English isn’t my first language – will I still benefit from counselling?

/ Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Yes.  To my regret I never learned any other languages with any degree of fluency but, providing you have a grasp of conservational English, we can work together.

My task as a counsellor is to work hard to understand your world and your experiences as completely and as accurately as I possibly can.  Even native English speakers can find that mere words become limited when trying to express their deepest selves in the counselling room.   At these times we need to work at an appropriate pace using whatever techniques that might be available to help us reach an understanding.  This will be the case whether to not we share a first language.

I am always pleased to work with clients from other cultures and nationalities.  Whilst it might seem that working with a counsellor who doesn’t share the same background as you would be a disadvantage in therapy it can be just the opposite.  One of the biggest mistakes I can make as a counsellor is to unintentionally make assumptions about my clients’ experiences or values.  Ironically, the more similar our backgrounds the more likely I am to fall into such a trap.

We all are shaped by the culture and society we grew up in and, sometimes, it can be easier for someone who doesn’t share the same cultural baggage as we do to help us see past our own assumptions and blind spots.

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