Stereotypes and personal biases can hinder the work of counselors and other social service workers who are trying to help domestic violence victims. That is the message of clinical social worker Cheryl Bristor-Wilson, speaking in Bloomington. Bristor-Wilson says counselors need to continuously examine their prejudices when they are at work, and expose themselves to diverse cultures and communities outside of work.
"How our life outside of work is diverse and how that can help us. Do I hang around with different types of people? I mean, I'm a social worker and I don't have any friends who are social workers for that very reason, because I don't want to sit around and talk social work all the time."
Bristor-Wilson says social service professionals who can't empathize with their clients are more likely to let their personal experiences influence how they treat a client. She spoke to a gathering of counselors, social workers, attorneys and judges who meet domestic violence victims on a regular basis at the "No More" conference, an annual event to raise awareness of domestic violence in the community.
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