Challenges of counseling African American woman

According to the article:
Provide a description of the challenges of counseling African American woman as the
provided article describes 3 multicultural models”Afrocentric, feminist, and “womanist”-
and their application to psychotherapy with African American
Williams, C. (2005). Counseling African American women: Multiple identities-Multiple
constraints.Journal of Counseling & Development, 83(3), 278-283.

Challenges of counseling African American woman

Various attributes such as belief system, cultures and race among others play a key role in
the provision of guiding and counseling service to different people. People across the world
come from different backgrounds that sometimes play a key role in the way they respond to or
view counseling. This paper deliberates on the some of the challenges of counseling African
American woman based on the three multicultural models; Afrocentric, feminist and womanist.
Afrocentric and feminist models lays emphasis on the value of characteristic and strength
that associated with the African American women cultures, traits that are not valued on the
broader social broader. Afrocentric model is based on the traditional culture aspects such as
communalism, spirituality, emotional expressiveness, harmony with nature, fluid time
orientation and interdependence that advances the believe of African culture (Williams, 2005).
Cultural feminism concerns the ideology of women nature as women are viewed to have
empathy, to care and to make moral decisions (Williams, 2005). Therefore, this causes
challenges in the counseling of women as identity is examined in relation to race and gender. By
looking at women on perspectives of nature and empathy, it makes it difficult to understand the
needs of the African women and identity without considering their racial differences. This
therefore creates a situation where the aspect of gender is given a lot of weight while race is
marginalized. Therefore, one challenge is the marginalization of the African American women

based on their race in the counseling services, which tends to despise them in comparison to their
white women counterparts.
Afrocentric model also examines the African American family systems and fails to
provide specific analysis of the role of the women. The fact that the position and the contribution
of an African American is not emphasized as it belittles them and this makes them appear as
lesser to other women from other societies. The theory has equated the African American women
to their African counterpart without going deeper to understand them better, hence, some of the
misunderstandings as well as challenges that many of the Africana Americans goes through.
Furthermore, constructions leveled against African Americans does not account for the
social and historical contexts. Therefore, this presents a big challenge when counseling these
women as most of the times these changes in the way women are socialized are not put into
consideration. African American women have gone through various transformation, changes,
and what they believe and their norms and culture have changed. Therefore, this is also a major
challenge that counselors must put into consideration. Times are changing and also the culture
keep on transforming.
Stereotypes and prejudices that African Americans have multiple identities is also a
challenge when they are being counseled. They are under pressure to choose one of the
identities, which most of the time cause a lot of misunderstanding. Therefore, the feeling that
they need to owe some allegiance to one community such as ethnic or lesbian is a challenge
and therefore, they does this to avoid the risk of being seen as cultural traitor. Therefore, in
counseling, such concerted efforts to conceal one’s own identity to look favorable or to gain
allegiance to a certain culture are a great challenge.

Womanism is yet another factor that concerns women and is also a challenge when it
comes to counseling. Womanism aims to project a woman as individuals that are committed to
survive and people that are whole of self (Williams, 2005). Therefore, it is a challenges because,
it is some sought of oppressive way women go through. Example of these cultural oppressions
includes sexism, racism, homophobia and classism among others.
African American women faces challenges in their counseling because, they are carrying
a York and therefore, must comply to what the society or community expect them to do if they
are not willing. Therefore, to conform to this, in most instances they will often contextualize a
problem drawn on a women’s’ legacy of social justice and create networks of connection and
support. All these initiatives are aimed at protecting them as individuals that are committed and
survivors even though it may be their own desires. Therefore, the aspect of womanist can pose a
challenge in counseling because, women may change their behaviors and actions just for the
sake of projecting positively to the eyes of the counselor and this then affect the effectiveness of
the entire process.
Therefore, in conclusion, the various theories and models such as Afrocentric, feminine
and womanist has to certain degree downplayed on the position of the African American women.
Projection of women through this lens is skewed and unbalanced and this is causing challenges
in their counseling. It is time that the society comes to realization that the Africana American
women have changed and transformed to avoid false portrayal and projection.



Williams, C. (2005). Counseling African American women: Multiple identities—Multiple
constraints, Journal of Counseling & Development, 83(3), 278–283.

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