5 Ways to Become a Culturally Affirming Mental Health Provider

January 27th, 2018 by Cultural Therapy

If you’re thinking of ensuring that your practice is culturally affirming, but don’t know where to start, we have a few tips to set you on the right path. For additional tips and training on creating and maintaining a culturally-affirming practice, visit our training portal here.

(1) Check Your Assumptions

Consistent and continual examination of internal biases, assumptions, beliefs, values, and worldviews. These are present at the internal core of each mental health provider and should be examined, explored, and understood. These assumptions can impact what we can pathologize, place judgement as good/bad, or judge as normal/abnormal. Continuing to examine and understand our worldviews can help to understand client interactions and better our multicultural therapeutic practice.  

(2) Train, Train, Train

Acquire knowledge and understanding about the worldviews of culturally diverse and marginalized populations. Start a journey to understand the worldview of diverse groups to understand the client’s real lived experience. Accept that this socio-political marginalization of client populations that have been faced with power oppression can manifest itself in the therapeutic relationship. As culturally affirming providers, take into consideration culturally diverse worldviews and work to build trust in therapeutic relationships. For tips and training on creating and maintaining a culturally-affirming practice, visit our training portal here.

(3) [Really] Appreciate Diversity

Recognize and appreciate that all clients are unique and need to receive treatment that is tailored to their individual diverse needs. Learn and adapt new and culturally appropriate techniques, treatments, interventions, communication skills, and helping skills that serve the specific populations that you are working with.  

(4) Get Uncomfortable to Get Comfortable

Make continual purposeful exploration into different cultural communities to learn, be curious and open minded in your exploration. Eat diverse foods, listen to different music, truly listen, visit different places of worship, play dominoes, make different friend groups professionally and personally, be uncomfortable, shop at different grocery stores, live in different neighborhoods, and reflect on your feelings and process.   

(5) Be Inclusive In Your Space

Make your office space, agency policies, institutional, and organizational systemic structures culturally inclusive to the population you serve. There should be a sense of safety for our community when they come to a culturally affirming mental health provider.   

 Commit yourself to strive to become multiculturally competent in practice. For more information, check out Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice, by Cultural Therapy Advisory Committee member Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D..


Click here to join our list of culturally affirming providers. 


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