Diversity and Cultural Competence in Family Therapy

Better Essays
Diversity and Cultural Competence in Family Therapy

A therapist will face problems, issues and client troubles everyday. The professional must understand how their client relates to the world around them. These feelings and ideas affect how the client sees the problem and how they respond to their situation. Their actions, in turn, have bearing on individual thoughts, needs, and emotions. The therapist must be aware of the client's history, values, and culture in order to provide effective therapy. This paper will outline and provide information as to the importance of cultural competence and diversity in family therapy.

What is Cultural Competence?

Culture can be defined as behaviors exhibited by certain racial, religious, social or ethnic groups. Some factors in which culture may vary include: family structure, education, and socioeconomic status (Kodjo, 2009). Some may think cultural competence is something that has an end point, however, when the big picture is seen, it is a learning process and journey. From the writer’s perspective, the client-therapist relationship can be challenging. Culturally competent therapists must realize that behaviors are shaped by an individual’s culture. Many changes are taking place within the United States cultural makeup. Therapists and healthcare professionals are being challenged to provide effective and sensitive care for patients and their families. This type of culturally sensitive care requires the professional to be open and seek understanding in the patients diverse belief systems (Kodjo, 2009).

The therapist must be aware of individual values and beliefs in order to develop an understanding of why the client responds to certain life-stressors. For e...

... middle of paper ...

...ent client populations, and know that one method may or may not work for each individual in the same group. The clinician must be able to adapt to diversity and the ever changing needs and preferences of patients.



Hastings, C. (2002). So, how do you become culturally competent? Family Therapy Magazine, 1(2), 18-24.

Kodjo, C. (2009, February,2009). Cultural competence in clinician communication [Pediatr Rev]. Pub Med Central, 30(2), 57-64. doi:10.1542/pir.30-2-57

Shiraev, E. B., & Levy, D. A. (2010). Cross-cultural psychology: Critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.

Wells, S. A. (2007). On cultural competency and ethical practice. Retrieved from

What is cultural competency? (2012). Retrieved from
Get Access