An article that has been of particular importance in my career is Schoulte, J. (2011). Bereavement Among African Americans and Latino/a Americans. Journal of Mental Health Counseling. 33 (1). p. 11-20. The article briefly details cultural, ethnic and racial experiences of death and bereavement in the Latino/a and African American populations in the United States. The article also includes relevant social justice considerations- how racism and a history of oppression have impacted how these populations seek comfort and assistance in their experiences with death and bereavement.
This article was important for preparing me for my internship placement and helped me successfully navigate a caseload that was comprised of Native American, African American, Hispanic and refugee families. Some of these families needed bereavement services specifically, others were enrolled in my site's services because they had children with chronic illness. Understanding the external historical, cultural and spiritual conceptions for counseling, death and bereavement helped inform my practice and deepen my empathy and unconditional positive regard. This article also informed me of the normative experiences of bereavement for Latino/as and African Americans – which helped me to not improperly suspect pathology and avoid misdiagnosis. Finally, this article helped me to maintain a curious and open spirit in working with these populations. It helped me feel less distant, daunted and intimidated by the cultural, racial and ethnic implications for these populations and informed my cultural humility in a way that helped deepen the therapeutic relationship with my clients.
Schoulte, J. (2011). Bereavement Among African Americans and Latino/a Americans. Journal of
Mental Health Counseling. 33 (1). p. 11-20.