Culture influences how a client develops and expresses emotional distress and how that distress is healed through therapeutic intervention. Multicultural Care in Practice emphasizes culturally adapting psychotherapy to the needs of the clients, employing cultural competence to maximally connect with clients.
Becoming culturally competent involves a clinical commitment to gaining knowledge and awareness of the client's attitudes, which enables the clinician to intellectually, affectively, and culturally empathize with the client and demonstrate cultural sensitivity — showing awareness, interest, and commitment to recognizing the client's culture in all aspects of the therapeutic relationship.
Multicultural care practitioners recognize the importance of clinical competence. However, they also recognize the value of cultural competence, and research indicates that clients who perceive their therapist to be culturally competent have better outcomes in therapy.
In this demonstration, Dr. Lillian Comas-Díaz works with an African American woman who is making a decision about dating a partner outside of her own culture. Dr. Comas-Díaz demonstrates cultural empathy in working with the client, discussing how this decision will impact the client's relationship with her family and how to preserve that relationship while remaining true to herself.