Counseling Hispanic American Middle School Girls
The recent increase in the number of immigrant students in elementary and secondary schools, especially those of Asian and Hispanic descent (U.S. Department of Education, 1997), has posed a significant challenge for school counselors. These immigrant students often suffer from social adjustment difficulties and language barriers, which prevent them from excelling both academically and socially in the school setting (Sam, 2000; Cole, 1998; Suarez-Orozco, 1989). In order to be effective in counseling these students, counselors must be able to address the distinctive mental health issues confronting them such as their adjustment difficulties and cultural barriers (Lockhart & Keys, 1998; Reynolds, 1999). Essentially, student counselors who adopt a multicultural perspective must be able to acknowledge the effects of cultural factors underlying the causes of the students' problems. Similarly, they need to take into consideration the cultural factors in their formulation of an appropriate treatment plan (Constantine & Ladany, 2000).
In this paper, the unique counseling needs and problems of Hispanic American middle school girls will be described and discussed. First, the paper will identify the distinctive cultural backgrounds and issues, which undermine this student population's ability to succeed in the school setting. Second, the cultural factors that should be considered by school counselors with regard to their treatment of Hispanic American middle school girls will be highlighted. Finally, ideas for counseling these students will be provided.
As with their male counterparts, recent Hispanic American immigrant girls come from low-income households in which English is not spoken as the primary language. These students are often expected to take on considerable family responsibilities in order to help care for siblings, and/or assist their non-English-speaking parents in ...