Multicultural Competency Paper Kim Nores University of Phoenix PSYCH/535 Nino Kakulia 10/15/2012 As a psychologist it is imperative to be able to understand different cultures. We should be aware of our own biases, perceptions, attitudes and beliefs that we hold about culturally different groups. We should also be knowledgeable about the values, practices and experiences of individuals who are culturally different from ourselves. We should also be aware of our strengths and weakness in interacting with other cultures and how we can go about addressing those shortcomings.
According to guidelines #1 and #2 in the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines for multicultural education, training, research, practice and organizational change for psychologists (2003) psychologists should be aware that they hold differing attitudes and beliefs that can detrimentally influence individuals of different cultures and also that it is important to be culturally sensitive and understanding of individuals of different cultures and to be knowledgeable of those cultures. Biases, Perceptions, Attitudes, and Beliefs that I Might Hold about Culturally Different Groups
While I acknowledge that I am a cultural being, and that I was raised in a specific culture and by parents who had very specific biases and attitudes about different cultural groups, I do not feel that I have any biases or attitudes against culturally different groups. I do have perceptions about culturally different groups as well beliefs. To me bias and attitude hold negative connotations and imply that the individuals who hold bias and attitudes are governed by them. I do not believe this to be the case with myself. While I do hold perceptions and beliefs about culturally different groups, these do not hold a negative connotation to me.
By holding these perceptions and beliefs I am acknowledging that these groups are in fact different and that that is perfectly acceptable. How Attitudes or Perceptions Influence My Interaction with Individuals Who Are Culturally Different from Myself When I am interacting with individuals who are culturally different from me I tend to be very aware of any cultural signals they may be sending me. These can include an accents, a manner of speech as well as non verbal communication like gestures. Often when interacting with an individual of a different culture their beliefs and value systems are also evident in the subject matter.
Whatever belief system they hold, I strive to be aware and accepting of any differences that I may notice and to take the differences into consideration when formulating my response to them. My Knowledge About the Values, Practices, and Experiences of Individuals who are Culturally Different from Myself While I have always lived in the same country and in fact, in the same state my entire life I feel that I am quite knowledgeable about different cultures. I am not well traveled and have not had the honor of learning about other cultures in their native homelands. This is something that I hope to be able to do one day.
In the meantime, I endeavor to learn about other cultures here at home. In my job I encounter many different cultures as my state California and my specific region, the Bay Area is a very culturally diverse and rich area. Not only am I exposed to these different cultures I often work with them in their homes where I am given a first hand, closer experience of their cultures. My work entails helping them to manage their children’s behaviors and in doing so, I have learned quite a bit about the beliefs of each individual culture concerning the raising of their children and family life in general.
This is something that I very much enjoy and wish to continue. My Strengths and Weaknesses in Interacting with Culturally Different Individuals and How I Might Address Shortcomings My biggest strength in interacting with culturally different individuals is that I am an open minded person and very accepting of other’s belief systems. Even if I do not agree with an individual’s belief system, I can acknowledge the fact that it governs their actions and reactions and effects the way that they perceive other’s actions and reactions.
My biggest weakness in interacting with culturally different individuals is that I tend to have a difficult time with cultures that are intolerant of other’s beliefs and are inflexible in changing or adapting their own beliefs. The only way that I can address this shortcoming is to remain true to my biggest strength and to be accepting of the fact that some cultures are indeed this way and that that is their choice and to remain patient with them. In conclusion, I feel that I am a culturally sensitive and aware individual.
I also feel that I am open minded and willing to take new information from individuals and learn about new aspects of different cultures. While I feel that I am strong in this area I also acknowledge that cultural diversity is a very wide topic and that there will always be something new for me to be open with and aware of. References American Psychological Association. (2003, May). Guidelines on multicultural education, training, research, practice, and organizational change for psychologists. American Psychologist, 58(5), 377.