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Multicultural Competency Paper

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Multicultural Competency Paper
Multicultural Psychology 535
Dr. Mary Ann Cejki, M.S., Ph.D.

Multicultural Competency
Guideline 1: Psychologists are encouraged to recognize that, as cultural beings, they may hold attitudes and beliefs that can detrimentally influence their perceptions of and interactions with individuals who are ethnically and racially different from themselves (American Psychological Association, 2003). I agree that psychologist can hold many different beliefs concerning others. The beliefs can sometimes hinder a person from growing emotionally, and cognitively. In my opinion it is important for the professional to be familiar with the diversity that may exist in their patients and remain professional in their attitude and beliefs. This can include cultural heritage, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status just to name a few. Sometimes, it is difficult to suppress those feelings but repeated “attempts at suppression lead to improvements in automatic biases” (Plant & Devine, 1998).
Guideline 2: Psychologists are encouraged to recognize the importance of multicultural sensitivity/responsiveness to, knowledge of, and understanding about ethnically and racially different individuals (American Psychological Association, 2003). I believe this is a very true statement base on personal experience. I believe that it is important to have knowledge of multicultural sensitivity for a better understanding of the clients in the psychology field. It is necessary to understand the culture and environment that a person has grown up to understand their behavior. I agree that by attending diversity trainings and being aware of the differences in people, the psychologist or mental health professional can make a patient feel much more comfortable. When patients are comfortable and do not feel as though they are being criticized or the victim of prejudices, they are able to receive the help that they need.
When I was younger I was told that all Asians are born extremely intelligent, they never had to study or work hard to get good grades because they were gifted that way; these beliefs are obviously prejudicial and racist. As I matured and developed some meaningful relationships with several Asians I found out that what I was taught was merely a myth and that Asians have to study and work hard to get good grades and accomplish all that they have accomplished. A belief could be the way that someone is raised and if their beliefs because of the way that they were raised are to be either prejudice or even racist. Automatic biases and attitudes may also lead to miscommunication since normal behavior in one context may not necessarily be understood or valued in another or even understood in another culture (“Guidelines “, 2003).
My attitude and perception might definitely influence the way I interact with people who are culturally different from me. For example, in most cases, people have friends of all different cultures as well as different ethnicities. One will usually always act the same way around their friends but in some cases, you have to be aware and sometimes sensitive to what you are saying because you might offend someone with what you say or do and that person could take it offensively. A perception that one could have towards a person who is culturally different from them is the way one talks to people of a different culture. A good example of this would be to assume that all African-Americans talk with a broken dialect of the English language, have no father in the home and are uneducated; to have a perception of this would not be open-minded, and it would definitely have an influence on the way one interacts with another.
I feel that I am knowledgeable of the values, practices and experience of individuals who are culturally different than me because I have worked with people who are culturally different than me for most of my life, I take in consideration that my upbringing , morals and values have shaped and form my thinking for the best. I may not be familiar with every culture; however taking the time and respecting the way a person is; has opened the doors of communication for me, thus leading me to develop some special bonds with people of different cultures. I am the product of a military upbringing, which allowed me to live in different parts of the world. This allowed me and my family to explore what other cultures are like as well as realize that Americans and our way of life is not the only culture that exists on the entire planet. I realized that the negative perceptions that other Americans had of people of German and Asian descent was directly related to lack of exposure and an unwillingness to educate ourselves about other cultures.
I do not pass judgment towards others however I do expect people to show me the same understanding and respect that I show them. I also take in consideration that their life experience may influence them to have biases, perceptions and an attitude towards me. Another one of my strengths is my ability to see people for where they are and not where they should be. I worked in human services for well over 20 years in some form or fashion. I have had exposure with a vast array of different populations that included the mentally challenged, homeless, substance abusers, geriatrics, and people with HIV and AID’s. All of my relationships were very unique; I always learned and took something away from every one of them. One of the shortcomings that I still struggle with is the high expectations that I place on my closest friends and family, and when they fail to reach the expectations I usually exhibit disappointment or disapproval.

American Psychological Association (2003). Guidelines on multicultural-education, training, research, practice and organization change for psychologist. 58 (5) 377.
Plant, E. & Devine, P. (1998). Internal and external motivation to respond without prejudice.…...

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