Table of Contents
Family of Origin
The United States is a country where people are influenced daily by the stories and the relationships shared within a family unit generation after generation. The family of origin a person comes from can influence their values in life and how they see the world in essence. It is greatly important for future counselors to comprehend how the origin of someone’s story, someone’s family line, and the relationship shared with other family members growing up can affect that person daily in all the choices they decide to make and even if they decide to seek help. In fact, more future family and couples’ counselors in the making are becoming aware of the many impacts that family of origin concepts can bring to the table. Many of the issues that arise from family of origin can manifest themselves spiritually, culturally, ethnicity-wise, socio-economically, and through many forms of experiences faced by people daily due to immigration, trauma, grief, language barriers, and even military lifestyles. By becoming sensitive and understanding to the family of origins many clients can have, future counselors are also able to become culturally sensitive too.
Growing Up in The Hispanic Culture
This future counselor has been impacted immensely by the factor that she grew up in a Hispanic household, speaking primarily Spanish, and being a first-generation college-attending student. It has become more common in the United States for patients to identify themselves as part of the Hispanic or Latino community since the population in the last years has increased (Langton, 2018). For this writer, speaking both Spanish and English throughout grade school served as a talent that was found to be useful in the growing years living in a country that seemed to admire bilingualism.
There are many memories that flow up in the air when recalling the family of origin for this writer, from early childhood years to emerging adulthood years, many things that were part of the family as a whole did not change whatsoever. The idea that family was a unit that must stick by each other’s side and support each other through the hard times was one of the most important morals held in this family of origin. Within the Hispanic culture there are family values that often times parents will try to mold their children around; such as there cannot be any sex before marriage due to religious beliefs, the daughters cannot leave the home until marriage is proposed, that one must marry a man of the same religion, and that respect for elders must always be present- to name a few.
There is no better way to describe that growing up in such a collectivist culture with powerful familial values can mold someone born in the typical American individualistic culture in different ways. At a young age, this writer understood that a form of identity was defined by placing priority in the family as a shield of safety to all the difficult financial times that would come along because of the status of being a minority. This particular population of minorities is the largest growing one estimated to grow quickly in the next decades (U.S Bureau of the Censes, 1992).
In a Hispanic household, decision making often involved the opinion of grandparents, cousins, aunts, and siblings too. When it came to the time of attending Florida State University as a first-generation student, because this writer’s parents had not attended college when they first migrated to Miami, Florida, the opinion of others and the majority of vote would lead to the final decision- to go or not to go. This writer faced the barrier of facing the battle of wanting to chase her dreams or to collectively chase the dream her family wanted for her instead. Hispanic individuals grow up therefore developing particular values such as collectivism, wanting to have pleasant relationships with others, single self-worth, respect for others and themselves, and the idea that family is a team to count on always (Ruiz, 2005).
Impact of Being Hispanic and Seeking Help
As mentioned above, the Hispanic population is only expanding in the United States. It is important to understand how a growing population that is so unique to others copes with stress or the idea of seeking help. The family of origin build around a Hispanic culture will emphasize more the ambitions and needs of the “Familismo”, or family as a group, more than the ambitions and needs of an individual’s-which can be contradicting to the well being of the individual and their separate needs in society. Often times, individuals who grow in this type of origin of family will sacrifice their own personal needs for the overall wellbeing of the family as a form of self-sacrifice (De La Asuncion & Rodriguez, 2018). Giving up your needs as an individual for the sake of family can be quite detrimental and lead to emotional disturbances, identity confusion, and even close the mental doors to reaching out for individual help when mostly needed because of family disapproval or stigma against being vulnerable.
Impact of Being a Future Multiculturally Competent Counselor & Precautions to Consider
As a future family and marriage counselor that is aware of the system behind family of origins a lot of Hispanic families come from, this writer is individually in essence more multiculturally competent due to her personal experiences. The experiences faced in this writer’s family of origin and personal up brining will likely affect the ways she works with Hispanic individuals because of the key understanding of values such as familismo, independence, and respect for others that is mutually shared. When working with this population in particular, increasing awareness and providing support are important roles that the counselor should consider acting on.
Compared to the common clientele population that originates from an individualistic Americanized culture in the United States, Hispanic culture is important to understand because it will expand outlook on how family of origins differentiate between both. In addition, by becoming sensitive to this background, a counselor can prevent incorrectly diagnosing a client (Ruiz,2005). Due to the personal family background that this writer originates from, as a future counselor, she will be able to not only provide the option to freely speak a common language that the client and her can share, Spanish, she will also be able to help the client notice family dynamics as either positive or negative and have a better insight into their worldview and upbringing.
- De La Asuncion, M., & Rodriguez, A. (2018). Cultural Sensitivity: Counseling and Serving Hispanic/Latino Families Effectively. AudiologyOnline, 3.
- Langton, D. (2018). Building trust through cultural respect and sensitivity. Reflections on Nursing Leadership, 44(2), 134–138.
- Ruiz, E. (2005). Hispanic Culture and Relational Cultural Theory. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 1(1), 33–55.
- U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1992). The Hispanic population in the United States: March 1991. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.