People from various ethnic groups are often pressured to give up their beliefs and ways in favor of adopting the ideals and customs of the dominant culture. What do you think your approach would be in working with clients who feel such pressure?

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Ideally, this client who feels pressure to give up her beliefs would live in a community with others sharing those same beliefs. It would be important to connect this client with a group where she could celebrate her culture within the framework of normalcy and not as a minority. This type of support would hopefully strengthen her feelings of self-worth and confidence when facing the beliefs of the cultural majority.

It would also be important to remind the client about those aspects of her culture which are important to her—and engage in ongoing conversations about why those beliefs are important. Conversations might include these topics:

  • mentors from within her family or culture
  • the purpose behind particular religious customs and practices
  • the traditions which are important to her culture

These central aspects of her culture, which have been foundational in shaping the client's character, should provide opportunities for meaningful introspection.

If the client's particular ethnic group isn't well represented in a particular area, it would then become even more important to help her remain connected to other family and friends from the same ethnic group. In today's modern society, she could even meet online for breakfast (albeit in different time zones) to share favorite family recipes at the same time as her family living elsewhere.

It might also help to encourage the client to openly share the beauties of her own culture in festivals, celebrations, and gatherings. Even bringing in a favorite homemade meal for coworkers could help to expand cultural awareness and inclusivity in the client's daily life.

Of course, it would also be important to validate the inherent difficulty in living as an ethnic minority, providing ample opportunities for the client to share her challenges and concerns.

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