In this second blog, we will discuss counseling considerations for Latino clients.
Please note that these blog entries are not meant to cover all facets of multiculturalism, but rather to provide some useful information to give you a “head start” in your counseling career. Also, another important thing to remember is that minority groups are heterogeneous. For example, Latinos can be Mexican, Cuban, Spanish or Puerto Rican. Therefore, these are things that are likely to be true, but, as with other categories in counseling, it is dangerous to make assumptions.
The Latino family is very strong, and they rely on each other for support and strength. Familismo is a Latino cultural value where family relationships are highly valued, and individual identity is seen as a product of these relationships. Because of this, family counseling is generally recommended (Bean, Perry & Bedell, 2001).
Latinos generally have strongly defined sex roles based on cultural values. These values are particularly salient in the family counseling process. They are as follows:
Machismo – men are expected to be strong, dominant, and provide for the family
Marianismo- women are expected to be nurturing, submissive to male and have selfless devotion to children
Latinos with low levels of acculturation will tend to hold these values more strongly. Thus, when doing family counseling, it is important to assess the level of acculturation. It may be beneficial to address the father first in families with low acculturation.
Families with differing levels of acculturation may have conflict. For example, if the woman is more acculturated, she may start to take on the Euro-American value of independence. This can cause great anxiety in the male, who is used to being in charge. It is important that Latino women striving for independence be apprised of this possible ramification.
In my next blog entry, we will look at more counseling considerations for Latino clients.
Yours in the Joy of Knowledge,
Bean, R. A., Perry, B. J., Bedell, T. M. (2001). Developing culturally competent marriage and family therapists: Guidelines for working with Hispanic families. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 27(1), 43 54.
Sue, W. G., & Sue, D. (2008). Counseling the Culturally Diverse.
Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.