Cultural Differences

Cultural differences may affect both the problems that clients experience as well as the communication styles and assessment and intervention methods that will be successful. An individualized assessment requires attention to cultural differences that may be related to problems and potential resolutions. Culturally sensitive practice requires knowledge of the values of different groups and their historical experience in the United States, and how these differences may influence the client's behavior, motivation and view of the helping process.

Different groups may prefer different problemsolving styles and have different beliefs about the causes of problems. The norms for behavior vary in different groups. It is important to be knowledgeable about cultural differences that may be mistakenly viewed as pathology. The degree of acculturation (the process of adaptation to a new or different culture) is important to assess. This influences drop-out rate, level of stress, attitude toward clinicians, and the process and goals that are appropriate. Knowledge of problems faced and preferred communication styles of people in different generations will be useful. Bicul-tural individuals are members of two or more ethnic or racial groups.

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