Why the Therapist Needs to Be Culturally Competent

Categories: Cultural Competence

People who seek counseling often come from different walks of life and different backgrounds. As such, the need for multicultural counseling has become eminent as populations grow more diverse. The concept of culturally sensitive therapy is based on the therapist's understanding of a patient's background, belief system, as well as ethnicity. The therapists have a role in incorporating cultural sensitivity into their work to respect and accommodate differences in values, opinions, and attitudes of various cultures. As a result of cultural sensitivity, the therapist can gain and maintain cultural competence.

Cultural competence is the ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across an array of cultures. The therapist needs to have this understanding of cultural competence since it is based on characteristics such as age, ethnicity, beliefs, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. This paper will discuss steps taken to ensure the provision of culturally sensitive assessment, diagnosis, and treatment to a patient from a different cultural background.

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Engage Clients

I will create a rapport with the clients by familiarizing them with the treatment program. This is because it is my obligation as the therapist to bridge the gap between the patient and me. I can achieve this through simple gestures such as greetings, facial expressions, and handshakes. To engage the patient, I would commence the treatment procedure using plain, non-psychiatrist language or even engage an interpreter in the intake process. At the onset of the treatment, the patient may feel vulnerable, scared, and uncertain about whether the counseling would help.

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Due to this reason, they must leave feeling hopeful and understand.

Familiarize the patient and the family with treatment and evaluation processes.

It is imperative to note that the patient is typically new to treatment jargon, program expectations, and schedules alongside the intake and treatment process. Because of this, I would walk the patient through the treatment process, beginning with the goal of the initial intake and interview. In most cases, patients from diverse cultural groups often feel more estranged and disconnected from treatment services when therapists fail to offer guidance to them and their families concerning treatment expectations. By taking time to acclimate patients and their families to the treatment process, then I would tackle any obstacle that could impede treatment.

Integrate culturally relevant information and themes.

I would inspect culturally relevant themes to fully understand the patient alongside their cultural strengths and challenges. In a bid to achieve the integration of culturally relevant information and themes, I would dwell on inquiring information bordering in the following areas; Culture and acculturation, immigration history, membership in a sub-culture, beliefs about health, healing, help-seeking, and substance abuse.

Select culturally appropriate screening and assessment tools.

I would strive to employ the use of assessment and screening information in a culturally competent way. When selecting instruments for the therapy, I would consider their cultural applicability to the client being served. If, for instance, I introduce a screening instrument that asks the respondent about drinking, yet the members of that ethnic, cultural, or religious groups prohibit the consumption of alcohol, then the screening instrument is deemed ineffective.


In the case of evaluating and assessing mental and substance use disorders, I would carefully consider the patients' cultural backgrounds. In the process of the diagnosis, I would include the appropriateness of specific test questions, diagnosis criteria as well as psychologically oriented concepts. All this I would do upon assessing the patient's primary language and confirming that the assessment materials correspond to the patient's literacy level and culture.

Incorporate cultural factors into treatment planning.

In the final step of the therapy, I would be mindful of the patient's histories, treatment needs, linguistic requirements, and the availability of interpreters. I would be flexible in designing the treatment plan in line with the patient's cultural beliefs and systems. This, I would achieve through active listening and consideration of the values, beliefs, and expectations of the patient's cultures.

All in all, a consideration of culture is essential insensitive assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of patients from a different cultural background. Therapists ought to incorporate culture-based goals and objectives into diagnosis and treatment to improve treatment outcomes.

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Why the Therapist Needs to Be Culturally Competent. (2022, Jan 10). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/why-the-therapist-needs-to-be-culturally-competent-essay

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