VISTAS Multicultural Issues in Counseling

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Working With Clients of Appalachian Culture

Kathryn A. Russ


People of Appalachian culture are an invisible minority, who are not only present in Appalachia but represent a substantial population in Midwestern urban areas (Hayden, 2004). There are specific differences between their culture and that of mainstream America, and these differences can manifest themselves as difficulties with traditional counseling interventions. In order to work well with people of Appalachian culture, therapists need to be familiar with the culture, know the differences, and find the theories and techniques that work most successfully with them. Sometimes the most difficult part of working with people of Appalachian culture is determining who is of the culture and who is not (Maloney, 1993). The U.S. has become somewhat homogenized with people watching the same national television shows, reading the same well known magazines, shopping in different branches of the same stores. There are still regional differences, however, and that is very true of the people of Appalachia. Appalachian culture has much in common with southern and rural cultures (Obermiller & Howe, 2004; Thorne, Tickmayer, & Thorne, 2004). They have many of the same traits but the mix or pattern is somewhat different for people of the mountains (Keefe, 2005a).

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