The situation which led to a thorough review and evaluation of cultural competence is the supervisor’s take on multicultural issues under the context of a particular issue with a client. Emma is African-American who was having problems with her family. Emma has a child with his partner, Arnold. Although they are not married, Emma lives with Arnold and the rest of his family under one roof. Emma wants to be counseled about how she should solve her problems, particularly with Arnold as they always argue with each other. Their problems and conflicts never seem to end that at one point she asked a pastor what she should do.
The pastor told her that the real problem is that they are not married, and their sinful life of living together and having a child without being married is causing all their problems. Moreover, the pastor advised Emma that marriage will solve her problems with Arnold. The supervisor, a Caucasian-American male, had little experience with working with individuals from the African-American cultural background. For this reason, the supervisor had no choice but to approach the case like any other cases despite the different Emma’s cultural background. Although he feels guilt about this, he still continued to administer standard services for Emma.
Furthermore, the supervisor believes that Emma’s reason for letting religion solve her problems is an escape to face the reality that what she needs is to leave Arnold’s house and family with her child, get a job, and live independently to avoid the conflicts and arguments with Arnold and lessen the stress and pressure that she feels. Rating the supervisor’s cultural competence, on a scale of one to ten – that is, one being the lowest and ten the highest – I would say that his rating is three. He has displayed numerous behaviors and way of thinking that does not support cultural competence in the workplace in any way.
First, he admits to not having experience on working with individuals from the African-American cultural background. Second, he decided to apply the standard counseling services and assessment for Emma despite her cultural background. Third, he did not considering doing research on the African-American culture despite his admission of incompetence regarding the particular cultural background. Fourth, he made assumptions as to the kind of relationship Emma has with Arnold and his family. Cultural competence requires the highest degree of knowledge, understanding, and skills in handling cases rooting from diverse cultural reasons.
It is not limited to one’s culture, and is not required upon one’s contact with clients and individuals who do not share the same cultural background. As the profession is expected to deal with diverse cultural situations, it is the responsibility of professionals to obtain as much knowledge, skills, and competencies as they can on varied types and structures of cultural backgrounds and settings so as to gain experience on how future complex situations that has something to with cultural differences and diversity is to be handled professionally, appropriately, and efficiently.
Improving the cultural competency of the supervisor, and any other professionals for that matter requires intensive training and learning experiences. Counselors should seek training and other forms of learning experiences where in they will be able to obtain skills and competencies on multicultural concepts. However, the first thing that the supervisor should do is to obtain evaluation or assessment tools on his level of cultural competency. Through the results of the evaluation and assessment, he will be able to identify his strengths and weaknesses as a counselor under the context of cultural competency.
Moreover, the results or outcomes evaluation and assessment will allow him to determine what areas of the multicultural landscape he should work on and what skills and competencies to maintain or develop. After obtaining and considering the results or outcomes of the assessment, the supervisor is prepared to determine what ways or means he will be able to achieve cultural competencies by forming goals and objectives. These cultural competency goals and objectives will allow him to follow a clear path on how the training and education will continue.
In addition, the goals and objectives will determine what types or strategies, techniques, or approaches will fit his needs and requirements. Whatever the cultural competency need may be, ACA suggests that professionals seeking for cultural competency guidance seek consultation from other professionals who are knowledgeable on the field of multiculturalism, obtain access to learning materials and educational programs that offer lessons or courses on multicultural concepts, ask help and assistance from individuals who will serve as resource persons for the kinds and structures of diverse cultures.
In this way, they will be able to obtain first-hand information from individuals who experienced practicing and observing distinct cultural traditions, beliefs, practices, etc. and will be able to understand fully the depth and meaning of diverse cultures. Overall, ACA recommends that professional seek learning and education continually, as trends in approaching cultural issues and problems are changing according to the transforming landscape of various races and ethnic groups.
For instance, ACA acknowledges that racial and ethnic groups are continually striving for equality in terms of being recognized of their cultural identities and worldviews while eliminating prejudice and bias. Aside from the practical training and learning experiences, professionals should look into the possibilities and necessities of transforming their worldviews in terms of looking into their personal beliefs and convictions. Counseling professionals should be open about working under different scopes of cultural backgrounds.
They should learn to respect and acknowledge the kind of beliefs, rituals, points of view, and thoughts that their clients have even if they do not agree with theirs. This constitutes professionalism, such that the practice is morphed to fit the various contexts of cultural diversity and individual differences. In addition, immersing themselves in various cultural backgrounds will help them obtain first-hand information on them. This may be done by experiencing the actual culture through field work and community assistance, and such.
In addition, this helps foster desirable communication lines and relationships. In addition, being involved with diverse cultural backgrounds allows professionals to share their knowledge and skills in educating individuals from different cultures. This is another recommendation from ACA, that professionals be able not only to obtain knowledge and skills on the matter, but also to share to their clients the problems, conflicts, and other important facts that surround cultural diversity.