Plan for this workshop An exercise Some basic definitions An overview of cultural competence A description of the anti-oppressive approach The alternative: A blended approach to shape practice Another exercise Wrap up and discussion
The challenge… How do we work across difference when providing services to children, youth and their parents and caregivers?
Some basic definitions Identity: How we see ourselves Shaped by how others see us Changes from time to time, and place to place
Power: Our ability to work towards our goals and make changes in our lives Oppression: A situation where members of a group are prevented from working towards their goals and changing their lives A result of the group that the individual identifies with
Culture: The ideas, norms, beliefs and values shared by a group of people Shapes the way people see the world Helps to guide behaviour Changes over time and across different places Any two people from the same cultural group may interpret and understand ideas, norms, beliefs and values differently
In other words, culture is… Behaviours Artifacts Ceremonies Thoughts Actions Speech Values and ethics
Culture and child and youth mental health Service provision has shifted over time to include a focus on Cultural inferiority/pathology (1960s) Colour blindness (1970s and 1980s) Cultural competency (1990s and 2000s)
Cultural competence A way of providing services that: Recognize and value cultural difference Reflect a knowledge of different cultures Meet culturally unique needs Require particular knowledge, skills and values on the part of workers
Knowledge Attributes of different cultural groups Racism, discrimination, prejudice, etc. and the impact of these on mental health Workers own cultural background and practices Worldview of clients
Skills Empathy Respect Positive communication Helping Flexibility Strong assessment and intervention Knowledge of self and others
Values Need to value cultural diversity and respect its contribution daily life Acknowledge difference Acknowledge that no worldview is superior to another
Limitations of cultural competency At the individual/personal level: Difficult to ever become completely competent At the client level: Overlooks the diversity that exists within cultural groups Views culture as fixed and unchanging
At the professional level: Hard to translate concepts into practical opportunities for development At a broader, system level: Focus is limited to the individual practitioner, not the organizational and social context
The alternative: A blended approach to shape practice
The anti-oppressive approach to practice (AOP) Focuses on power and oppression at micro and macro levels Views identity as a complex web of race, culture, gender, class, etc. Each of these is a site of power dynamics
Because of the diversity of identities people have, we can be someone who is oppressed and someone who oppresses As service providers, our role is to support individuals/families as well as work towards change at organization and system levels
In sum… When used together, cultural competency + an anti-oppressive approach can be useful in guiding the way we work across difference
So what does this mean for the way we work with children, youth, and families?
At the individual/personal level… Recognize our tendency to label the unfamiliar as pathology Know cultural specifics (through mentoring and immersion) Acknowledge the diversity that exists within and across cultures Be involved in the community you serve Dont be afraid to fail forward
At the client level… Make culture conscious Be a friend before there is need Practice skills to work across difference (both practical and relational)
At the professional level… Look to elders and use their advice Educate one another Know that all interventions have cultural bias (e.g., the intake process) Try a number of interventions, as one wont always work (draw from a range of best practices)
At the level of the system… Understand that individual problems are linked to material and social conditions Work towards creating an organizational culture that embraces culturally appropriate/ anti-oppressive policies and practices Value equity, inclusion and community
Head, heart and feet… What did you think about what you heard today? How did it make you feel? What has this made you want to do next?
Questions? Tanya Witteveen Research Associate 613.737.7600 Ext. 3483 email@example.com Dr. Purnima Sundar Research and Knowledge Exchange Consultant 613.737.7600 Ext. 3485 firstname.lastname@example.org
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