Geoff was a teenage boy who was first seen at the speech and hearing clinic on his 13th birthday. His parents explained, during an initial interview, that Geoff had begun….
Maria, a 33-year-old, single, Italian-American woman, grew up in an ethnic community in which her family operated a family business for many years.
Maria, a 33-year-old, single, Italian-American woman, grew up in an ethnic community in which her family operated a family business for many years. The norm within that community and within her family was an “all-for-one-and-onefor-all” mentality. Individual needs and wants were seen as not being as important as the needs of the group. There was a high value placed on hard work and each and every person carrying his or her own load without complaining. If a person was asked to help another, then compliance was automatic. Within this context, it was assumed that people were always available to help one another and that if people asked for help, they really needed it. Maria attended a local university while continuing to live at home and work in the family business. After graduation, she accepted a position in a large corporation and continued to live at home, working in the family business on weekends. Maria took her cultural learning about working within a group to her new position. She was bright, capable, hard-working, and a team player, all of which placed her in high regard within this corporate setting. Despite its obvious strengths, Maria’s cultural learning had left her with some significant gaps in her ability to cope in the corporate world. She had not learned to be assertive and set reasonable limits regarding her workload. In fact, within her culture, to do so would have been seen as selfish and irresponsible. Maria also had not learned how to take credit for her work. She repeatedly was in the position of doing all or part of another worker’s project because he or she asked for help but then received no credit for this work as her co-worker in the end reaped the rewards. Maria did not feel that she could say “no” to her co-workers’ requests for her assistance and did not have the assertiveness to even address what was going on with her co-workers or supervisor. She sought help when she had become very frustrated and angry about her situation. A culturally attuned helper was able to help Maria see her situation in its cross-cultural context. Behaviors that worked for her in her ethnic community,