Ethics Alive! Cultural Competence, Awareness, Sensitivity, Humility, and Responsiveness: What's the Difference?

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Playing with words

Brilliantly worded article Allan! As a practicing Mindfulness facilitator and a Social Service Worker student, I feel that it is essential in the field of social work to bring in compassion, empathy and kindness in play. And we can definitely attach different words with cultural such as competency, responsiveness, awareness, sensitivity or humility; our service users are simply looking for someone who can respect them, openly listen to them and help them with compassion. They do not know the difference between these words and are just looking for help and support.

While we cannot learn everything about everyone; humility, respect and compassion towards our service user can surely go a long way. And this can start within ourselves once we start addressing our incompletions, our issues, our relations and our life. Compassion and humility flows from inside out & is not a skill which one learns only through a degree. Hence, my humble request to my fellow colleagues to work on bringing words like humility and compassion alive in their respective practice.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful article!

Prashant Chawla 67 days ago

What about responsiveness...

I would be interested to also hear how cultural responsiveness compares and contrasts with the other terms.

Heather 173 days ago

Cultural Humility defined further

I attended a wonderful conference presentation at Oxford University with Dr. Roslynn Scott-Adams and Danielle Stokes from National Catholic University. They defined cultural humility in terms of committing to an ongoing relationship with patients/clients, and communities. They suggest further that humility involves a process of ongoing curiosity, self-reflection, and critique, challenges sociocultural mechanisms and injustices, and enables social workers to pursue a transformative agenda rather than reinforce the status quo. Any other thoughts?

Allan Barsky more than 2 years ago

Thank you

Dr. Barsky, thank you for this additional, deeper definition of cultural humility.

SocialWorker.com more than 2 years ago

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