Learning Goal: I’m working on a social science discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
Respond to the blog post of three colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
- Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
- Expand on your colleague’s posting.
Be sure to support your blog posts with specific references to this week’s resources and provide full APA citations for your references. For more information about posting your blog assignment, click on the Field Education Blogs link on the course navigation menu.
Colleague 1: Shaliah
A description of diversity and/or cultural competence considerations in your agency.
My field experience is at an inpatient drug and alcohol facility. The culture and diversity, beginning with staff, is diverse even though the county it is located in is primarily white. The staff is diverse as well beginning from the clinical director, executive directors, down to the therapists and counselors. Considerations at Pyramid Healthcare is the diverse backgrounds that clients come in from. Treating addiction, cultural and diverse backgrounds are important to be aware of as every client has come from different environments that influences their substance use. As therapists and counselors, being aware of the different backgrounds, as well as our own, is important when working with the clients to prevent from being biased or judgmental. With this, we are not only understanding their environments, but the weaknesses and strengths of those backgrounds as treatment plans are developed. According to the NASW Code of Ethics (2022), Social workers should demonstrate understanding of culture and its function in human behavior and society, recognizing the strengths that exist in all cultures.
An explanation of how diversity and/or cultural competence might reflect your agency learning agreement.
Having the experience of seeing everyone come to program for the same reason to begin recovery, the environments and backgrounds are completely different. The circumstances, the environments, the culture, are all different which allows me to self-reflect and see how the strengths of a culture or background can be motivators in recovery. There is a client who has his pastor as a support and identifies as Christian and this has motivated him a lot to comply with his treatment and progress in the ways that he is. Understanding his religion and his perception of faith allows for the therapists to incorporate that as an ongoing support and motivator.
National Association of Social Workers (2022). NASW Code of Ethics: Ethical Standards. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English.aspx
Colleague 2: Mikala
A description of diversity and/or cultural competence considerations in your agency
At my field agency, we serve a variety of individuals who have different backgrounds, beliefs, values, race, ethnicity, socioeconomical backgrounds and much more. Within the agency, there are several different programs that benefit different target populations. One is the URM program (Unaccompanied Refugee Program), which is a program in which we help to resettle refugees in NY. Some of these individuals also receive our mental health services if they are needed. Within the program that I am in, there are a wide range of ethnicity/ races that can be referred. When looking at the staff of the agency, it is mostly made up of women, but there are a few men that work within the agency.
An explanation of how diversity and/or cultural competence might reflect your agency learning agreement
Within my learning agreement, under the Social Work Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice my objectives include but are not limited to learning how different cultures influence families expectations, to learn how families socioeconomic status influence support of youth and to conduct research on culture, tools and techniques for effective treatments specific to clients served. By doing this, I can better understand clients. By discussing ones experience different from your personal experience, provides an opportunity to learn about culture and how to apply cultural competence (Birkenmaier et al., 2018). I have several clients who have a different cultural than my own, by learning more about their cultural I can better provide services in which no boundaries are crossed.
Birkenmaier, J., & Berg-Weger, M. (2018). The practicum companion for social work: Integrating class and fieldwork (4th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
Colleague 3: Mike
Diversity and Cultural Competence in Placement Agency
The United States has a huge a diverse society (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2018). Hagerstown, Maryland is no exception, with Caucasian, African, Caribbean, Asian, and Latino populations living in its boundaries. However, Brook Lane Out Patient Services, my placement agency, does not reflect that diversity in its workforce. There are twenty-four therapist that work out of the office, and only two of them have cultural heritages different than Caucasian. One is from Greek descent and the other from Persian descent. This is in huge contrast to the client pool that are treated by the agency, which comprises many different cultural groups. The agency is more divese when it comes to gender, sexual orientation, and religion, with staff members representing a variety of these cultural groups.
The aqgency does better with cultural compentency, as there is a focus on letting the clients be the subjext matter experts of their own life and story. There is a lot of collaboration between therapists in regards to cultural humiolity and cultural sensitivity. The elephant in the room, however, the lack of diverse racial staff, limits the cultural compentency of the agency. I was happy to see that the agency did fly in an African-American woman to interview for a therapy position, as this leads me to believe thay are going to some lengths to become racially diverse. My huge contention is that I can provide unconditional positive regard, warmth and empathy to all my clients, but I do not look like some of them and can only be a limited role model for them, as they would benefit much more by engaging with someone of their same background (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2018).
Reflected in Learning Agreement
Social Work Core Competency Two is to Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice. In my Learning Agreement I have included attending the agency’s orientation program, completing all Diversity and Cultural Compentence Training on the online knowledge bank – Relias, and asking for feedback on my current level of cultural competence. I have also brought up the topic of lack of racial diversity in my weeklyh supervisions with my Field Supervisor. She admits that racial diversity is a challenge for the agency, and one of her former interns, who was Black, did not accept a job offer due to feeling uncomfortable with the lack of diversity at Brook Lane. One other action I can take is to advocate for more racial diversity when I talk with administration during my internship, to try and brainstorm solutions to the issue, as opposed to dwelling on the current lack of diversity.
Kist-Ashman, K. & Hull, G. (2018). Understanding Genrealist Practice.