Cultural Humility

Equilibrium Mental Health (EMH) is honored to provide mental health services to clients from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. EMH staff acknowledges the role of cultural competence in understanding and helping clients from such differing cultural backgrounds. Indeed, human beings are unique and may possess differing cultural aspects across race, ethnicity, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, ableness, neurodiversity, religion, spirituality, and physical appearance. Indeed, the sociological concept of intersectionality, or the idea that people carry multiple aspects of different parts of their identity that could contribute to both privilege and discrimination, is present through our cultural lens of the world.

Similarly, culture can be complicated, with many layers of experiences and differences from person-to-person. As a result, EMH providers adhere to a lifelong pursuit to understand and learn from others’ different cultural backgrounds. In other words, our multicultural education is not simply a fact-based exercise, but a fiercely committed analysis in identifying implicit biases both internally and externally. To do so, EMH practices cultural humility.

What is Cultural Humility?

Cultural humility refers to “the attitude and practice of working with clients at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels with a presence of humility while learning, communicating, offering help, and making decisions in practice and settings (National Association for Social Workers, 2016).” As such, EMH pledges to engage in reflective and introspective self-evaluations surrounding racial and social inequalities, and their impact on healthcare. It is the aim of EMH to forge partnerships with community leaders dedicated to addressing and altering social power imbalances. EMH’s strategies to practice cultural humility were influenced by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Reflections on Cultural Humility.

How Does EMH Practice Cultural Humility?

  1. Life-long Commitment to Self-Evaluation. Learning about culture, power, privilege, discrimination, and other oppressive forces that impact healthcare is never finished. EMH providers will never become stagnant or satisfied with their level of knowledge about culture. Therefore, we are dedicated to examining our beliefs, views, and assumptions around race through a microscope – willing to self-critique for the purposes of growth and understanding.

  2. Correcting Social Power Imbalances. Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We also understand that every person carries a unique value or quality essential for our understanding of the world. We acknowledge that our clients are experts in their identities, and that often times co-learning between providers and clients on the basis of culture helps to achieve treatment goals.

  3. Community Partnerships. Change can occur on an individual level, while at the same time, meaningful and lasting change is often facilitated through positive teamwork among groups. Therefore, EMH strives to forge large-scale community partnerships with professional entities who seek to re-structure society for to honor a re-distribution of power, privilege, and equity.

How Does This Impact My Mental Healthcare at EMH

Clients deserve to receive mental health services that are culturally and linguistically sensitive and take into account the full scope of a person’s race, ethnicity, values, traditions, and customs. Similarly, it is important for mental health providers to adopt an openness to understanding their clients’ individual expressions of cultural backgrounds – in other words, culture is not a “one size fits all” model. EMH providers pledge to treat clients as both an individual and a member of their respective cultural background.