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Ethical and Multicultural Self- Assessment

Ethical and Multicultural Self-Assessment

“Look in the self-evaluation mirror, clean your character, comb your thoughts, shave off your bad habits, and brush your skills.”

– Mohammad Eliyas

There are numerous adages that I have learned over the years that emphasize the importance of taking both a personal and a professional inventory as you go through life. Aside from the quote above, one of my favorites was one I learned from a correctional officer while working in the Federal Penitentiary. “To be aware is to be alive,” he said, which in that context meant being aware of your surroundings because you never know when danger is nearby. This saying has become my life motto, especially when it comes to working with others as a Psychiatric Therapist. It is critical to be aware of yourself and your shortcomings in terms of ethical and multicultural guidelines in order to “be alive” in this field and be productive in helping clients recover. The goal of this paper is to investigate the significance of ethical and multicultural competency, identify my limitations/deficiencies in this capacity, and devise a plan of action to address and possibly correct these impediments in order to become a better professional.

The significance of ethical and multicultural competence

Although they have different dynamics, ethics and multiculturalism are almost completely associated when it comes to what is expected of professionals, especially when serving other individuals who look to you as “rational authority” with the responsibility of guiding them through conflicts that they are having difficulty confronting on their own. Ethics are guiding principles derived from the expectation of competence in various aspects of the profession (Knapp, 2011). This standard instills a sense of moral responsibility in terms of making sound decisions in practice, with the overall goal of not unfairly treating clients seeking services based on multicultural factors such as race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, race, culture, language, national origin, age, or disability.

Ethical and multicultural competency is essential for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, in order to protect our clients’ well-being and ensure the client’s well-being, we must make a concerted effort to recognize, appreciate, and respect the cultural, individual, and role differences that distinguish the client and take this into account in all aspects of the therapeutic process (Knapp, 2011). This includes therapeutic modalities, communication with the client, family dynamics, traditions/belief systems, and any perceived differences you may have with them. Being able to do so demonstrates the professional’s ability to prioritize the client’s needs over their own in order to ensure a positive and growth experience for all parties involved.

Personal Restrictions

It is difficult to identify flaws in your own ability to be ethical and multiculturally competent. Not only do professionals feel vulnerable when admitting that they are not as conscientious as they would like to be, but they are also genuinely unaware of their deficiencies due to limited experience with various cultural factors or unintentional impositions of personal beliefs or perceptions. This is why professionals must be steadfast in their efforts to gain exposure to various focus groups and maintain consistent training. When I completed the “Cross-cultural Healthcare Quality Quiz” (Mcarteret, 2018), I discovered things that gave me confidence in my abilities in terms of ethical and multicultural competence, as well as factors that, if not addressed, could hinder me. The fact that I scored 91/100 on the quiz was a plus for me. This increased my confidence in my abilities, but not scoring 100/100 indicated areas of concern that must be addressed.

The most noticeable difference from the quiz was that I was able to answer the questions about ethics more easily and correctly than the ones about multicultural factors. This tells me that, while I believe I am not far from being culturally aware, I am still not where I need to be. I understand that no one will ever master either professionalism dynamics; however, there are things we can do to ensure that we keep our focus on implementing both as best we can to better serve our clients.

Limitation Removal Strategy

Understanding the impact of my flaws requires recognizing my impact on the clients I work with. Although it is unpleasant to admit that you have gaps in your ability to recognize or consider specific identifying factors of an individual, it is necessary to do so in order to avoid causing emotional or psychological harm to anyone (myself included). Errors cannot be completely avoided (i.e., to err is human), and efforts to minimize errors must be addressed (Rhodes, 2004), so four focus points come to mind when considering how I can be proactive in addressing these limitations: 1. Awareness, 2. Exposure, 3. Commitment, and 4. Training.

Exposure. When I think of exposure, I recall a conversation I frequently have with others about being bilingual. In this conversation, I am frequently asked what the best way to learn is not only to speak Spanish but also to become more comfortable with the context in order to hold a conversation proficiently. In this capacity, I believe my advice is similar to how Gallardo describes the most effective way to learn about diversity… “getting out and connecting with those whom we intend to serve” (Gallardo, 2009). Immersion in all aspects of the population means learning not only from text or research but also from individuals. Asking questions about the culture, eagerly attempting to understand facets that identify the culture, and participating in gatherings/events that are important to this population can be a good place to start for me to become more knowledgeable about foundations that are important to consider.

Awareness. “Being aware means being alive… this is prison 101.” When I first started working as a counselor at the Federal Penitentiary, I learned this motto from a 20-year correctional officer veteran. Being aware of what is going on around you is easy; you keep your eyes open for potentially dangerous situations, but being aware of your influence in the situation is more difficult. We naturally apply our beliefs and personal preferences in any given situation, which is not necessarily a bad thing; however, when we are confronted with a situation we are unfamiliar with or where our belief systems conflict, it can contribute to a toxic outcome for all involved. Because clients seek our advice, we tend to take the lead in the dynamic, which, if we have different backgrounds, beliefs, and prejudices, can be interpreted as an imposition on the client, resulting in a counterproductive productive experience. I must be aware of my own beliefs, prejudices, and background in order to recognize when I am infringing on the client’s rights.

Commitment. One of the most significant issues that we as practitioners face in terms of cultural competency is the notion that, while we recognize that culture is an important factor in working with others, we do not keep it at the forefront of our minds at all times (Gallardo, 2009). We assess our clients, develop an appropriate treatment plan, and then begin doing our part based on the specific therapeutic modality of treatment. I’ve been guilty of not considering cultural issues, such as what it’s like for a Hispanic man to be told how to correct issues in his life by a woman or expecting a gay/lesbian individual to be easily trusting and forthcoming with me if, in the most important moment of their lives, they attempted to be vulnerable and forthcoming to others and were not only looked upon unfavorably but shunned by those they thought would support them. As a practitioner whose goal is to help others, I must commit to making an effort to keep multicultural issues as a driving force to influence in the quality of care I hope to provide.

Training. We are required to complete at least twenty-four hours of continuing education units (CEUs) as part of the licensing process to maintain our practicing privileges, with ethical issues and cultural diversity as mandatory topics. Although these requirements are only required to be completed every two years for this purpose, my quiz results indicate that I should be more consistent in my training to ensure that if any new implementations, policies, populations, or special considerations techniques are added, I am able to keep up. I am fortunate that my job provides free elective training courses on a variety of topics; I intend to take advantage of these so that I can continue to grow in my knowledge and confidence as a Therapist as well as a scholarly practitioner.

The United States of America has always been known as a “melting pot” society, making it one of the best countries in the world. Because we have so many different types of people, from races and religions to socioeconomic status, gender identity, and age, we as practitioners must be able to address the needs of any given population to the best of our ability while avoiding the risk of unintentional harm. Accepting what we know and admitting what we don’t can create a balance of realism that can improve your ability to be the best you can be in your profession.


Gallardo, M. E. (2009). Ethics and multiculturalism: Advancing cultural and clinical responsiveness. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 40(5), 425-435. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.;

Mcarteret. (2018, August 23). Cross-cultural Healthcare Quality Quiz. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from quality-quiz;

Knapp, S. (2011, October 31). Ethics and Psychology: Ethics, Diversity, and Multiculturalism. Retrieved May 8, 2019, from diversity-and-multiculturalism.html;

Rhodes, R. S. (2004). Acknowledging the Limits of Individual Competence. Medical Education. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from limits-individual-competence/2004-10.;


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Post a brief summary of the results of your self-assessment and the implications of these results in terms of your cultural awareness and competence. Describe your reaction to these results and explain how you plan to use this information to further develop your cultural competence and accomplish your professional goals. 300-word minimum.

Ethical and Multicultural Self- Assessment

Ethical and Multicultural Self- Assessment

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.


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