Issue of Social Class, Power and Privilege

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When exploring what power and privilege can mean in relational terms to one’s own advantages, it can be upsetting or even uncomfortable. Often it involves the ability to see how we can be both empowered and disempowered by deeply rooted cultures and social backgrounds; it also includes how we are able to hinder others while we ourselves are hindered at the same time in other settings. Regarding worldview, a major factor and influence is the methods in which an individual thinks, as generally it leads to how that individual can construe the world around them according to Friske & Macrae, 2012. When we factor in power and privilege, though both can truly help a person to see more fightable injustices around them, they can cause a person to also think differently.

For me, having privilege means that I would get more cultural and social freedoms and advantages than someone else within those same cultures and social backgrounds and power would allow me to be more influential over others or events and allow me to act in a way that others cannot. In other words, I have the ability no matter what to get what I want; this causes power and privilege to not only shape my thought processes but also shape my beliefs, assumptions and ideas and in many ways controlling the way in which I see the world around me. In my world, though there have been many other struggles, things like lack of employment and poverty have never affected me, they have never existed for me like they do for so many others I know; not only could it make it harder to understand individuals of poverty, it opens the door for more negative judgments to take place regarding their circumstances.

Power and privilege if used correctly can strengthen a person, an entire community or even a country; used improperly however the damages can be extremely harmful and dangerous; the undermining of what truly is important and meaningful dissipate and we take the world around us for granted. For many of us religion and spiritualty are important in ensuring we live the most right and healthy lives; negative power and privilege can change the roles both play in guidance of our lives (Sue & Sue, 2016).

Cultural and social class are two things that have influence on my specific worldview. They are a high determining factor in who I chose to interact with as well as those individuals I allow in my circle of life; these are the people I allow to get to know me on a deeper and more personal level and I them. The individuals that are allowed within my specific social circle have opinions or words of wisdom often that I listen to and trust more so than others outside the circle which is also a determining factor sometimes of how I approach certain things or people in life. When I look at other cultural or social classes I tend to see different values, beliefs, ideas and assumptions than what I have within my own, I find it hard to communicate with these individuals due to these differences and the loss of individualism I feel.

In Anthony’s Story (Chapter 14, pp. 263-279) there is an area where he mentions being in the classroom where he managed to make the necessary adjustments he needed to make, but outside of the classroom he was not in tune or familiar with the type of communications that existed and because of lack of common ground as he stated, Anthony could not and did not make it a point to identify with classmates outside the classroom. My personal cultural and social class circle gives me my sense of me, it allows me to stay focused on my individual beliefs, values and ideals as well as stay grounded and not get lost or caught up with individuals who have different “alcoholic tales,” and “drug-induced visions,” as Anthony called them (Chapter 14, pp. 263-279).

In my opinion, my path is still a search and work in progress and because of this my social class will change which means the influence it has on my worldview will also change. We learn in Anthony’s Story (Chapter 14, pp. 263-279) that he had to experience and make many unsettling changes, processes and choices to find healing and absolution even after he married, I expect the same might happen at points in my life all of which will continue to adjust my social class influences of my worldview.

Generally, individuals who seek counselling tend to come from various backgrounds and walks of life and as the counsellor it is my job to approach the session through the worldview of the client and not myself. Often this will mean that my personal worldview and that of my clients, even with similarities will have many differences and it will up to me to recognize them as well as be honest about them with my client if necessary.

It will mean that I as the counsellor will need to have a deep understanding of and be aware of my own reactions emotionally to other cultures, populations, social backgrounds, races and ethnicities etc. I will need to not only understand certain characteristics of the therapy process but the impact it can have on the client and his/her cultural or social class. My job will be to understand the situations and circumstances of my client; lacks in understanding this and the client’s worldview will not enhance the teamwork necessary to the counselling process.

Furthermore, is the need of quality solutions or treatment within the counselling process, my inability to be open-minded with my client(s) could lead to an environment that is not judgment free, lacks respect for the client(s) and resistance in treatment plans. My biases or views could stop me from meeting the client where they are, getting them where they need to be by interrupting the possibilities of change needed within the client or even cause the client to stop treatment all together (Fiske & Macrae, 2012).

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Issue of Social Class, Power and Privilege. (2021, Mar 28). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/issue-of-social-class-power-and-privilege/

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