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Chapter 10

SW 312 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Biculturalism, Ethnocentrism, Identified Patient


Department
Social Work
Course Code
SW 312
Professor
Richard Tyler- Walker, Jr.
Chapter
10

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Sue, D. W., Rasheed, M. N., & Rasheed, J. M. (2016). Multicultural family social
work interventions. Multicultural social work practice. (pp. 269-300).
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Chapter 10: Multicultural Family Social Work Interventions
Most racially/ethnically marginalized groups in our society are collectivistic in
orientation and use the family as the psychosocial unit of operation
Social workers need to understand the many differences across cultures in regard to how
the family is defined
Family Systems Approaches and Assumptions
Addresses many aspects of the family:
o Marital counseling and therapy
o Parent-child counseling or consultation
o Work with more than one member of the family
Main goal: to modify relationships within a family to achieve harmony
Based on several assumptions:
o It is logical and economical to work with all those who exist and operate within a
system of relationships at the same time (in most cases, the nuclear family is
implied)
o The problems of the “identified patient” are only symptoms, and the family itself
is the client
o All symptoms or problematic behaviors exhibited by a member of the family
serve a purpose
o The behaviors of family members are tied to one another in powerful, reciprocal
ways (circular causality is emphasized over linear causality)
o The task of the clinician is to modify relationships or improve communication
within the family system
The communication approach:
o Based on the assumption that family problems arise from communication
difficulties.
o Many communication problems are subtle and complex.
o The counselor’s role in repairing faulty communication is active but not
dominating.
The structural approach:
o Emphasizes the interlocking roles of family members
o Most families are constantly in a state of change
They are in the process of structuring and restructuring themselves into
systems and subsystems
Both approaches appear appropriate, and seem to:
o Highlight the importance of the family
o Focus on resolving concrete issues
o Be concerned with family structures and dynamics
o Assume that these family structures and dynamics are historically passed on from
one generation to another
o Attempt to understand the communication patterns and alliances via reframing
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Sue, D. W., Rasheed, M. N., & Rasheed, J. M. (2016). Multicultural family social
work interventions. Multicultural social work practice. (pp. 269-300).
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
o Place the counselor in an expert position
Family systems counselors tend to:
o Allow and encourage the free and open expression of emotions
o View each family member as having a right to be their unique self
o Strive for an equal division of labor among members of the family
o Consider egalitarian role relationships between spouses to be desirable
o Hold the nuclear family as the standard
These tendencies can cause ethnocentric problems in multicultural therapy environments
Issues in Working with Racial/Ethnic Minority Families
Racial/ethnic minority reality
o The racism and poverty that dominate the lives of people of color
o Lower family income, greater unemployment, more and more individuals and
families falling below the poverty line, etc.
o The field of social work has reinforced negative invisibility of POC
Conflicting value systems
o Causes great harm to culturally diverse individuals
o Many racially/ethnically marginalized groups in our society place greater value
on:
Families
Historical lineage
Interdependence among family members
Submergence of the self for the good of the family
Biculturalism and acculturation
o Biculturalism: how people of color in the U.S. inherit two different cultural
traditions
o The social worker must understand how biculturalism influences the structures,
communication, and dynamics of the family
o There are varying levels of acculturation within the family itself
o Acculturation: the interaction between the dominant culture and a nondominant
culture
o Children may be more oriented to the culture of the larger society, resulting in
acculturative tensions
This may lead to acculturative conflict within the family
Ethnic differences in minority status
o POC have been subjected to dehumanizing forces
Slavery
Racism
Colonialism
Immigration status
Refugee status
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