Sensitivity

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We recognize that clients who perceive their counselor as multiculturally competent also report improved psychological well-being (Dillon et al., 2016). Through the heightened consciousness of an individual’s experience of cultural similarities and differences within a social context we can improve cultural sensitivity. Through seeking to comprehend unique understanding and expression of culture and personal worldview as well as valuing, respecting, and promoting an individual’s diversity without judgement we can improve overall well-being (APA, 2017; ACA, 2015; NASW, 2015). 

The American Psychological Association in their 2017 cultural competencies acknowledged that pathology and psychological diagnoses are often contextualized to Eurocentric ideals. Leading to the recognition that multiculturalism without strong research is in danger of becoming an empty political value, and evidence based practice without cultural sensitivity risks irrelevancy (Morales and Norcross, 2010). “For effective assessment, determining the cultural context of the illness is essential" (Sue & Sue, 2016 p. 444). It is imperative that mental health professionals actively seek out support and tools that concentrate on cultural components.    

According to the CLAS standards, the health system is responsible for providing “effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication needs.” These are practices we actively and continually work towards improving.