Capstone Section 1: Multicultural Competence
In this section of the Capstone Project I will address the knowledge and skills I have learned in the JMSW Program in regard to multicultural competence. I will first outline the knowledge I have acquired on multicultural competence from courses in the curriculum. Next I will delineate the ethical issues that impact this part of my practice as a professional social worker. Then I will demonstrate my skill development through the completion of a paper on the cycle of socialization, where I was able to apply my knowledge on this area of practice and therefore learn its application to real life client situations. In addition, I will indicate which of the ten core competencies I further developed from the knowledge and skills I have acquired in this area of social work practice. The courses where I have primarily acquired knowledge on this area of practice have included Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families, Social Work Practice with Human Diversity, and Social Work in Health and Mental Health I. Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families provided me with the foundational practice skills necessary to serve clients from diverse cultures. Through course work and discussion in this I learned that establishing a therapeutic relationship is the first and most important component of any intervention. In practice, learning to be mindful of and open to the learning about your client through the application of multicultural competence can greatly enhance the therapeutic relationship and in turn lead to better outcomes. Clients’ diverse backgrounds, culture, race, gender, ethnicity, and past experiences are all part of their identity being sensitive to these differences is extremely important. Having a working knowledge of core values identified by particular nationalities, religions, and/or ethnic backgrounds can be extremely helpful however, but it is even more important to recognize that each client is the expert of their own culture and personal experience. Our Social Work Practice with Human Diversity course focused the importance of social workers understanding the individual in context of their culture. This course also allowed me to gain some foundational knowledge of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Through research, course work, and class discussion we covered various effects of topics such as oppression, privilege, discrimination, and institutionalized racism on society. This course provided me with the foundational understanding of cultural competence and diversity. It has helped to prepare me for future work with diverse and oppressed populations. In Social Work in Health and Mental Health I, I expanded on the knowledge and culturally competent practice skills acquired from Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families. This course stressed the importance culturally competent clinicians. As such, we must take in to account a client’s cultural beliefs, history, and background as in integral part of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. It is vital to inquire about clients’ cultural views during assessment and to be mindful of such during treatment. Encouraging this dialogue when possible us to get a more holistic picture of our client. Understanding your client’s culture is important in being able to provide an accurate and effective assessment, diagnosis and intervention. In regard to social work ethics I have learned that cultural competence is particularly relevant to ensuring ethical practice. I now understand that following the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics, in terms of multicultural competence, means that as social workers we must seek to have a working knowledge of the world and people around us. We as clinicians must strive to understand clients’ culture, engage in dialogue about social diversity and oppression, and incorporate all this information into service. Cultural competence in the...
References: Harro, B. (2008). The cycle of socialization. In M. Adams, et al. (Ed.), Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (2 ed., pp. 134-135). New York: Routledge.
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