Cultural Competency and Social Justice Obligations

Cultural Competency and Social Justice Obligations

This should be completed during the time you are not directly in client sessions and turned in same day via email, or at the latest prior to start time of your next week’s precept day.

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Area of Emphasis: Ethics, Assessment, Treatment

Lesson and Exercise: Professional Obligations of Cultural Competency, Recognition of Differences, and Social Justice to Clients and Patients


Due to the complexity of the human brain and behavior, the understanding of cultural and social dynamics is vital in ensuring accurate and ethical healthcare assessment and treatment. You’ve probably already learned in your classes that psychological professions have ethical codes which address cultural competency and social justice obligations to clients.
The American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics reads, for example: “Counselors recognize historical and social prejudices in the misdiagnosis and pathologizing of certain individuals and groups and strive to become aware of and address such biases in themselves.”
Without a solid understanding and implementation of this component of healthcare, inaccurate conceptualizations of clients and even inadvertent perpetuation of social injustices will inevitably occur.
For this assignment, please respond to the following prompts below to further explore and to implement into your observations, case conceptualizations, and mock treatment plans of the clients you observe this week and to follow.

Review and Reference:
Refer to your own professional code of ethics for this assignment and list it here:

Code of Ethics: ________________________________________________________________

One for counseling is the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics which can be found at

It is vital to become very familiar with your profession’s code of ethics as you begin to work with clients/patients. It’s a great idea to keep it downloaded for easy reference on your laptop, or a link on your phone, etc.

Watch and Reflect:
Sometimes ethics and law may even conflict. There is a difference between your freedom to think differently about a client/patient and your professional obligation to “Do no harm” psychologically to them, which is what professional codes of ethics ensure.

Recent ACA President whom I know personally, Richard Yep, gives a good example of this:

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