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Cross-Cultural Competencies in Human Service Work

Human beings are distinguished by race, religion, or socio-economic backgrounds. A study of cross-cultural competencies is an important subject in the human service professions and especially in counseling. Counselors are trained to deal with different kind of clients, who have diverse problems. Therefore, it is necessary to have background knowledge of the client’s cultural heritage, which at times may crash with that of the counselor (Royse, Thyer, & Padgett, 2009). The subject has been of great help to counselors in the US where there are mixed races, religions, social-economic and cultural heritage factors that distinguish characteristics of the vast population of clients.

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Prisoners face social stigma in any given society. However, in a country like the US where people of different cultural heritages, prisoners are treated differently based on their race, cultural heritage, religion, and social-economic background. The most common misconception among human race is in prison and especially in the US. For instance, an African-American prisoner is perceived to be in prison by right due to the misconception that such people are brutal, and thus vulnerable to committing social crimes. On the other hand, a white American prisoner is perceived to be in prison either for committing a crime wrongly or for unjustified reasons because white people are perceived not to be criminals. The only common conception is that the judgment is done fairly according to the evidence presented to the jurists, and thus nobody is convicted wrongly.

The reading on cross-cultural competence helps one to relate with these populations effectively and positively. The study depicts that human beings have more common characteristics than differences, and thus a person working as a human service professional ought to handle these populations equally. However, the study does not ignore some differences that are commonly notable among people although the majority of differences exist due to misconceptions rather than the reality. For instance, African-American prisoners may be perceived to be in prison by their right since there is a misconception directed to their race. Interestingly, some differences exist among the African American race, which are confined to cultural heritages and geographical origins. Therefore, a human service professional is advised to ignore the misconceptions that are commonly used to pass judgments against clients and instead understand the cultural heritage and competencies that a client possesses.

As a future human service professional, cross-cultural competencies will help me to evaluate a client with a positive attitude by considering some factors associated with the client’s cultural heritage, religion, race, and social economic background. Cross-cultural competencies depict that a counselor, as a human service professional, considers the clients’ two main competency areas, which include language and discriminatory practices.

An African-American client uses a different language from that of a Latin American. Therefore, a counselor will need to understand how each client communicates and avoid making any efforts towards leading a client to use another form of language. According to a white American counselor, an African American male client may seem to use an abusive language. Consequently, it important to give a client room to use the language that s/he is conversant with culturally.

Secondly, a counselor ought to understand the discriminatory practices that affect a client. For instance, an African American prisoner perceives discrimination as the cause of all forms of suffering that this race goes through in the US. Therefore, a client is likely to talk about some things that depict a form of discrimination in the course of a counseling session. A counselor is thus advised not to overreact or impose a probe into such issue, but rather focus on the main goal of the session.

Reference

Royse, D., Thyer, B., & Padgett, D. (2009). Program Evaluation: An Introduction to an Evidence-Based Approach. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, October 2). Cross-Cultural Competencies in Human Service Work. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/cross-cultural-competencies-in-human-service-work/

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