LU Health & Medical Developing Multicultural Counseling Competence Discussion

 answer to two replies  with references from the textbook Developing Multicultural Counseling Competence: A System Approach by Danica Hays.

First reply:

Ray Robinson 

Counseling Consideratrions for the Disabled/Elderly (DB 3)

Counseling Considerations for the Disabled and Elderly Clients

This week’s discussion board assignment involves choosing one of three provided options to discuss in a thread of at least 400 words.  I selected option two which focused on counseling considerations in working with disabled and elderly clients.  In this thread, I will first discuss the counseling consideration of disabled clients, followed up by the discussion of counseling considerations of elderly client, and finally the discussion of how counselors can increase their awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to be effective in working  with these populations.  Now, let’s begin with counseling considerations of working with individuals with disabilities.

It is critical for counselors to consider various factors in counseling individuals with disabilities.  The first thing that counselors must be cleared about is the definition of a disability.  Based on the textbook (Hays & Erford, 2018, pp 225) which states that “The very definition of disability can and does vary, depending on the particular service delivery system.” Therefore, the first factor to consider in counseling an individual with a disability is to determine the relevance of the definition of disability to that case.  It should be clear to the counselor how the definition of disability is interpreted by social, economic, medical, and psychological systems and how these interpretations may affect the counseling experience.  The counselors must also consider ways in which the client might perceive the labeling of being disabled and the impact the perception can have on the counseling process.  The counselors must further consider the best way or approach of addressing the client’s disability.  Should the counselor directly address the disability as a condition that a person possessed and therefore, the conversation is transparent, engaging the positive aspect of being a disabled individual, and counselor along with the disabled client confront the disability from a position of strength and positivity.  On the other hand,  the counselor must decide whether it would be more effective to be sensitive to the bias and hardships that the disabled client experiences in daily activities and as a result take a more indirect approach to discussion of the disability with the understanding that as a helper the ultimate goal is to help and definitely not to cause any harm.  The counselors also consider personal self-awareness views and bias whether overt, covert, implicit, and explicit toward individuals with disabilities. In addition, the counselor should consider if the knowledge base that he or she possesses is enough to provide effective counseling to disabled clients or whether the disabled client should be referred to other systems or counselors for better assistance.  Finally, the counselor should consider whether his/her skill set is at a level where appropriate approaches of counseling disabled clients are effectively chosen and used in the counseling session.  I have discussed in this section the considerations for counseling of clients with disabilities, now I will discuss the consideration for counseling of the elderly clients.

The considerations of counselors in counseling  of elderly clients are similar to disabled clients because many elder clients also possess disabilities; however, there are differences in the counseling of these two populations and that what I will focus on in the discussion of elderly counseling considerations. One thing that must be considered by the counselor is whether the counselor has the patience, sensitivity, and respect toward the plight of the elderly population to be entrusted with the care of this vulnerable but so significant population.  The counselor must also consider personal exposure of the elderly client to discrimination or misdeeds directed toward the client because of elderly status.  There must be further consideration given to whether the elderly client is a victim of any form of elderly abuses to include emotional, financial, psychological, physical, or self-neglect and based on the abuse experienced by the elderly client , the counselor should developed an treatment plan that will be suitable for that client.  The counselor should further examine the elderly who fall under the category of self-neglect abuse and consider whether the neglect was the result of the elderly client trying to maintain status of independency and if so, determining the most effective way of addressing this sensitive matter.  The counselor should always consider the tone of communication, speed of communication, and non-verbal reactions to the elderly client and be able to adjust to the need of the elderly client.  The counselor should also consider personal self-awareness concerning bias toward elderly individuals that could negatively impact the counseling progress.  The counselor should, furthermore, analyze his/her knowledge of resources, approaches, and referral agencies available in the helping of the elderly persons so that the clients can get the best service possible.  Finally, the counselor should consider the skills that he/she bring to the counseling table and whether the skills are adequate to help the elderly client with dignity and respect. In the instances where the counselor realizes that there a lack of awareness, knowledge, and skills to effectively work with the disabled and elderly population, the counselors can increase these attributes which will be discussed in the final section.

The awareness, knowledge, and skills by the counselor can be increased in the treatment of the disabled and elderly population by in-depth analysis of personal views and exposure to the views of various organizations, groups, and individuals who are representatives of the elderly and disabled populations.  Continuous education courses whether in classroom setting or online are excellent means to increase a counselor knowledge of the counseling of disabled and elderly population,  becoming acquaintance with organizations available to assist the disabled and elderly population, and latest laws, regulations, and benefits that available for the disabled and elderly population.  Finally, the counselors can increase skills by being exposed to the latest approaches and skills in counseling of the disabled and elderly population on online, video, and audio recordings.   Finally, the counselor can increase the skills of counseling disabled and elderly people by actually engaging more disabled and elderly people in his/ her personal life and begin to really see and  appreciate them as individuals who are uniquely made in God’s image although they may have challenges.  Counselor must understand the elderly and disabled individuals serve purpose that is uniquely ordered by God.  To be honest, the disabled and elderly individuals are seen by many in society as the most vulnerable and in need a lot of help.  The Biblical charge for the treatment of people in need which include the disabled and elderly in the following two scriptures.  The first is Matthew 25:40 which states that as much as we do things to the least one of these, we have done it unto God.  The second scripture is Galatians 6:2 which states that we should bear each other burden and in that we are fulfilling the commandment of Jesus. Therefore, in counseling clients with disabilities and elderly clients we should keep in reminder to strive for excellence in our awareness, knowledge, and skills as counselors of disabled and elderly population but sure also understand that as much as we are blessing these vulnerable populations, they are equally blessing us because they are bring out the quality that most like God which love, patience, kindness, wisdom, longsuffering, and humility.


Hays, D.G. (2018). Developing multicultural competence:  A systems approach (3rd ed.). 

           New York, NY:  Pearson Education, Inc.

Second reply:

Ronnie Eggleston

DB Forum 3 Counseling consideration relevant to working with clients with a disability


When working in the human service field, you will be presented with individuals with disabilities. The disability could vary from physical, mental, cognitive, social, etc. As a counselor in the community, it is our duty to become aware of their potential limitations. As a counselor, once you have established an understanding of your clients’ needs, you have shown you are competent enough to work with clients of different abilities (Berens & Erford, 2018). “Counselors who become aware of ableism and its effect on individuals with disabilities are better able to deliver effective counseling services” (Berens & Erford, 2018, p. 234). As counselors, we are advocates for individuals who need help expressing their perspectives.

The agency I work for is constantly accepting new waiver slots for new clients. This is a wonderful system, which allows us to accept people based on their overall needs. Once we figure out their overall needs, we link them with the appropriate team that works under our entire agency. We have over two thousand plus employees. In my specific team, we assist clients into the community frequently. Therefore, when we meet these new clients, we must assess them and learn limitations immediately. This allows us to better understand our clients and their immediate needs that need to be addressed by their worker. We strive to encourage our clients and not limit them. For example, after we evaluate clients, we assist them with finding jobs within our agency to help them feel accepted and gain self-esteem. This also helps to expose and educate people in the community of specific skills used when handling individuals with disabilities. Counselors in this agency are constantly accessing the community with clients. This instills in the client that they are a part of the community and do not need to steer away from not accessing community integration.

Approaching the community helps to educate and provide awareness, knowledge, and skills required to work with different populations. We must first possess a full understanding of disabilities and working with this population. Then, we can increase awareness in our communities. It is important to be cognizant of yourself and maintain self-awareness to ensure you do not come off as if you are better than your client; you should see yourself as their equal. Counselors can come together and have educational trainings to present people with the general knowledge regarding this specific population. Also, staying updated on skills and techniques when handling this specific population would help build awareness.


Berens, D. E., & Erford, B. T. (2018). Disability, ableism, and ageism. In D. G. Hays, & B. T. Erford, Developing multicultural counseling competence: A systems approach (3rd ed., p. 224-254). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.