The Issue of Race Religion and Access to Counseling

The Issue of Race Religion and Access to Counseling

There is a growing concern on the difference in seeking counseling help among the racial groups and religious groups. The difference in the need for counseling and more importantly among the African American is closely associated with the spiritual and religious beliefs. From a religious concept, African Americans are taught to seek religious invention when dealing with mental and health issues as opposed to asking for professional counseling services. However, one thing that seems to miss is the reason that these people opt for these divine interventions. However, one thing that seems evident is that race and religion have a severe bearing on the issue of counseling, especially for African Americans. While other groups are at ease of accessing the services of advice the African American seems to have the lowest rate of using these services. The focus of the study is to look the African American and the reason that makes them have a lower preference for using counseling services.

One of the significant role of religion among African American and spirituality is that it determines the views that the people have when dealing with challenges. African American relies on spirituality as a source of support amid any difficulties. The problems might range from family stressors, and even systemic oppression. With all these challenges it makes sense to understand the reason that religion offers some explanation for the reason that African Americans often feel better adjusted and more psychological well versed to deal with life stressors. It is quite evident that most of these people have experienced extending discrimination and oppression that often pushes them to the fringes of life (Bannister et al., 2015) With the constant challenges that they face religion often seem to offer some form of hope that guarantees a chance for a better future. With this in mind, many people would have a preference for religion and not on the counseling help when dealing with challenges.

One of the aspects that seem to direct the beliefs of the African people and their access to healthcare is their overwhelming association with religion. Among the African Americans, religion is taken to be of much importance with the preference being at 80 percent. Compared to the other religions, it is only 50% that have a close focus on religion. Besides, the majority of African Americans are tied to Christianity while about 50 percent of the population attends churches weakly. Moreover, this population often visits African American churches. Due to this affiliation to religion, most of their beliefs are that God is their only solution to dealing with any issues that they face. They, therefore, have to rely on their faith and spirituality when they encounter any difficulties (Bannister et al., 2015). Their strong belief in religion makes them have the impression that attending worship, and bible or being involved in religious issues helps them to conceptualize the problems they face. From this background, it then becomes hard for these people to think of any other approaches when facing any challenges. From a tender age, they are taught to only focus on spirituality when they face adversities. Transitioning to other methods such as professional counseling does not seem to be a plausible option.

The other reason that limits the penetration of counseling services among African Americans is that religious and church services operate like the counseling sessions. The history of African Americans and religion dates back to the time of slavery. The slaves found hope in Scriptural promise of a future that is full of oppression. From the view offered by the religious teachings of the time, religion and death were a way to transition from the suffering of earth and move to the promise of reward and deliverance that is in heaven. The slaves often referred to the situations that they are experiencing to the torment and the crusification of Jesus who is an essential figure in Christianity.

In many cases, African Americans could draw similarities between the crucifixion of Jesus and the lynching of African Americans (Baruth & Manning, 2016). Besides, these people created the connection between Jesus, slavery and the bible story of Judas betraying Jesus to get financial compensation. The belief they had was that white plantation owners revealed captured and brought them to the American only for the economic gains. Therefore, they thought that the only way they could deal with their issues was through religious beliefs.

The views of the African Americans about support and therapeutic services also traces back to the experience in the plantation. Although slaves faced horrendous conditions in the plantations counseling services were not available. The church was the only support system during these challenges. The proclivity to seek support from the church began during the time of slavery and has not changed until today (Avent & Cashwell, 2015). From this historical precedence, it is possible to explain the reason why African Americans as compared to other races that are less likely to seek professional counseling. To them, the advice is not something that seems to offer any help from a historical perspective. Their approach to dealing with issues whenever they could arise was to depend on the church. The culture has developed over the years and might be hard to change.

There is mistrust that has existed over the decades between the African Americans and the institutions of counseling. The relationship dates back to the period of civil rights movements. The relationship between the church and the civil rights era cemented the belief of the people that it is only the church that cannot offer a solution during the time of need. During the Civil right era, the Black church was a place that people could go to experience prestige, rank in authority (Sun et al., 2016). These are opportunities that they could not get from any other institution and thus gave the change for the church to dominate the majority culture. Therefore most of the African Americans could distrust the counseling relationship since it reflects the dominant culture that they have experience exclusion and oppression. Many of the people do not believe that this institution has any hope to offer since the general feeling is that they represent the oppressive institutions.

The theological teaching of the black church also limits their access and use of counseling services. From the belief of the Black religious belief during worship, the members get the chance to experience a personal visitation from Jesus. Through this process, people had the opportunity to experience touch and a change that would help them deal with any issues that they encounter (Sue et al. 2019). The church is not thus just a place of worship but also a place to experience a transformation and freedom from any challenges. There is, therefore, no reason for an African American to seek any other help from a human being that also has their problems. The general belief, in this case, is that the church and the leaders in the church might offer more help to problems than any other places. Therefore the focus of these people has never been on counseling when in trouble but rather the church.

In understanding, the of the issue of counseling among the races in the country there seems to be something different between the African American and other communities. The access of these services among the groups is deficient. The primary reason that seems to affect the entrance to the facilities is their belief and practices that they have cultivated over the years. Since the time of slavery, African Americans have often used religion as one way to deal with any issues and challenges. Over the years they have cultivated this practice and thus it has always become the norm of the day. To this day, it is a religion that has become the only way to escape from any form of trouble. Therefore, it is evident that African Americans have never been able to separate religion with their ways of life. Seeking counseling services is not often thought to offer the help that might come from church teaching. Therefore, religion seems to be the biggest impediment in accessing any counseling help.




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Sun, S., Hoyt, W. T., Brockberg, D., Lam, J., & Tiwari, D. (2016). Acculturation and enculturation as predictors of psychological help-seeking attitudes (HSAs) among racial and ethnic minorities: A meta-analytic investigation. Journal of Counseling Psychology63(6), 617.

Avent, J. R., & Cashwell, C. S. (2015). The black church: Theology and implications for counseling African Americans. The Professional Counselor5(1), 81-90.

Baruth, L. G., & Manning, M. L. (2016). Multicultural counseling and psychotherapy. Taylor & Francis.

Bannister, S. N., Park, H. S., Taylor, S., & Bauerle, E. N. (2015). Clients’ expectations and preferences for marital Christian counseling: A chronological literature review and a contemporary evaluation. Social Work and Christianity42(1), 63.