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Counseling Asian American Clients

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It has been a known fact that Asia is the largest continent in the world comprising of almost all of the countries located in the Far East, each having their own cultures, traditions and beliefs.  While there are a number of shared customs and beliefs such as giving high regard for the family elders and for females to remain submissive, quiet and not to divulge their feelings and emotions (Baruth & Manning 2003), the amount of variations between the beliefs, traditions and customs of individuals with Asian descent still outweigh the similarities.

            It is for this reason that I agree with the authors that when multicultural counselors conduct sessions with Asian American patients, they should not and cannot generalize their approach methods for each and every Asian American patient seeking for counseling (Baruth & Manning 2003).  Because of the diversity of the cultures observed among Asians Americans, generalizing one’s approaches towards counseling Asian American would actually cause many of these patients unable to attain the help that they need because of walls between the multicultural counselor and the patient that the former has not been able to go through.

            A perfect example would be a counseling session by a male multicultural counselor between say a female Asian American of Chinese descent and one that is of Malaysian descent.  In these situations, the likelihood of the female Asian American of Malaysian descent would less likely be able to be comfortable conversing and opening up with the male multicultural counselor compared to the female of Chinese descent.  This is because although both cultures mandate that females should remain submissive and timid, the restrictions imposed by Malay culture is more restrictive as compared to Chinese culture because apart from local traditions, the female of Malay descent is also bounded by the religious restrictions mandated by the Muslim faith.


Baruth, G. & Manning, M. L.  (2003).  Multicultural counseling and psychotherapy.  New

            Jersey: Prentice Hall.

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