Monday, November 29, 2010

Culturally Competent

     As the program facilitator at an exercise and fitness center, I am looking to promote the health and well-being of my students, clients, and athletes. In order to do this, I must be culturally competent and my programs must be inclusive and empowering to everyone.

     The time and effort needed to be aware and have the ability to deal with each participant of a variety of cultural domains takes time. To become culturally competent won't happen over night and people shouldn't expect to see results and acquire the necessary skills to do so right away.  As a professional, they need to have the experience and knowledge of society, in a big picture.  Being able to identify and help participants effectively with and in a variety of cultural aspects; age, gender, beliefs, ethnicity, values, etc (Frenn & Malin, 2003).  It's essential that we, professionals, are able to provide our participants with knowledge and experience to guide them.  Having an array of experience with multiple cultural aspects, will benefit the professional in properly running and organizing a business, and in this case, promoting health and well-being to students, clients, and athletes.  Another aspect in which should be recognized is the APA Multicultural Guidelines.  These 6 guidelines play a key role of multicultural competencies in promoting health and well-being for sport and exercise psychology and kinesiology (Gill & Williams, 2008).  A brief overview of the guidelines are as follow: (1) attitudes and beliefs can detrimentally influence a person's perception of and interaction with individuals, (2) recognize the importance of multicultural sensitivity and responsiveness, knowledge, and understanding of individuals, (3) employ the constructs of multiculturalism and diversity, (4) recognize the importance of conducting cultural-centered and ethical psychological research, (5) apply culturally appropriate skills in clinical and other practices, (6) use of organizational change processes to support culturally informed organizational development/practice (Gill & Williams, 2008).

     One of the most important steps when developing multicultural competencies is to study and observe your clientele (Frenn & Malin, 2003).  By doing so I will be able to identify the variety of cultures that exist within my exercise and fitness center.  This will give me a basic understanding of people's beliefs and values. Also, I will want to walk around interacting with as many people as I possible can.  This will allow me to develop a better, more detailed background of everyone and what their beliefs may be, allow me to develop myself.  Also, I will be able to use other sources to develop a better understanding of backgrounds.  For example, the internet is a great tool to use, for one it's easily accessible, however, I will need to be careful where I get my information from. Like a stated the internet is a great tool, however, there is a lot of non-credible information that floats around as well.  The use of the Respectful model gives me a good start and outline of what I should be looking to identify and/or understand when researching ethnicity information (Gill & Williams, 2008).
     Not only will myself, the professional, be competent but as well as the business/company.  In order for this to take place, first we will start off by observing, like I did for my self awareness, to understand and become aware of individual's background.  To apply this, I will offer classes and programming that will be beneficial and supportive of everyone's beliefs and values, to the best of my ability.  Also, I will offer special program/membership pricing for low income members be not only benefit us, but more importantly, benefit the individual.  This will allow them to be able to take full advantage of what we as a business can offer.  I'm trying to promote health and well-being to the community, and everyone should be given the opportunity to have access to the center, no matter cultural differences and income status.

     Being able to understand and withhold knowledge to be culturally competent can and well benefit a professional with there success, as well as the businesses success.  This knowledge will allow them to develop a comfortable environment for all clientele, and allowing them to take full advantage of what is being offered.  More importantly, they will be able to stay true to their beliefs and values.  Clients will not have to stress or worry that they maybe persuaded to alter or change from their inherited background and cultural differences.  The most important step as a professional is to study and observe your clientele, as well as interact with them.  Develop an understanding of what they believe in and value.  Your goal is to make sure everyone feels as though they are secure with their beliefs.  Also, having the knowledge of different cultural background, broadens your skills and your clientele will realize this, strengthening your reputation as a professional.

Frenn, M. & Malin, S. (2003). Diet and exercise in low-income culturally diverse middle school students. Public Health Nursing, 20(5), 361-368.

Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it is important to be realistic in your goals. Obviously multicultural competence wont happen overnight and understanding that is step one in the learning process. The internet is obviously the greatest source for information but not all of the availiable information is realiable, so that is why it is important to research the topic in-depth and make sure you are using trusted sources. Good Entry.