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3  Diversity can’t be narrowly defined. It’s simply embracing and celebrating the differences we all embody. It includes age, race, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, region, religion, language, level of education, personality, differences in life experience, rank within hierarchy, and other characteristics that form one’s perspective.

4  Everyone is a member of several diversity groups.  Each of those groups has its own set of norms, rules, beliefs, and practices that make it different from other groups.

5  Having respect for cultural differences, learning basic characteristics of other cultures, can help you avoid misunderstandings and offending others unintentionally.  Many U.S. citizens still retain identification with their own ethnic group and, consequently, may have different needs and values from the dominant group. For instance, researchers have noted that minority groups have different cultural values and biases concerning career and family.

6  Communication is an area that can be especially challenging for those uninformed about cultural differences. A simple nod of the head or smile may be interpreted as something you had not intended.  For example, around the world a smile can relay many emotions, not just happiness or pleasure as in the U.S.  In Japan, people smile when they are sad, angry, confused, and happy. Asians smile to show disagreement, anger, confusion, and frustration. Some people from Japan and Asia will not smile for official photos, such as passport photos, because these are considered serious occasions and they do not want to look as if they are not taking the situation

7  Eye contact varies around the world as well. If a client will not look you in the eye when speaking, do not take it as an insult.  People from Asia, Haiti, and Latin American cultures avoid eye contact as a sign of respect.

8  Talk slowly and clearly. It may sound simplistic, but don’t shout at people if they don’t understand why you are saying. Restate the statement in a different way or repeat it more slowly.  When speaking, avoid using slang and common idioms. Idioms, such as “in the long run”, “no kidding”, or “barking up the wrong tree”, can cause confusions for non-native English speakers.

9  Many cultures have difficulty saying “no” to a request, and some may say “yes” when the answer is really “no”. Carefully phrase questions so that they can be answered positively. For example, “What can I do to help you achieve your goal?”  Of course, clients should be referred to services/providers that speak their language if possible. Even though some clients may have enough skills to speak English, they may be more comfortable communicating emotions and personal details of their life in their native language

10  People in the U.S. generally call each other by their first names, but this is not true of all cultures. Ask people how they would like to be addressed. Make sure to call them by the name they give you, not the U.S. equivalent or nickname, unless they prefer it. If you have difficulty saying their name, ask for the correct pronunciation.

11  Everyone is included in the definition of diversity. To understand specific populations it is important to narrow the focus, however we are all diverse.  Even as we isolate one particular group, there is still diversity in that group. For example, let’s focus on age. Does every 50 year old have the same values, goals, interests, beliefs, etc.? Of course not. So we must always remember while we can associate generalities to groups, every group is made up of unique individuals.

12  Generalization research about a particular culture is only one aspect of really understanding your patient. It comes down to developing that one-on-one relationship with all your patient so you are NOT generalizing or stereotyping.

13  “Understanding the person sitting next to you means first understanding how they got there.”  When they talk about their experiences, they feel they are building a relationship, and there is a trust that builds

14  Many minority groups (ethnic, gender, age, etc.) may feel they are less likely to receive services because of prejudice against them. They may be reluctant to seek help because they don’t believe anyone will help them.

15  Patients who belong to a racial or ethnic minority may have partners who use their common experiences with prejudice and understandable fear of prejudice to discourage seeking services.  They may suggest that they are “selling out” to “the white man” by seeking help outside their own community.  Additionally, the patient may be concerned about encountering prejudice from staff, volunteers, other clients, and the judicial system.

16  Many times we tend to promote a “one-size- fits-all” solution based on our perceptions and do not account for all of the important intersection of race, culture, etc. One person is not indicative of a whole race, age group, gender, religion, etc.  Keep in mind that there are sub-cultures within a culture. Is the person you are speaking to coming from a life of poverty? Middle class? Wealth? Are they religious? Non-Religious? Etc. All of these factors make a difference in how you communicate with that person

17  Also, OUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES and information from our families, friends, and culture tend to form our perceptions of another culture, when we really do not have all the information.

18 very general information on some of the basic cultures we interact with

19  Persons of color comprise highly varied populations and make diverse choices in coping, functioning and empowering themselves.  They are highly diverse with regard to economic status, family structure, occupations, and lifestyle.  In addition, differences exist within the same ethnic and racial group.

20  An acculturated person of color is one who has chosen to assimilate into while society and has rejected the general attitudes, behavior, customs, and rituals of their culture of origin.  A bicultural person of color has pride in his/her racial and cultural identity and yet is comfortable operating in the “white” world.

21  A culturally immersed person of color has openly rejected white values, embracing the identity and traditions of his/her cultural group.  A person of color with a traditional interpersonal style usually has limited contact outside their community of color, may be older or newly immigrated, and speaks only the language of his/her traditional culture.

22  Depending on a person’s place in the acculturation process, the challenges to helping him/her address their problems vary.  While there is a great diversity among people of color, they all face one common barrier…the racism in our culture.

23  More matriarchal family: oldest women is the leader; however man is head of household (Immediate family)  Extended families (not necessarily blood relative)  Take care of their own problems  Mistrust of white system/conflicted loyalty  Religion important (especially the women)  If man can’t provide for family (drugs, etc) he is out of the house; however if he reforms, he can come back  Many homes are in women’s name only  Women handle disciplining of children  Women handle money (buy his clothes, shop, bills)

24  Women do not answer the door (men’s friends not allowed in house unless husband is home)  Men do not open the mail  Touching and hugging common  Sundays – family meals  No disrespecting mothers  Will go to great lengths to take in children, parents, and other relatives so they don’t have to access services (nursing homes, counseling, foster care, etc.) Rather do without than access services  Some cultures (i.e. Haitian, eye contact sign of disrespect)  More accepting of individuality in children (gay, etc.)  Women taught that they must learn to support themselves in case husband leaves

25  Patriarchal family system  Extended families (usually blood relative)  Religion high priority  Counseling more common with religious leaders  Eye contact sign of disrespect  No support from family for accessing services outside culture  Distrust of “white” system  More comfortable speaking in their own language when they are discussing feelings and emotions  Sense of pride is paramount (men must provide for families)

26  Women are more passive (can work, but preferred not)  Keep race pure  Son’s education more important than daughters  Men responsible for discipline of children  Mothers are sacred (especially for sons)  Celebrations, holidays, groups activities within culture, highly important  Dinner is family event  Use of formal and informal language and addressing people depending on relationship….others using familiar tense of language disrespectful  No familiar touching, expect with very close friends or family….even within family…no touch of face….sign of disrespect

27  Extended family (usually blood relative)  Family’s goals more important than goals of the one  Unequal status between men and women  Contacting outside sources for help may bring “shame” to family  Direct eye contact disrespectful  May smile when angered, confused, sad, etc. will appear to be calm  Emotional control highly important  Assuming responsibility for problems considered virtuous  Socialized NOT to question authority

28  Mistrust of “white” system  Use Medicine Man and follow traditional customs (charms, etc.)  Little family support for those adults with problems  Clans still exist  Depending on subsidization, may not work  Traditions and celebrations highly prized  If traditional, do not understand counseling for “specific” problem because we are one with nature and the “problem” is just part of the process for now

29  Close knit group  Mistrust of systems created for heterosexual world  Must work/interact with homophobic society  Disclosing problems help foster myths about gay/lesbian culture  Hypersensitivity to treatment in media/society  Secretive due to career, family, denial  Society accepts overt hostility and homophobia natural  The higher education/status….more accepted in heterosexual society, more expected from gay/lesbian community  Can be uncomfortable in discussions about personal life  Lesbian Utopia  Homosexuality (myth/perception…all about sex)  My problems/challenges can affect the way my family is perceived

30  Internalized gender roles  “Don’t air dirty laundry”  Behaviors in the 40’s/50’s perceived as normal are now stigmatized  More money/less likely to seek services  Seen and treated by a large part of society like children or non-persons  Internalized abuse as “normal” relationship  May be more conservative with money  Not open to services ….. stigmatized  May have lack of self-esteem due to health related/dependency issues  May be isolated

31  Extremely close-knit culture  Type of disability determines social group  Society’s denial of their problems  Often patronized and treated as children  Isolation  Seek services only when absolutely necessary because they encounter people who are uncomfortable around them or discriminate

32  These are some very basic cultural generalities. They are not indicative of the entire culture, or of specific individuals living within that culture. In other words, regardless of what culture we come from, we are all still individuals with our own beliefs and actions that may support or split away from what our general culture believes and their behavioral norms.

33  The most appropriate way to begin with any patient is to have some understating of their particular culture, then ask “How can I help you achieve your goals”. Establishing rapport with each individual client is different based on not only the cultural “rules”, but also asking the client about themselves as individuals within that culture.

34 Ask permission  Show interest in the client’s culture when establishing rapport.  Ask if it is appropriate to ask questions  Ask how they would like to be addressed (Ms., Miss, Mr., etc.)  When questioning about domestic violence, explain WHAT confidentiality means.

35  You can start by stating that violence in relationships is common and that you ask these questions of all your patients. (Getting information on her/his culture builds rapport.)  Validate their feelings  Let them know it is not their fault  Let them know it is a crime  Explain options (Resource services)

36 ABUSE COUNSELING & TREATMENT, INC. (ACT) 239-939-3112 (24 HOURS) Cultural Diversity Training Completed Click Here


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