Developing Multicultural Intelligence for Effective Counselling of Substance Abusers

Culturally diverse clients encounter language barriers when accessing counseling services for drug addiction. It is worth noting that many patients come from minority communities whose English is a Second Language (ESL). Communicating both objectively and subjectively presents challenges that the victims face (Erford & Hays, 2018). For example, migrants from Latin America, including Brazilians, Venezuelans, and Colombians, depict language variances that affect their understanding of the English language.

Most fundamentally, the language barrier adversely affects accessibility to professional counseling services. As a result, culturally diverse clients avoid counseling services from certified practitioners. It is objective for licensed practitioners to enhance their communication abilities with such clients. Success in counseling services is determined by the efficient sharing of information between an expert and the patient.

Additionally, culturally diverse clients face treatment fears, as evidenced in everyday scenarios. For instance, victims of drug addiction develop anxiety and judgmental thoughts regarding the perceptions of a practitioner. Some consider avoiding a therapy process for fear of being negatively judged for specific outcomes. Social stigma also constitutes treatment fears that culturally diverse individuals encounter (Erford & Hays, 2018). Public members, including neighbors, schoolmates, and friends, associate mental assistance with uncontrollable behavior entailing violence. These situations keep addicts of substance abuse away from seeking professional help due to hostilities encountered in public contexts. Most importantly, culturally diverse persons find psychological care highly inaccessible as a result of associated social stigma.

Individuals with distinct cultural values also encounter accessibility challenges to professional help due to unwillingness for self-disclosure. This is a common practice in which clients seeking mental health experts are encouraged to share their past encounters for objective future decision-making (Erford & Hays, 2018).

In this context, drug addicts can hide information concerning their frequency of use or channels of financing substance abuse. Communicating information regarding previous experiences or situations resulting from drug addiction is encounters cultural barriers as evidenced among clients. Some prefer keeping certain information private as it may alter a counseling procedure from committed experts (Erford & Hays, 2018). The language barrier, social stigma causing treatment fears, and incomprehensive self-disclosure affect accessibility levels of counseling services among drug addicts.

Counselors need to consider objective integration of spiritual identity development among victims of drug addiction. Non-religious settings constitute individuals with different spiritual identities. For example, modern multicultural societies contain Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus. A counselor working in a neutral public context away from places of worship should remain open to varying spiritual identity (Erford & Hays, 2018). Consequently, it is fundamental for professionals to consider a source of inner strength to individuals. People gain conviction and commitment to achievement through constant prayers and success wishes from fellow followers.

Spiritual identity is vital for motivating transformational change even during advanced stages. Individuals suffering from substance abuse can obtain valuable skills required to maintain adaptation. The level of conviction and commitment to purpose is enhanced through worshipping means, including signing, communal praying, and best wishes (Erford & Hays, 2018). Counselors can adapt polite, relevant, and respectful therapeutic models for assessing spiritually sensitive clients.

Spiritual identity development can be applied to victims of drug addiction in sustaining change in social behavior. A counselor can identify valuable skills or knowledge sources that resonate with the religious beliefs of a client. For instance, most religions advocate for forgiveness, and individuals are encouraged to forget events that cause conflicts. This value can be applied to drug addicts when convincing them to focus on the future. Similarly, religious practices enabling thoughtful selection of friends can also be used to victims of drug abuse (Erford & Hays, 2018).

This is a practice that is carefully guided among significant religions. Followers are warned against developing friendships that motivate sin or social crimes. In this context, a patient is motivated to commit behavioral change away from substance abuse using spiritual identity development. The religious conviction depicted in maintaining the values allows counselors to adopt therapeutic procedures with positive outcomes.

Counselors encounter ethical challenges when providing services on social justice. The difficulties experience occurs at both personal and professional levels. For example, female professionals find it challenging to provide therapeutic assistance to a teenager contemplating dropping out of school. The counselor, in this context, faces an ethical challenge of explaining specific social phenomena attributed to gender (Erford & Hays, 2018). Male experts would be best suitable to work on such a client due to similar experiences as the patient.

Similarly, the same female counselor might face ethical challenges at professional levels when applying therapeutic models. These frameworks constitute well-thought and careful words aimed to convince a client concerning social judgment. The expert might use a gentle approach that might fail to transform a victim’s perception concerning social behavior. Personal and professional challenges against effective counseling can affect the performance or competence of social justice counselors. Experts ensure objectivity when providing psychological assistance to mentally ill patients.

Working with clients requires cultural and emotional intelligence from the expert. Victims of drug abuse, in this case, are patients who require the right therapy to change their social behavior. Counselors need to consider the morals and ethics needed for enhancing a therapeutic procedure. For instance, capitalizing on a spiritual identity development is strategic in developing a conceptual framework of convincing an individual to stop substance abuse (Erford & Hays, 2018). The benefits associated with such models entail time effectiveness, favorable outcomes, and cost optimization among patients. Counselors should, however, avoid imposing personal values or case studies that have worked for other clients.

Each case is perceived as unique hence relevant models are considered for consistency and reliability. Consequences of imposing one’s belief on a patient include hostility and rejection to any treatment process. Victims might become angry and agitated when insensitive comparisons are integrated into the therapy (Erford & Hays, 2018). Violence can erupt cause both physical and emotional harm to participants. As a result, it is fundamental for counselors to ensure precision and accuracy when developing treatment procedures against substance abuse.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community depict higher rates of substance abuse than their counterparts. This phenomenon is attributed to discriminative practices based on sexual orientation among individuals (Erford & Hays, 2018). In essence, victims encountering distinct levels of social segregation display high stress levels. For instance, gay students in higher learning institutions within conservative communities experience frequent abuse from classmates and locals. Transgender and queer persons are also perceived with negativity and discrimination from friends and close relatives.

These acts of segregating an LGBTQ member collectively result in high levels of stress and depression (Erford & Hays, 2018). It results in disproportionately higher rates of substance abuse as they also become victims of drug addiction. Frequent social abuse based on both race and sexual orientation compounds adverse impacts among drug addicts. Abuse is common across online and social media platforms where public members gather for social topics as internet users.

Social stigma also contributes to high rates of substance abuse among LGTBQ members. This takes place in public vicinities, including schools, hospitals, and recreational facilities. Individuals are discriminated against based on a variety of attributes. As highlighted above, race and gender comprise the primary source of segregation among minority populations (Erford & Hays, 2018). Most critically, the high rate of substance abuse results when social stigma extends to professional experts, including counselors and psychologists. It is relatively easy for substance abuse victims with LGBTQ status to avoid professional counseling due to adverse perceptions among experts.

For example, stereotyping clients based on race is a negative observation of clients as it can interfere with the practice implementation of a therapeutic process. In addition, judging a character distorted by drug addiction due to unique sexual identity hampers objective integration of therapeutic models among patients in need of assistance (Erford & Hays, 2018). This limits access to vital assistance intended to transform behavior at a personal level. Discriminating against individuals with unique sexual identities reduces their confidence and optimism in accessing quality medical care from providers.

Assessing a client also requires objective consideration of attributes that identify social class or status. The income-earning category of a victim of substance abuse identifies a useful social class vital for providing expert services. In essence, individuals with low incomes encounter financial challenges, including access to medical services in health institutions (Erford & Hays, 2018). Unemployment is also common in such residences as most individuals lack the required academic and professional qualifications. Participating in drug abuse is widespread among these demographics and is used to reduce stress levels.

However, the prevalent use of drugs results in related criminal activities, including burglary, bank robberies, and street mugging. Subsequently, a competitive counselor should consider income earning level before developing a therapeutic model of assisting victims suffering from substance abuse (Erford & Hays, 2018). Adverse outcomes are possible if experts adopt a standard framework for helping clients with drug addiction. They mainly include rejection and hostility aimed at refusing interaction with a counselor.

Ethnicity also describes a vital social class that affects the outcomes of client assessments by experts. Ethnic minorities constitute a vulnerable population that encounters varying atrocities. For instance, immigrants from Latin America experience high substance abuse rates due to political oppression from their homeland authorities. Similarly, refugees from the Middle East and Central Asia also face military atrocities due to ongoing military encounters in their nations (Erford & Hays, 2018).

These individuals result in abusing drugs as a means of forgetting trauma experienced while fleeing conflict zones. Counselors need to put this element of social class into consideration to ensure successful interaction with a client. Minority populations require an informed understanding of reasons provided as justifications for drug addiction. These reasons allow counselors to identify tactical approaches to developing therapeutic models that work with victims of substance abuse.


Erford, B. T., & Hays, D. G. (2018). Developing multicultural counseling competence (3rd ed.). Pearson.

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