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Multicultural Competency in Psychology Research Paper

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Updated: Aug 20th, 2019

Introduction

There is a great diversity in the field of culture. Culture covers aspects like race, gender, language, values and beliefs and is developed from a combination of individual uniqueness and organizational or environment characteristics. Different people and communities have different cultural values and beliefs in regard to daily life.

It is usually a hard task to understand and accept different cultures and people find themselves perceiving their own culture as the best compared to the other cultures and in most cases tend to treat communities with different cultures negatively. People find themselves discriminating others on the grounds of religion, ethnicity, language, physical location, sexual relations, educational background etc.

Multicultural competency is an aspect that tries to counter the cultural differences issues by teaching on the spirit of appreciating other cultures irrespective of the differences that prevail.

Multicultural Competency in Psychology

It is natural to develop strong personal ethnicity and identity as one grows from childhood to adulthood. Although this is inevitable, it is usually good to learn and appreciate others by developing an inclusive identity and perception. Psychologists are faced with the problem of cultural differences since they deal with a wide variety of people each with different ways of life.

The psychologist should be able to learn and understand the minds of people and try to identify where people behave the way they do as the job requires. A psychologist should be cautious and sensitive in his or her practice with an understanding that there are differences in the ways of life of people and hence they should be treated differently to avoid offending them.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has set guidelines on how the psychologists and other related professionals should carry out their duties in regard to multicultural issues. The principles stresses that psychologists should at all times act as leaders of social justice and foster fairness by avoiding discrimination of any kind (Constantine and Derald, 2005).

Biases, Perceptions, Attitudes, and Beliefs towards Culturally Different Groups

Apart from the fact that psychologists have undergone training on their career aspects they are faced with the problem of cultural differences in their practices. As a psychologist I am bound to have biases, attitude, and beliefs towards people of different cultures. This is because I have my individuality and may find myself treating people of a different cultural background differently.

For example I may be biased on the basis of race where I may treat the whites different from the blacks. I may also find myself discriminating on the basis of language by treating those that we share common language features better than those whose languages are quite different due to the ease of communication between us.

Another cultural issue that would put me into a dilemma is the gender as I tend to perceive women as weak species and hence would treat them with much sensitivity and care than men with the same problem. Religion is another area of concern. I would tend to have biases between Christians and Muslims as I know much on Christianity than I do on the Muslim religion.

Influence of Attitudes or Perceptions on Interaction with Individuals Who Are Culturally Different

Attitudes or perceptions have great influence on how one interacts with people of different cultures. A psychologist should try as much as possible to be objective in his or her practices. I would find myself interacting well and comfortably with those whose culture are same or similar to mine due to the similarities in beliefs and other aspects of life.

It becomes quite hard to interact with people for example with whom you don’t share a common language since foreign languages are not usually easy and some aspects are better explained using a certain language, for instance, mother tongue or national language.

Knowledge on the Values, Practices, and Experiences of Individuals Who Are Culturally Different

It is always a good idea to have some understanding of different beliefs and practices of various cultures to ease in interaction and handling of various aspects of life. The knowledge of different cultures helps psychologists understand their roles and be more sensitive on multicultural issues.

Good knowledge of cultural differences avoids the mistake of assumption of issues due to ignorance and hence treating a person or a situation differently. I do have some knowledge though not much on values and practices of different cultures, for instance, I understand the differences between Islamic and Christian communities, such as, on the way women are treated and the powers they are given.

Strengths and Weaknesses in Interacting With Culturally Different Individuals, And Ways of Addressing the Shortcomings

I consider my ability to learn about other cultures easily as strength. Learning of other cultures helps understand why people behave the way they do making coping with their behavior easy. It also help understand the origin of problems people suffer and help solve them rightfully since some of them are as a result of their social environments and their perceptions of aspects.

My weakness is ignorance of certain aspects of other cultures. One way of overcoming my shortcoming is by identifying my personal biases and looking for ways to change from within myself, accepting the diversity of culture and the fact that we can never be one. This will improve interaction and treatment given to others irrespective of their cultural differences.

It will also be my responsibility to try and be flexible and willing to integrate with diverse cultures through commitment and hard work in learning the values, behaviors, and languages of various communities to ease interaction. It is also advisable to identify and acquire knowledge on various ethnic groups and races.

As a psychologist one should adhere to the code of ethics that govern the profession especially in counseling to ensure that there is no discrimination on cultural differences or other factors (Corey, Corey, and Callan, 2007).

Reference List

Constantine, G.M. and Derald, S.W. (2005). Strategies for Building Multicultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

Corey, G., Corey, M.S. and Callan, P. (2007). Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions, 7th ed. USA: Cengage Learning.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Multicultural Competency in Psychology'. 20 August.

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