Week 11: Religious, Cultural, and Gender Considerations
Clients’ and counselors’ views toward sexuality are influenced by a range of contextual issues, including their religious and spiritual beliefs, their cultural backgrounds, their gender expectations, their body image, and societal norms. Counselors should reflect on how these influence their own beliefs and perspectives about the sexuality counseling work they do with clients. Likewise, they should be attuned to these issues when working with clients. Clients may benefit from a discussion of their perceptions of how these issues impact their functioning currently.
In this final week, you are invited to view sexuality through a positive lens and consider what it means to have a healthy and positive sexuality. Cultural, religion, and gender certainly play an important role in healthy sexual functioning and thus, it becomes important to consistently link these concepts together for the good of the therapeutic process. You are asked to consider steps you can take professionally to continue to become better prepared to help your clients move toward a healthy level of sexual functioning. Lastly, you are asked to contemplate professional and personal growth that can help you to meet your clients various needs, and how you will specifically meet these needs.
By the end of this week, you should be able to:
• Explain insights gained from developing an advocacy plan to promote social change
• Develop an advocacy plan for a social change need related to sexuality
• Analyze positive sexuality and healthy sexual functioning
• Analyze controversies related to positive sexuality and healthy sexual functioning
• Explain personal competency to address client sexuality concerns
• Explain professional development steps to increase competency to address client sexuality concerns
Final Project: Advocacy Plan
For the Final Project, you conduct an interview with a professional in your community who works in a sexuality-related job (e.g., pregnancy counselor, sex therapist, OB/GYN) to: a) learn about his or her work, b) observe how the professional discusses the topic of sexuality, and c) identify social change related to human sexuality that, from the perspective of the professional, is needed to advance his or her work. Based on this information, you will outline an advocacy plan to address this need.
An advocacy plan outlines a problem that will be addressed through professional advocacy practices. Such a plan should include a description of the problem to be addressed through the advocacy activities, the goal(s) of the advocacy activities, and some specific activities that can be undertaken to make progress toward these goals. This plan should outline specific actions that could be taken by a counselor to effect change at various levels of the social context (e.g., within organizations, in the local community, and in public policy).
Use the following interview guide for your interview:
1. Describe the work you do and your work setting.
2. What kind of training do you have specific to sexuality?
3. What do you find helpful in talking to clients about sexuality?
4. What social change related to human sexuality is needed to better serve clients?
5. How do you see cultural, gender, and religious considerations impacting the clients you serve?
6. What client populations are most difficult for you to work with and why?
The project you submit will be a 10- to 15-page paper that outlines a plan for an advocacy effort to promote social change. It must include the following:
1. A description of common experiences of the client population served (literature review)
2. A description of the type of professional you interviewed (what type of work the person does and the organization in which he or she works)
3. A summary of your observations regarding how the professional communicates about sexuality (both how he or she communicated during the interview and how he or she describe this aspect of his or her work)
4. A summary of cultural, gender-related, and religious considerations discussed by the interviewee and a description of how these relate to current literature
5. A description of an area of social change related to human sexuality that the professional indicated would be needed to more effectively do his or her work
6. A description of how you would address this specific need through an advocacy plan (should include at least three actions you could take)
7. A description of the stakeholders involved and the issues you would need to consider when implementing the plan
As you write your Final Project, use the Assignment and Final Project Writing Rubric. A rubric is a guideline for evaluating your work. This rubric is in the form of a checklist. Your Instructor will also use this rubric to grade your Final Project. Be sure to address all aspects of the rubric if you want to earn full points on this Final Project assignment.
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your syllabus.
• Course Text: Handbook of Clinical Sexuality for Mental Health Professionals
o Chapter 4, “Lessons from Great Lovers”
• Article: Bancroft, J. (2002). The medicalization of female sexual dysfunction: The need for caution.Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31(5), 451–455. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the ProQuest database.
• Article: Dundon, C. M., & Rellini, A. H. (2010). More than sexual function: Predictors of sexual satisfaction in a sample of women age 40-70. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7(2), 896–904.
• Article: Gillen, M. M., Lefkowitz, E. S., & Shearer, C. L. (2006). Does body image play a role in risky sexual behavior and attitudes? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35(2), 230–243. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the SocINDEX database.
• Article: Sherry, A., Adelman, A., Whilde, M. r., & Quick, D. (2010). Competing selves: Negotiating the intersection of spiritual and sexual identities. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41(2), 112–119. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the PsycARTICLES database.
• Article: Woodward, A. J., Findlay, B. M., & Moore, S. M. (2009). Peak and mystical experiences in intimate relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26(4), 429–442.
• Book Excerpt: Peterson, F. L, Dobbins, J., Coleman, F., & Razzouk, J. (2007). Culturally competent sex therapy. In VandeCreek, L., Peterson, F. L., & Bley, J. W., Innovations in clinical practice: Focus on sexual health (pp. 245–260). Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Press. Focus on sexual health by VandeCreek, L. Copyright 2007 by Professional Resource Exchange/Press, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Professional Resource Exchange/Press, Inc., via the Copyright Clearance Center.