseling outcomes. A continuum of broaching behavior is described, and parallels are drawn between the progression of broaching behavior and the counselor’s level of racial identity functioning.

Cultural conflict and mistrust can stem from perceived insensitivity to the personal and cultural meaning of clients’ experiences, the consequence of which may be the underutilization of and premature departure from counseling services. Among white clients, the premature termination rate hovers around 30% compared with 50% for clients from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Broaching behavior refers to a consistent and ongoing attitude of openness with a genuine commitment by the counselor to continually invite the client to explore issues of diversity.

Five broaching styles:

(a) Avoidant = race-neutral perspective, argues that issues related to race and representation warrant little attention

(b) isolating = does broach issues of race and representation, albeit in a simplistic and superficial manner

(c) continuing/incongruent = anxious to consider cultural factors that influence the client’s concerns but may have a very limited skill set within which to fully explore issues of race and representation in a manner that empowers the client

(d) integrated/ congruent = broaching is not just a technique but represents a routine practice of considering how race shapes the client’s personal and sociopolitical experience

(e) (e) infusing = broaching operates as a lifestyle orientation that requires complex comprehension of sociopolitical issues and a commitment toward helping clients understand and reconcile the ramifications of race and representation

Discussion Question: How would each counseling style be reflected in a counselor’s approach to this student?

Maria Rodriguez is a first generation Latina college student who has sought services from the college counseling center because of difficulties getting acclimated to her freshman year. Maria is from a major metropolitan city and has received a prestigious scholarship to attend a small liberal arts institution several hours from her home. Maria has experienced difficulty with motivation, feels out of place in her new college environment, and recognizes that her grades are slipping rapidly. Concerned that her academic performance may jeopardize her ability to maintain her scholarship, Maria schedules an appointment in the college counseling center.

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