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Looking Inward: Exploring and Sharing Personal Values and Beliefs. Dr Molly Everett Davis Dr Halaevalu F. O. Vakalahi George Mason University.

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Looking Inward: Exploring and Sharing Personal Values and Beliefs

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Looking Inward: Exploring and Sharing Personal Values and Beliefs

Dr Molly Everett Davis

Dr Halaevalu F. O. Vakalahi

George Mason University

  • Health care organizations should ensure that patients/consumers receive from all staff members, effective, understandable and respectful care that is provided in a manner compatible with their cultural health beliefs and practices and preferred language.

  • Are You Culturally Competent??

CLAS Standard 1

  • Ethnicity

  • Age

  • Class

  • Gender

  • Socioeconomic Status

  • Disability

  • Sexual Orientation

  • Race… and on and on

Diversity: Broad Inclusive Term


  • Culture refers to the lifeways of an individual or a group with reference to values, beliefs, norms, patterns and practices (Lenninger, 1991).

What is Culture?

  • Cultural competence is achieved by identifying and understanding the needs and help-seeking behaviors of individuals and families.

  • National Center for Cultural Competence

What is Cultural Competence?

  • Culturally competent organizations design and implement services that are tailored or matched to the unique needs of individuals, children, families, organizations and communities served.*

  • Culturally competent organizations have a service delivery model that recognizes mental health as an integral and inseparable aspect of primary health care.

  • National Center for Cultural Competence

Culturally Competent Organizations

  • Practice is driven in service delivery systems by client preferred choices, not by culturally blind or culturally free interventions.*

  • National Center for Cultural Competence

Culturally Competent Practice

  • The capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively, and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences including persons of limited English proficiency, those who have low literacy skills or are not literate, individuals with disabilities, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Linguistic Competence

  • Davis, 2003

  • A culturally competent professional is one who seeks to understand the lifeways of diverse clients and is able to use social work knowledge, skills and values to enhance client functioning, utilizing interventions that are compatible with client system lifeways.

Cultural Competence: Professionals

  • Uses a consistent approach toward diversity that is the core of training for personnel;

  • Approaches diversity in an all inclusive manner;

  • Uses strategies that promote openness to learning about difference;

  • Utilizes policies that are diversity inclusive.

Cultural Competence: Systems




What are Lifeways?








  • Individuals

  • Families

  • Organizations

  • Communities

  • Societies

Lifeways are Reflected at ALL Levels

  • Help us adapt or fit in with our environment;

  • Can be transmitted across generations;

  • Can be shared or unique;

  • Can be changed;

  • Exist in multiple levels of systems;

  • Are affected by historical and life events;

  • Reflected in behavior, customs, beliefs, traditions, rituals, traditions.


  • Lifeways are adaptive/maladaptive;

  • Lifeways can be normative/pathological;

  • Lifeways can be functional/dysfunctional;

  • Lifeways reflect culture;

  • Lifeways are relational;

  • Lifeways are subject to change because of their adaptive nature.

Lifeways Continued

  • Dr. Melanie Tervalon, Jann Murray-Garcia, and Dr. Robert Ortega describe cultural humility as a lifelong process of self-reflection and self-critique.

  • Starting Point: Providers give careful consideration to their assumptions and beliefs that are embedded in their own understandings and goals of their encounter with the client.

Cultural Humility

  • Views all cultures as having some characteristics in common.

  • Provides a means of having some basic information about unfamiliar cultural groups.

  • Useful in supporting cross cultural work.

  • Will often apply across multiple generations.

ETIC Concepts

  • Culture specific approach.

  • Process of discovery necessary to determine lifeways.

  • Insider’s perspective.

  • Leads to greater understanding of lifeways.

  • Often based on individual life story.


Cultural Actualization

Cultural Evaluation

Cultural Expansion

Cultural Apprehension

Self Awareness

Lifeways Cultural Competence Continuum


Understanding Our Diversity

  • Facing our own biases and stereotypes

Self Awareness

  • We have similarities with others.

  • We have differences that are unique to us.

  • These differences may have little to do with our ethnicity, age, social class.

  • Sometimes the origin of lifeways is unclear.

  • Sometimes the rationale for lifeways is unclear.

Recognizing the Lifeways of Your Culture

  • How do you react to difference?

  • Do you defend your own culture and lifeways as “right or better?”

  • Ethnocentrism?

    • It is defined as the belief or attitude that one’s own cultural group or lifeways is superior to others.

Cultural Apprehension

  • Strong emphasis on comparison.

  • Growing awareness of difference may lead to positive or negative outcome.

Cultural Apprehension

  • Expansion of knowledge based upon increased learning and interaction about different cultures and ethnic groups.

  • Genuine appreciation of diversity.

  • Learning lifeways opens new horizons.

Cultural Expansion

  • Comparative evaluation without negative judgment.

  • Brings to light the differences to promote growth and better connection with others.

  • Increased comfort level.

  • Seeking opportunities for interaction with diverse groups is common during this step.

Cultural Evaluation

  • Primary goal: Understanding and embracing differences.

  • Genuine respect for diversity.

  • Core values support lifelong learning.

  • Openness to changing beliefs and attitudes about others.

  • Core beliefs /values lead to willingness to challenge oppression, injustice and discrimination.

Cultural Actualization

  • Not ever fully actualized but it is a journey…

Cultural Actualization

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