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The Problem with Colorblindness in Pastoral Counseling

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
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A Better Response

Being part of the helping profession can be a truly rewarding experience, as it us to have the privilege of being invited into a person’s world to witness triumphant moments and challenging times. Although there are many great therapeutic techniques to help people, I strongly believe that the simple use of empathy can be the most powerful. With empathy, helpers are able to help many people process what’s happening in their life and learn to help themselves. Empathy is so important as it shows a person that I am able to understand why a certain experience is causing or will cause a strong impact in one’s life. Empathy is the cornerstone for me as a counselor and a vital tool for acknowledgement and validation.

My hope is for you to be mindful and aware of how colorblindness can impact your reactions and interfere with your ability to use empathy as you minister to others. Providing empathic responses to others while acknowledging race and ethnicity would look like, “You felt singled out as an Asian woman, and I can hear the hurt and pain that this has caused you.” It would also look like, “You already have a lot on your plate to manage at work and at home, but on top of all of that you feel like being Latina causes others to view you differently.” Or perhaps it will look like, “You wanted to stand up for yourself in that situation, but you weren’t sure what to do or what to say, because you have learned that if you speak your mind you might be viewed as ‘the angry black man’ and then you’d have even more of a headache to do with.

July03, 2017 at 10:15 AM

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