In order for us to work with individuals of diverse backgrounds, we must become culturally competent. One of the most salient features is knowledge of particular ethnic groups. This includes knowledge of a group’s diversity, history, culture and contemporary reality. There are five elements for becoming culturally competent:
1. Value Diversity/Awareness and Acceptance of Differences – understand the way the “person/client” defines health and family.
2. Self-Awareness – understand how one’s own culture influences how one thinks and acts.
3. Be conscious of the dynamics inherent when cultures interact – two people may misjudge the other’s actions based on learned expectations. Both will bring culturally prescribed patterns of communication, etiquette and problem solving. Also both may bring stereotypes or underlying feelings about working with someone who is different. Without an understanding of their cultural differences, misinterpretations or misjudgements may occur.