Cultural Competency In Social Work

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1. Summary of Issue My cultural background causes me to be curious about cultural competence, and as a future social worker, I think it is important that I am able to understand what it means. With the never-ending string of racially charged violence, protests against the governement, and all other actions carried out my disadvantaged groups, it has caused me to look at myself and the concept of white privlage that I have. I have always known I was not well-rehearsed in the understanding of other cultures, but it was not until things really started to blow up in the public eye that I realized how much different the experiences others have are from my own, and how little I actually picked up on those differences even though I thought I was…show more content…
It would be extremely hard for a social worker to empathize and engage with a client of a different background if they were unwilling to respect the client’s culture by possessing at least slight knowledge of it. The ultimate goal with cultural competence is to provide a better outcome for the client, which may mean that the social worker must step out of their comfort zone and educate themselves on biological, psychological, and spiritual beliefs that are different than their own. For example, suppose the client adhears to their culture’s belief that speaking about personal issues to family is not allowed. As a social worker, it means you have to respect that the client cannot use his or her family as a support system, and must work with them to identify who can be of some support to them, even if it is only you. Although the example does not sound extreme, we live in a culture where openness and family closeness is expected, so working with someone who does not share that view could potentially be…show more content…
At these levels, you really are looking at the culture as a whole and not just how it affects an individual. An indivudal client may not subscribe to all of their cultural beliefs and practices, but you do not know which ones they might until you begin working with them, so it is important to have a grasp of the cultural as a whole and a willingness to respect all aspects of it. It can be a challenge to understand the differences between groups in each culture, but awareness and willingness are key. As an example, I personally have become friends with someone who is Native American, and she has told me about the culture and beliefs they learn in her tribe. She has also emphasized to me that her subgroup is different from the larger tribe, and the larger tribe is different from the “umbrella” we place all Native Americans under. I found myself eager to learn and understand parts of her culture and her upbringing, but I was self-aware enough to know I could never truly understand what living in her culture is like. As a social worker, if a client came to me and told me things such as, “I must perform rituals before I step onto my land if a spirit has attached itself to me” or “we spend days celebrating, as a community, each young girl entering puberty” I would have to take into account that these traditions are extremely different that what I expereience, and speak to her in a way

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