Counselor Know Thyself:
Implicit Biases in a Diverse and Multicultural World
“As humans, we all have personal biases, meaning that we may view a group of people as more favorable or less favorable than others. Many novice, and even seasoned therapists/counselors, have difficulty working with certain populations, such as individuals who physically and/or sexually abuse animals or children, individuals who have committed murder, individuals with uncommon sexual desires, individuals with multiple wives, individuals who abuse substances, children who have been sexually abused, women who stay in domestic violence relationships, transgender individuals, individuals with severe psychosis, etc. These biases come from our own experiences, the way we were brought up, what we see on television and other messages we’re given by society. Counselors are humans, and so every counselor has personal biases. If you say that you don’t, you’re simply not yet aware of your biases. I want you to think about a group of individuals that you may feel uncomfortable being around, or providing therapeutic services to.”
Identify a conscious or unconscious bias when counseling diverse populations.
Be specific and address the following questions:
1. What personal bias (es) can you identify in yourself?
2. What makes you feel uncomfortable working with the identified population?
3. Describe any past personal experiences you’ve had that might contribute to your bias. (Only disclose what you are comfortable).
4. What messages have you learned/received from your family, society, or other sources?
5. How do you feel sharing this bias?