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A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Reboot to reconnect: Culturally sensitive approaches to career counselling and techniques for re-engagement.

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Presentation on theme: "A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Reboot to reconnect: Culturally sensitive approaches to career counselling and techniques for re-engagement."— Presentation transcript:

1 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Reboot to reconnect: Culturally sensitive approaches to career counselling and techniques for re-engagement 15 th March Session 2 (1.00 to 4.00)

2 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) What is culture?  a way of life  of a group of people  practiced generally without thinking about them  passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next

3 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) What is culture? The sum of total of the learned behavior of a group of people Considered to be the tradition of that people Culture distinguishes the members of one group of people from another Culture by itself is amoral; cultural practices by are large are not right or wrong

4 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Culture cumulative deposit of knowledge and experience acquired over generations Concepts of the universe Notions of time Hierarchies Attitudes Beliefs and values External symbols Roles and expectations Meaning of work

5 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Until recently... Prosperity was achieved by engaging with work in a specifically defined, socially approved manner: Educational qualifications Job applications Recruitment procedures Job responsibilities Performance appraisals Promotions Stability Durability Long term Qualifications Persistence Personal Responsibility

6 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) …what are they saying today? I don’t want to be like my mum. Thinks she’s liberated. Works so hard. But she’s dead when she gets home. Irritable. Not fun anymore. I would find her life boring. But it’s my life. 14 year old girl, Portsmouth (UK). Everything is changing. I don’t know if what I study will be relevant to the job market. It is better just to wait and see. 18 year old girl, Hanoi (Vietnam). There are high paying jobs available in the BPO sector for which you must know only how to speak English. So that’s what I’m going to do… and I will stop going to college. 18 year old boy, Bangalore, India. …one job…for a LIFE time… no way! 16 year old boy, Portsmouth (UK). When my family immigrated to Australia, we were promised jobs. It’s ‘their’ responsibility to support us... Anyways there’s always the dole. 19 year old girl, Melbourne, Australia.

7 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) “Commitment…that’s so not me” What else is there? What’s around the corner? Hang loose. Wait and see. I must get a prestigious job It’s their responsibility. We’re free to change.

8 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) The Multicultural context Work today occurs within a context that is populated by individuals from varied cultural, socio-economic and religious backgrounds. Patterns of immigration over many decades and the forces globalisation over the recent past have led to multicultural societies becoming a strongly present reality today. Young people in multicultural contexts are often under the influence of multiple social and cultural factors when they begin to consider career development. What is often expressed as ‘boredom’ could reflect their disengagement from ‘prescribed’ modes of career development.

9 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) The Multicultural context There is a higher likelihood of counsellor and counselee coming from differing cultural backgrounds, each influenced and guided by their own beliefs and ways of living. Individualism – collectivism: Career decision- making could reflect strong community orientations with a preference for co-operative decision-making A ‘respectable’ career: The attitudes of prestige, social status can be carried over from ‘home’ Transmission of attitudes: Career beliefs could be passed on from one generation to another

10 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) The Multicultural context It is essential in that counsellors are particularly sensitive to cultural factors (their own as well, as those of their clients), that could influence the career counselling process. It is here that I would like to introduce the notion of cultural preparedness.

11 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Excerpt from case notes This was an interaction with a young woman working as a Call Centre Agent in one of the most well known Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies in Bangalore (an Indian city that has become well known for its computer industry). She came from a traditional Indian middle class home and had Grown up in an urban environment. She was 24 years old and held A bachelor’s degree in commerce. She had enrolled for a master’s degree but had discontinued the course in favour of taking up this job. Here are excerpts from my first (and only) session with her.

12 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Excerpt from case notes Client: Some my friends have come to you for help to leave their job as call centre operators. But I don’t want to leave. I am happy with the job. I earn well. I want to know how to come up in this job and reach the top in this job. Counsellor: How have you done at your job so far? Client: Average. I should have risen higher by now, but I am more or less where I started. That’s why I have come to you. Counsellor: Tell me more... Client: The performance appraisal that my company did said that my mother tongue influence is still high. Also sometimes, I get irritated with the caller.

13 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Excerpt from case notes Counsellor: When you get irritated what happens? Client: My supervisor says that the tone of my voice changes and shows my irritation. Counsellor: What makes you irritated? Client: I don’t like answering only to people’s complaints. The whole time I have to listen to someone from another country and listen to their problems and complaints. Counsellor: Were you aware that this is what the job was about, when you applied for the job? Client: Yes. And I want to learn how to do better at this job.

14 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Excerpt from case notes Counsellor: The most important requirements of your present job seem to bring out the worst side of your personality. Client: If a job doesn’t fit, the person must be changed. That’s why I am here. You are a psychologist. You know how to change my personality to suit my job requirement. Anyway why are you asking me so many questions? I thought you had answers, not questions. Counsellor: Changing a person’s personality is difficult and most often not necessary. Do you think your irritability would reduce if you went for a different kind of job? Client: I can’t leave this job. I can’t quit. If you can’t help me change my personality, then I will go to some other expert.

15 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Excerpt from case notes Counsellor: Do you know of any one who can do that? Client: Yes! There are many experts. I know an astrologer who can do that. Our own family priest I am sure can help me. I thought since you are a behavioural scientist you would know best. Counsellor: I can only help you learn to help yourself. I do believe that you can learn to help yourself. What this means is that I am willing to work with you, but you are the one who is really at the centre of our interactions. Think about what I have said and let me know if you would like to continue.

16 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Excerpt from case notes The session ended on this note. The client did not return. As a part of routine follow up the client was contacted by telephone about a month after the session. She reported that she had indeed visited her astrologer. He, through his divinations had found that she was unsuited for the job that she held! He had advised her to look for another job! My client took his advice, found employment as a receptionist in a hotel and was now quite happy!

17 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) A theoretical construct Cultural Preparedness

18 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Cultural Preparedness Necessary and sufficient conditions? Methods of counselling that emerged in the West were created by members of this culture in response to needs expressed from within this culture. Developed by a people, for a people with certain orientations. The creators of the service as well as the consumers of the service were culturally prepared in a similar manner to offer and partake of the service. They share a similar vocabulary of values and cherish a particular approach to life. At a very fundamental level, the counsellor and counselee, in the West, share a cultural heritage that has prepared them over a period of time to engage with each other in a mutually compatible manner.

19 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Cultural Preparedness Necessary and sufficient conditions? Against this background of cultural preparedness, conditions could be created for a particular approach to counselling that were necessary and sufficient for that context. The key point to be noted is that the same conditions may be neither necessary nor sufficient for a people who have different cultural heritage. A counselling approach that is empirical and individualistic in its orientation, for example, may not find resonance amongst a people whose culture has prepared them over the ages to approach their existence in an intuitive, experiential and community oriented manner.

20 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Cultural Preparedness Questions of relevance The counsellor in this interaction did not seem to match the client’s assumptions of what ‘counselling’ meant. Nor was the counsellor culturally prepared to meet the client’s expectations. The counsellor’s version of counselling belonged to a cultural framework that did not match the manner in which the client’s culture had prepared her to seek help. While I was ‘client centred’ and ‘unconditional’ in my practice, I had not exhibited these necessary and sufficient conditions in my actual conception of the totality of this individual. She was embedded in a culture that was different from the culture that had spawned the form of counselling I was trained to administer. I could (and did) of course say that the ‘suitability’ of this client was low for counselling… and soothed my smarting self-esteem that she would choose an astrologer over me!

21 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Cultural Preparedness Questions of relevance What I failed to consider was the possibility that it was in fact the suitability of my form of counselling that was low for her. It also dawned upon me that my client did in fact receive ‘counselling’ from her astrologer. This form of counselling did not have its cultural orientation in the tenets of Western psychology. It was rooted in Indian tradition – a tradition of which both the counsellor (astrologer) and counselee were a part. In other words the ‘counsellor’ in this situation delivered a form of counselling for which the young lady was culturally prepared.

22 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Cultural Preparedness Questions of relevance Could the counsellor have been more effective in this situation? Would it have been possible to establish a counselling relationship with this young person on her terms, rather than on the terms dictated by the school of counselling to which the counsellor was committed?

23 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Social cognitive environments  Work occurs within a social context: a context characterised by patterns of beliefs and ways of thinking  Social cognitions (Bandura 1989) - patterns of beliefs that have become habitual across groups and guide the behaviour of individuals within that group - embedded in the relational process of social exchanges

24 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Social cognitive environments  Mind-sets engendered by social frames of reference give a particular colouring and interpretation to the meaning and purpose of work  Prevailing ideologies and community experiences cohere into a social-cognitive environment  Values – positive, neutral or negative – could be attributed to work in general and to specific occupational clusters

25 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Social cognitive environments  Increasingly clear that career development is not merely a function of the maturation and unfolding of personal interests and aptitudes  Personal attributes unfold within a certain social cognitive environment  The work ethic of this environment influences the manner in which personal attributes are linked to career development

26 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Career Beliefs  A conglomerate of attitudes, opinions, convictions that seem to cohere together to create mind-sets that underlie people’s orientation to the idea of a career  Can be so deeply ingrained that they may not be identified by their holders as beliefs, but held as unquestioned, self-evident truths  Exert a facilitative or inhibitive influence on individuals’ orientations to career goals

27 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Types of career beliefs Certain kinds of social-cognitive environments foster certain kinds of career beliefs: Proficiency Beliefs Control and Self Direction Beliefs Persistence Beliefs Culture and Common Practice Career Preparation Beliefs Caste Fatalism

28 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Proficiency Beliefs  Beliefs about the importance of acquiring qualifications and skills that enhance personal proficiency for an occupation before entering the world of work.  The willingness to submit to the rigors of a formal training programme  spend resources (time, effort and finances) to achieve the distinction of being formally qualified as per the stipulated norms of a society.

29 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Proficiency beliefs Type of groupPossible impact on career development Vulnerable groups: Low emphasis on acquiring work skills proficiencies Could be at risk to enter the world of work as unskilled labourer Middle class groups: Extraordinarily high emphasis on acquiring qualifications Willing to commit time and resource for acquiring proficiency; BUT could show a confusion between preparing for the world of work and acquiring qualifications

30 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Control and Self-Direction Beliefs Situations and experiences influence the direction that one’s life can take. This category of beliefs reflect the individual’s sense of control over his or her life situation and orientation to directing his or her life. Mind-sets in this category are linked to the career aspirant’s belief that he or she could deal with the exigencies presented by life situations and the orientation to direct and take charge of the way in which his or her life progresses. These beliefs reflect the confidence to manage the trajectory of one’s life.

31 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Control and Self-Direction Beliefs Type of groupPossible impact on career development Socio-economically vulnerable groups: Weak orientation to exercising self- direction over life trajectory; helplessness in the face of barriers Could view the future in terms of the deprivations experienced in their present situation; unable to grasp real opportunities, and take control of their lives Middle class groups: Stronger orientation to exercising self direction and creating opportunities; high motivation to engage with career development tasks Are likely to value and seek counselling and guidance services for career planning

32 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Persistence Beliefs Successful career development requires the individual to face and attempt to overcome difficulties and hurdles that punctuate progress toward a career goal. These beliefs reflect the determination to work toward future career goals in spite of difficulties and barriers encountered during the process of career preparation. Beliefs within this category reflect the resolve to persevere with determination toward career goals. These items also reflect a sense of purposefulness and resolve to strive for positive outcomes in the future.

33 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Persistence Beliefs Type of groupPossible impact on career development Socio-economically vulnerable groups: Persistence toward career goals is lower and less consistent; sacrifice long term goals to meet immediate needs in the here and now Career planning may not be perceived as relevant in a context where survival is still the foremost expectation from employment Middle class groups: Persistence toward career goals is higher and more consistent; planfulness and skills for goal setting are high Could be more willing to making long term career plans and face difficulties and barriers to the achievement of career objectives; have the necessary support to persevere toward career goals

34 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Career Preparation Beliefs Reflect an overall orientation to being able to prepare for a career. Beliefs related to personal ability for career preparation. Also link to the respondents’ self worth in relation to academic performance and career preparation.

35 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Culture and common practice Common practice and unwritten norms that orient the people of a community and shape their career preparation behaviour. e.g. - a positive moral value on hard work; - work has innate worth; pursue it for its own sake; - only immigrants do that kind of work. It is possible that while a person from a ‘lower caste’ may be able to break through the material disadvantages inflicted by caste, socio- cultural forces may continue to influence mind sets which in turn could have an impact on career preparation.

36 A workshop presented by Gideon Arulmani (2010) Theory to Practice Group 1:Proficiency Beliefs Group 2:Control and Self Direction Beliefs Group 3:Persistence Beliefs Group 4:Culture and Common Practice Group 5:Career Preparation Beliefs Activities: 1.Develop a short text, to introduce a client to the concept of career beliefs. 2.Develop a ‘Match the Following’ activity of 2 statements for each career belief to help a client distinguish between the 5 types of career beliefs. 3.Develop the following for the career belief assigned to you: a. Two questions that could be asked during an interview to help you understand a client’s career belief status. b.Responses that could be given to a client, who expresses the career belief assigned to you.


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