Culture and Empathy in Cross-Cultural Counseling: A Journal Reading

Topics: Empathy

In this journal, I will talk about two separate subjects: First, I will talk about my take on the potential reason why it happens to be so difficult for counselors-in-training to study the cross-cultural aspect of counseling extensively. Then I will move on to the discussion related to what I mentioned briefly in the class meeting on October 24t. The both subjects are based on my reading of The Relationship of Culture and Empathy in Cross-Cultural Counseling by Chung and Bemak.

I would actually claim that the reason why it is so difficult for contemporary counselors to be trained sufficiently with cross-cultural counseling is partly because of the current trend in the field of anthropology.

Now as of one entire decade after the 21* century started, most anthropologists are highly critical of the typological approach to different ethnic groups in the world, and focus mainly on distinct nation-states, and even on different regional units, depending on an anthropologist. Of course, I am fully aware of the concerns of these academic circles as much as the preexistent typological approach to ethnic groups was undeniably in a deep association with the hazard of imperialism.

Yet, the problem is that, as contemporary anthropologists reject the typological approach, it became very difficult for educators to devise a standardized curriculum for croSS- culural counseling.

There would have been able to appear this kind of curriculum had the ethnic typology been still in use anthropologically; Yet the current reality is that it is extremely difficult for counselors-in-training to be educated on every single 200 nation- states in the world, even if such would be considered optimal by the current trend of anthropology.

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I would argue that the only method left for professional counselors to break Out of this dilemma is to develop the habit of utilizing genograms as a specific skill to be used when having a session with their clients. Now, as I mentioned the practice of necromancy in Korea on our class meeting on October 24″, it actually made me wonder afterwards what caused this practice of necromancy to be maintained for such a long period of time in the Korean Peninsula.

The problem is that, even if it was such a norm to visit necromancers in Korea even up to the late 20 century, necromancy was actually never encouraged by the political regimes, and even had to be active suppressed for 500 years as Confucianism was being distributed in the Korean Peninsula. Yet, as I now think about it, I would argue that the practice of necromancy could survive and even prosper in Korea despite the multiple centuries of suppression, paradoxically because its theme of “talking directly with the dead” (which makes it distinct even from the shamanism of Manchuria right above the border) could be linked to the core values of Confucianism.

As Chung and Bemak have mentioned, a collective family unit based on the leadership of its elders is an important theme in East Asia, and this could be the case primarily because of the distribution of Confucianism. Yet, the problem here is that elders are vulnerable to death; In fact, most elders will be eventually outlived by their younger family members. In this broader context, I would suspect that this theme of emphasizing the leadership by the elders caused Korean societies even after Confucianism became their tenet to eventually visit local necromancers exactly for using them as a medium between the descendants and the deceased in the same family unit.

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Culture and Empathy in Cross-Cultural Counseling: A Journal Reading. (2023, Feb 26). Retrieved from

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