top of page

Culturally Competent Clinicians

What are you doing to maintaining personal and professional cultural competence? What are you doing improvements when you find you are experiencing limitations to being a culturally competent clinician? These are self-evaluative questions we should always have in mind to support best practice pertaining to cultural competence in behavioral health services.

HHS Office of Minority Health merged several existing definitions to conclude the following:

“Cultural and linguistic competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. “Culture” refers to integrated patternsof human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious,or social groups. “Competence” implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities." (SAMHSA, 2014).

Culturally competence counselors are self-aware. They are aware of their own values, biases, stereotypes, assumptions and beliefs about their own and other cultural groups. While it does involve knowledge and skill, it also involves ongoing self-evaluation. Below are some questions to consider in self-evaluation:

Cultural Awareness. How do I explore my own cultural heritage? How do my perceptions, biases, beliefs, stereotypes influence my perceptions, interactions and decisions about my clients?

Cultural Identify. What is my cultural identity? What is my ethnic or racial identity? How does my beliefs or attitudes influence my perception or interpretation of my client’s conduct or behavior?

Cultural Worldview. How do I see, experience, and interpret the world and others in the world around me?

Stereotypes, Prejudices, and History. How have I been (in)directly affected by individual, organizational, or societal stereotypes, prejudices or discrimination? How do my beliefs or attitudes deter me or others from obtaining equitable opportunities?

Trust and Power. What is my understanding of trust and power? How have I observed it in my personal life? How have I observed it in the context of the treatment? In the client-counselor relationship?

Practicing Within Limits. Am I practicing within the scope of professional practice; from a context of cultural competence?

Reference: Cultural Competencies. TIP 59: Quick Guide for Clinicians (2014). SAMHSA.

3 views0 comments
bottom of page