Cultural Self -Awareness

All staff will work to develop self-awareness of:

  • Our personal cultural background and beliefs, experiences, attitudes, values and biases – how these influence our definition of what’s correct, acceptable, helpful or normal and how these affect our interactions with each other.
  • How our own cultural attributes make us similar to and different from other persons.
  • How cultural power and privilege affect our interactions with each other.
  • The limits of our own competencies and expertise.
  • How we personally benefit from, and are harmed by, acts of individual and institutional cultural stereotyping, discrimination and oppression.

Cultural Knowledge

All staff will work to acquire knowledge and understanding of consumers, other staff, and business affiliates, in the context of:

  • Family group and community structures, hierarchies, values and beliefs.
  • Cultural manifestations in clinical, business and personal interactions.
  • Cultural characteristics of clinical, personal and business communication.
  • The impacts of culture on personality development, life choices, coping strategies, interactions with others in various roles, sense of well-being, negotiating processes, help-seeking behaviors and satisfaction with services.
  • The effect of exclusion, poverty, immigration, racism, homophobia and internalized stereotypes on members of diverse groups.
  • The potential bias in clinical assessment and evaluation instruments, and procedures used to interpret findings, based on cultural characteristics of consumers.
  • The potential of encountering cultural bias in staff, business affiliates, and others in the community, and the impacts of such bias.

Cultural Skills

All staff will work to increase their cultural skills in order to provide quality services by:

  • Being aware of the dynamics of difference in all interactions (face to face, phone, written communication, etc.) with others.
  • Using language that is inclusive, and interacting in the preferred language of the consumer or as requested by the consumer.
  • Actively working to eliminate personal and institutional biases, prejudices and discriminatory practices.

In addition, clinical staff will work to increase their clinical cultural skills by:

  • Actively considering and incorporating not only differential diagnostic and other clinical information, but also the cultural beliefs and values of the consumer and his/her community in providing assistance.
  • Adequately conveying to the consumer his/her treatment rights, the goals and limits of treatment, and the counselor’s orientation as it relates to cultural issues presented by the consumer.
  • Seeking out consultation with and incorporating help from traditional healers, cultural guides, religious/spiritual practitioners and helping networks.
  • Helping consumers identify cultural values and norms, and how culture may impact their lives.
  • Demonstrating and documenting culturally sensitive or culturally specific assessments, treatment plans, interventions and supports.

These principles are derived in part from the writings of: Derald Wing Su, et al., “Multicultural Counseling Competencies and Standards: A Call to the Profession;” CASSP Monograph, “Towards A Culturally Competent System of Care;” American Psychological Association, “Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services to Ethnic, Linguistic, and Culturally Diverse Populations;” and Journey’s 1993-1994 Cultural Competence Committee.