Cultural Awareness in Social Work Practice

Cultural Awareness in Social Work Practice

Cultural humility is the practice and attitude of working with articles at different levels in society with the presence of humility while offering help, communicating, and making significant decisions in professional settings and practice. It incorporates being committed to self-critique and self-evaluation to readdressing power imbalances. Cultural humility also involves being highly knowledgeable about different cultures. Nonetheless, cultural humility involves approaching clients with walking alongside clients, learning about them and their lives, and helping them with their problems.  It can be achieved by approaching clients from different cultural orientations with openness, willingness to learn, and respect. Therapists should understand rigorous scrutiny and self-awareness as the most critical components in a cultural humility practice (National Association of Social Workers, 2017). Nonetheless, they should be able to communicate with and understand the client’s background and the reasons behind her fears. One of the major principles of cultural humility is committing to the ongoing process of inquiring and compassionate self-awareness supported by a community of cognitively diverse and trusted colleagues. Social workers also need to be teachable and open.

Cultural humility is one of the most critical components of social work practice. According to Kirst-Ashman and Hull (2018) cultural humility or cultural competence is the aptitude to apply skills and knowledge to practice while working with individuals from different populations. This definition is similar to my definition as both define that social workers should understand how to use their skills and their abilities to help groups from diverse backgrounds. Kirst-Ashman and Hull (2018) also define cultural humility to incorporate specific knowledge concerning individual cultures, awareness of oppression patterns, sensitivity to and valuing of cultural awareness, and skills of utilizing culturally appropriate interventions. Even though this is different from my definition, both definitions imply that social workers should understand the differences in values, traditions, beliefs, and perspectives of clients from different cultures.

There are several skills needed for social workers to develop cultural awareness. One of the most important skills is being open. This can be achieved by accepting the differences of clients including their cultural race, religion, beliefs sexual orientations, and perspectives. Social workers should also possess self-awareness skills to demonstrate how much they understand themselves and their cultural world of view. Another critical skill is empathy. Social workers should be able to emotionally connect with their clients to provide them with a safe place to open up about their issues.

One of the most critical social issues that inform a culturally competent worker is understanding different cultures. Social workers should understand the issues faced by their clients and be highly knowledgeable about different cultures. Another skill is being able to engage with clients. Culturally competent workers can also approach clients from different cultural orientations with openness, willingness to learn, and respect. As culturally competent social workers, therapists should understand rigorous scrutiny and self-awareness as the most critical components in a culturally competent practice (National Association of Social Workers, 2017). Nonetheless, a social worker should be able to communicate with and understand a client’s background.






Kirst-Ashman, K., & Hull, H.G. (2018). Empowering Series: Understanding Generalist Practice (Eight Edition). New York: Cengage Learning.

National Association of Social Workers. (2017). Standards and indicators for cultural competence in social work practice. Retrieved from Competence.


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