Personal Identity and Professional Development

Exploring the Intersection of Personal Identity and Professional Development

Discussion Context

Have you ever heard someone use a “color-blind” reference when the topic of cultural differences comes up? The idea that we are all the same that speaks to our shared humanity, regardless of our biopsychosocial characteristics; while this is true at some level, on other levels the idea that a counselor could take a “color-blind” approach to counsel is problematic. While the intention may be to focus on equality and all that we hold in common as people, the danger is in failing to recognize and account for the impact of our biopsychosocial characteristics on our experiences. Identity is a complex phenomenon and each one of us possesses a range of biopsychosocial characteristics such as gender, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, and cognitive and physical abilities that impact how we view ourselves and how we are viewed. In fact, aspects of our identity such as being able-bodied, young, or straight may result in automatic or unearned privileges. And, at the same time, other aspects of our identity such as being brown, female, or Jewish may result in our marginalization.

Discussion Prompt

The Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (MCSJCC, 2015) presents a conceptual framework that calls attention to “the intersection of identities and the dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression that influence the counseling relationship” (p. 3). As you become familiar with these competencies, you will want to consider areas for development you are eager to explore, as well as areas for development that you may feel hesitant about or even resistant to considering. Your site supervisor at Riverbend City has pointed out to you the importance for counseling interns to really take an opportunity to honestly examine these areas of personal awareness.

Your initial post for this discussion should address two main parts, personal reflection and MAKSS reflection. Both these parts will help you to prepare for the Unit 2 assignment.

Part 1: Personal Reflection

For this part of the discussion:

Consider your own biopsychosocial characteristics and how more visible or salient aspects of your identity have resulted in experiences of affirmation or marginalization.
Reflect on your reaction to exploring the impact of your biopsychosocial characteristics on your own and your family’s experience (for example, what feelings come up as you consider the ways in which you have been privileged or marginalized?).

Part 2: MAKSS Reflection

Discuss the experiences you have lived. Referencing the results from the MAKSS and the MCSJCC, explain what this means for your development of awareness, knowledge, and skill (referencing the MCSJCC).
Explain which perspective of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral resistance aligns most with your reactions to exploring diversity topics?
It may be helpful to refer to the three possible areas of resistance in multicultural training identified by Sue and Sue (2016): cognitive resistance, emotional resistance, and behavioral resistance.
Discuss the implications of emotional reactions in clinical practice and identify at least two of the strategies for managing emotional reactions that will be important to your professional development.

Brief Summary About Me

After my mother’s death I was adopted by my aunt. I grew up in an African American, low income, family in the city of Detroit, MI. A big factor in our family was religion, which was Christianity. I struggled with acceptance. My aunt and I did not have a close relationship. She focused on building stronger bonds with her biological children while neglecting my emotional and mental needs. The lack of family support encouraged me to focus on educational goals. I graduated from high school, second in my class, and attend an HBCU which helped me form my identity and learn more about my culture while providing me with a quality education.
Although African Americans still face inequality, I feel as if I was privileged. Surviving an harsh childhood, influence me to strive for better. Many opportunities have presented themselves to help me to become the person I am today based on the effective choices I have made for myself. Observing, my culture entirely, I feel marginalized due to the oppression that African Americans face as a whole.
An experience that I have encounter, referring to the MAKSS assessment, is the lost of my mother. As a child, I had extremely limited knowledge about counseling. After receiving counseling, I gain some insight about the effects of counseling which has influenced my reasoning to pursue an education in this field.

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