culturally competent practice Returning to our ongoing tour of the NASW Code of Ethics, we arrive at section 1.05, Cultural Competence and Social Diversity. It reads as follows:

(a) Social workers should understand culture and its function in human behavior and society, recognizing the strengths that exist in all cultures.

(b) Social workers should have a knowledge base of their clients' cultures and be able to demonstrate competence in the provision of services that are sensitive to clients' culture and to differences among people and cultural groups.

(c) Social workers should obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion and mental or physical disability.

In short: understand and respect cultural differences and know your biases. Here's what the NASW has to say about the subject in a short article and as standards for practice. For a still more in-depth look at the topic, there's always Doman Lum's Culturally Competent Practice  (link goes to the Google Books preview).

Question: How might this section show up on the social work licensing exam? Answer: Every which way you can think of. Expect exam items that present enticing answers for biased folks...that touch on the DSM's list of culture-bound sydromes  (link goes to Quizlet cards)...and that otherwise aim to ascertain whether or not you've taken code section 1.05 to heart.


For practice with cultural competence and diversity and much more, try SWTP practice exams.

February 1, 2014
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