Cultural competency

Competency 1: Cultural competency

Working in diverse communities all over the world requires an ability to interact effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds. When working in a LMIC you may be the only person from your culture working in that setting and therefore an awareness of one’s own culture and an ability to understand others’ culture is essential. You may find yourself challenged by new cultural perspectives, factors to do with religious beliefs and other cultural practices. It is all the more important, therefore, to maintain reflective practice throughout.

Knowledge of skills of ethnographic interviewing (3) may be helpful in reflecting on your own and others cultural perspectives.


Aware Proficient Advisor
Aware of and actively reflects on own culture, own cultural bias and how this impacts on individual relationships across cultures




Aware of the intersection of colour, race, inequality and power and how this will influence therapy encounters



Aware of need to research issues relating to cultural differences and able to access support for researching these in advance of visit as well as during visit


Implements ongoing process of personal development in relation to cultural competence. Uses reflection, seeks opportunities for support and supervision in this area, in order to build up knowledge of cultural competence


Actively uses this knowledge to challenge own and others’  cultural beliefs and practices, working with others to develop culturally appropriate intervention


Seeks feedback on own practice through discussion and consultation with local stakeholders and through support and supervision in order to ensure effective culturally safe working practices are established and maintained



Works with stakeholders and colleagues to ensure culturally appropriate and culturally reflective services






Applies and integrates knowledge and skills about culturally competent practice to create policies and procedures which are culturally relevant in the settings


Regularly reviews and scrutinises practice using recognised cultural awareness audit processes and is able to develop processes appropriate to the setting for reviewing culturally competent practice.  Able to provide support and supervision to others in developing these processes


Key knowledge and skills
  • Knowledge of concepts of cultural competency, cultural confidence and cultural safety and ability to apply these to individual and organisational policy contexts
  • Knowledge of cultural practices of the country being worked in and an awareness of the need to continually develop this knowledge with the support of local people
  • Strong reflective skills and a commitment to using these in developing knowledge and skills