Cultural Differences and Professional Issues

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James is an African American heterosexual male who is also a counselor at a community mental-health center. Though James does not outwardly reject others with different sexual orientations, he is not empathetic toward people struggling with sexual identity issues. James feels that homosexuality is morally wrong and against his religious beliefs. However, James understands that as a counselor he must not discriminate against anyone – including sexual minorities. Clarence, a new client, has revealed that he is homosexual and is having difficulty admitting his sexual orientation to his family and others close to him. Clarence has also states he fears being rejected by his church congregation. He states that being abandoned by the church would further “shame his family” but admits that he cannot keep his life a secret anymore. He wants James’s help to embrace his homosexuality and live without shame.

For James to genuinely help Clarence, what issues does James need to address at a personal level to refrain from being judgmental of Clarence?

Is it possible for James to be objective enough to help Clarence work toward his goals? Why or why not?

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