Landing : Athabascau University

Understanding Prison Culture as a Therapist

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By Connor Heffernan 14 November 2017 @ 6:48pm

Prison communities each have their own rules, hierarchies and personalities; therapeutic challenges can arise for both the patient and the counselor. The 406 textbook repeatedly emphasizes the importance of understanding the culture of our clients in our multicultural world. My heart has always gone out to prison ministry, and when I found this article, I was struck by the many questions and concerns of penitentiary counselling that simply never dawned on me, such as: 

How does confidentiality change when I'm working with a Criminal who may reveal damning past activities? and who has access to these records? Where are the records kept?

Will the Client see me as "part of the system" when I leave him in his little cell and lock the door behind me?

Culture shock and ethical dilemmas are likely to occur for the unprepared counselor. I invite responses from my fellow students in regards to the article, and any personal views or experiences any of you may have on the culture or challenges of prison counseling. 


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