Cultural Competence Skill Areas


Cultural Competence Skill Areas


Paper ID: 135815030

Author: Coyalita Linville

Cultural Competence Skill Areas – The first of the five individual cultural competence skills is Awareness and Acceptance of Differences, which states,” culturally competent providers are aware of the existence of cultural differences, accept their reality and value, and actively and creatively use them in the service of helping.”

In completing a self-assessment of myself as being a multicultural competent counselor, I would contend that I do have the skills of a competent provider as well as being aware of the existence of cultural differences, accept their reality and value and actively and creatively use them in the service of  helping. ‘

Perhaps these qualities and skills have been obtained through informal and formal education, life and professional experiences, or due to my own ethnicity.

However, by far am I the most proficient in knowledge and skills that it takes to be considered a multicultural competent counselor, since gaining this title of multicultural competency is an ongoing process through both formal and informal education.

Therefore, although I may be skilled in many areas, there are always those that I have not been educated for or gained from personal and professional experience.

For example, these skills would entail being able to:

1) apply basic techniques derived from selected theories with a diverse clientele, which I do very well.

2) Ability to use a variety of individual, couple, family, group, and community strategies for working with diverse populations and ethnic groups, of which I am lacking in because I am not that well educated in working with couples, and families, due to my prior education and work background have been centered on individuals and substance abuse groups, as well as having little knowledge of many other cultures.

3) Seeking out educational, consultative, and training experiences to enrich understanding of culturally different populations. For a couple of years now I have continued to do formal and informal research on the diverse cultures that I am most unfamiliar with such as Chinese and Japanese and a number of others.

4) Understanding self as a racial and cultural being and actively seeking a non-racist identity. No one understands me more than I in all areas of my life. A self-searching inventory is done quite often as a racial and cultural being and simply a being, when one questions who I am and what am I really about. I detest racism, prejudice and all the garbage that people come up with to do that harms others out of one’s own fear, I have been fighting against it as far back as I can remember.

5) Contributing to the professionals’ role as a client advocate in promoting social justice. I have no problem in the professional role acting as a client advocate in promoting social justice or injustice.

Secondly, “self-awareness in which culturally competent providers appreciate the impact of their ethnicity and racial attitudes on potential clients and actively work to limit the impact of such factors when it would negatively affect the relationship.

Self-awareness is how one’s personal biases, values and beliefs influence interactions with clients, especially those who are culturally different. I have never allowed my personal biases, values and beliefs influence interactions with clients regardless of cultural differences. Perhaps this is due to introspection and enlightenment concerning that which I have experienced in life and my belief in that although we are all different, no human deserves to judged by the color of their skin.’

Self awareness also requires me to examine if I am comfortable with clients’ racial, ethnic, cultural and belief differences, which to date I always have been, however, in knowing my limitations I realize that there are many cultures in the world that I have no knowledge of and I wonder if one were to come to my office how would I react. The major concern here would be if they spoke English or not so as to be able to communicate effectively with them, for if not and with no interpreter I would be fairly uncomfortable. However, I most certainly would find some way of communicating with them.

Third, is the “Dynamics of Difference:” in which culturally competent providers are aware of likely areas of potential cross-cultural miscommunication, misinterpretation, and misjudgment; anticipate their occurrence; and have the skills to set them right.

In this category I am fully aware of likely areas of potential cross- cultural miscommunication, misinterpretation, and misjudgments. Demography plays a role in the difference of language for example, the use of dialects, symbolism, body languages and social environments can be quite different in many cultures. Even Westerners in various states of the U.S and subcultures use different dialects, symbolism, body language and participate in a wealth of social environments.’

In simplification, what might be done or said to one person may not be held in the same perspective or expectation by another. A culturally competent provider must be able to anticipate their occurrence and have the skills to set them right. The later is often a difficult task to do when dealing with other cultures, especially if the counselor is the reason for the problems that arise. I have had a couple of difficult situations in the past, as a human being I realize that we cannot make everyone happy all of the time, we make errors, however, it is how you go about to correct these areas is what is important.

Culturally diverse clients are also aware of cultural diversity and the potential for cross-cultural miscommunication, misinterpretation, and misjudgments. I have found in the past that in most cases the provider and client can sit down and discuss these errors.

Come to an agreement and move on forward to the real task at  hand giving and receiving the help the client needs.

Fourth, a culturally competent provider must have some “Knowledge of Client’s Culture”. Culturally competent providers actively educate themselves in regard to a client’s culture in order to understand behavior in its own cultural context. They also actively seek consultation with indigenous experts when necessary.

In completing a self-assessment in this area I am quite knowledgeable in working with clients who are African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, and Hawaiian. Which is a small sample from the world population of so many different cultures.  I realize this and do informal research on the internet or read sociological, psychological and counseling text and formal education such as I am now enrolled in at Grand Canyon University to be able to better understand the behaviors, assumptions, expectations, social/ family roles, and beliefs of other cultures and subcultures.

However, I also take into consideration in my readings while conducting research the culture the author(s) are from, so as to keep an open mind.

My contacts as a professional has been predominantly from working and interacting with African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, and Hawaiian(s) as mentioned above, however, I do see and understand fully that I am still uneducated in many areas of cultural diversity, which I strive to correct as quickly as possible, although I do realize that it is an ongoing process.

Fifth, “Adaptation of Skills “culturally competent providers adapt and adjust modate cultural differences to better meet the needs and goals of culturally different clients. I have done this a few times when working for agencies who took in culturally different clients who could speak no English, and they did not have an interpreter.

One gentleman was from Cuba. It was assumed by my boss that because he was from Cuba the gentleman spoke Spanish. Wrong! The Spanish interpreter came, spoke to the man and the man did not understand the interpreter and vice versa.

The gentleman was very sick and needing to be entered into the hospital, I did not speak his language either, but I knew the man had not come to the hospital to sit, talk and let someone figure out what his language was. So, I ushered him to a bed, made him comfortable as possible and contacted the administrator who contacted the local education board, who found an interpreter for the man.

The interpreter came in a while later and could understand the dialect, it was discovered that the man a very infectious disease which would have soon killed him had he not sought help. The agency then developed a site in which all the staff could contact an interpreter in the future to aid clients.

In summary, my readiness to incorporate these skills into my personal and professional belief systems and behaviors, have often occurred during my personal life and professional career.

I have found from experience that these tasks are not so difficult if one has achieved an accurate awareness of their culturally learned assumptions as those assumptions might be both similar and different to the assumptions of culturally different clients. And if the professional is able to act appropriately to help the client achieve positive outcomes.

Cultural diversity can be complicated or rewarding dependent upon the professional’s perspective, skills and whether or not they temp to ignore or minimize their attention to a client’s cultural context. I personally find cultural diversity a very rewarding experience, even when I am not perfect, I learn from my experiences and utilize that information in my personal and professional career.

Diller, J. V. (2007). Cultural diversity: A primer for the human services (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole


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Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist & Addiction Counselor

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