Counselling Dilemma: A Multicultural Issue in a Relationship
An Asian couple has been referred to a counsellor for marriage guidance. The impact of migrating to Australia has taken its toll on their relationship. In the session, the husband seems quite controlled and reserved, whereas the wife cries often but says little. The counsellor is a novice in the area of multicultural difference, but has just completed some workshops in multicultural counselling. The counsellor has learned that in Asian cultures, restraint of strong feelings is considered to be a sign of maturity, too much talking is viewed as impolite, and the husband is usually the more dominant member of the couple.
Conscious of these cultural differences, the counsellor avoids talking too much and attempts to refer to the husband for most of the exchange. The counsellor is also conscious of their silence and wishes not to be disrespectful by challenging the couple to open up further. As a result however, the counsellor himself feels uncomfortable and stifled, and useless as a counsellor.
If you were confronted with this dilemma, how would you deal with this couple?