Culturally Responsive Counseling

Novatu Counseling and Assessment seeks to provide culturally responsive counseling for all clients. We are dedicated to a life-long commitment of developing cultural humility by consistently engaging in self-reflection and self-understanding. We seek to develop an accurate view of self while being constantly curious to learn from others, value others and respond from a place of genuineness and authenticity. We know we don’t know everything so we regularly engage in cultural education; while seeking to truly understand how our client’s social identities interact and influence their perception of distress.

Novatu therapists recognize that our own values, schemas, worldview and upbringing may influence our client’s perception, rapport or trust in us so we are in an evolving cycle of reassessment. Everyone has behaviors and makes decisions that may be rooted in cultural values and beliefs. Novatu’s philosophy seeks to create an integrative environment that considers differences in cultures from the first phone call to the last session. We aren’t perfect, but we do our best to acknowledge what’s going on in the world and not make assumptions about our clients.

We understand that emotionally charged conversations occur in session and that clinicians who prepare appropriately for sessions, are well supported, continuously being educated, feel that their coworkers create a collegial and safe place to consult when needed are more successful and happier. This in turn results in increased feelings of safety for clients and increased success in client’s meeting their goals. Dr. Orndorff encourages all Novatu Counseling and Assessment clinicians to push past their own comfort zone, seek cultural humility and aim to provide culturally responsive counseling.

So how do you know that your therapist is providing culturally responsive counseling?

Seeking to provide our clients with a safe and comfortable environment while establishing a therapeutic rapport with their therapist, as counseling professionals, we understand that being multiculturally competent is the first skill in building this connection. However, to an untrained eye, it may be difficult to determine whether or not your therapist is providing culturally responsive counseling. Here are 5 tips for identifying if your therapist is practicing as a culturally responsive therapist.

1. Acknowledgment of current events happening in the world

Yes, practicing immediacy is always important during a counseling session. Bringing attention to topics occurring outside of the session allows for the therapist to check in with the client, to see how they are faring with what is going on. This is also a great opportunity to open up the lines of communication, strengthening the therapeutic relationship.

2. Not making assumptions

It is easy to assume whether someone is doing fine or not, neglecting how they truly feel about a certain topic. Your therapist should be eager to assist you in processing your feelings by being intentional about not categorizing your experience with others.

3. Recognition of your uniqueness

Respecting and appreciating others by who they identify as allows for seeing multiple ways of how the world is viewed. An open-minded therapist provides opportunities for the client to show how their needs and social identities form their way of viewing the world.

4. Inclusivity by words and actions

One’s culture should be considered throughout the entire counseling relationship. Therapists who are tolerant acknowledge the differences between them and their clients. A therapist who accounts for their client’s social identity and cultural background when forming their conceptualization is practicing inclusivity. Therapists who demonstrate integration will practice tolerance and inclusion along with representing different cultures and languages in their office.

5. Consideration of your values

A culturally responsive therapist will consider how the client’s decisions and behaviors are guided by their morals, worldview, values and upbringing.