Capstone: Sociology and Social Work Practice

Table of Content

Capstone Section 1: Multicultural Competence`In this section of the Capstone Project I will address the knowledge and skills I have learned in the JMSW Program in regard to multicultural competence. I will first outline the knowledge I have acquired on multicultural competence from courses in the curriculum. Next I will delineate the ethical issues that impact this part of my practice as a professional social worker.

Then I will demonstrate my skill development through the completion of a paper on the cycle of socialization, where I was able to apply my knowledge on this area of practice and therefore learn its application to real life client situations. In addition, I will indicate which of the ten core competencies I further developed from the knowledge and skills I have acquired in this area of social work practice. The courses where I have primarily acquired knowledge on this area of practice have included Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families, Social Work Practice with Human Diversity, and Social Work in Health and Mental Health I. Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families provided me with the foundational practice skills necessary to serve clients from diverse cultures.

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Through course work and discussion in this I learned that establishing a therapeutic relationship is the first and most important component of any intervention. In practice, learning to be mindful of and open to the learning about your client through the application of multicultural competence can greatly enhance the therapeutic relationship and in turn lead to better outcomes. Clients’ diverse backgrounds, culture, race, gender, ethnicity, and past experiences are all part of their identity being sensitive to these differences is extremely important. Having a working knowledge of core values identified by particular nationalities, religions, and/or ethnic backgrounds can be extremely helpful however, but it is even more important to recognize that each client is the expert of their own culture and personal experience.

Our Social Work Practice with Human Diversity course focused the importance of social workers understanding the individual in context of their culture. This course also allowed me to gain some foundational knowledge of various racial and ethnic backgrounds.Through research, course work, and class discussion we covered various effects of topics such as oppression, privilege, discrimination, and institutionalized racism on society. This course provided me with the foundational understanding of cultural competence and diversity.

It has helped to prepare me for future work with diverse and oppressed populations. In Social Work in Health and Mental Health I, I expanded on the knowledge and culturally competent practice skills acquired from Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families. This course stressed the importance culturally competent clinicians. As such, we must take in to account a client’s cultural beliefs, history, and background as in integral part of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.

It is vital to inquire about clients’ cultural views during assessment and to be mindful of such during treatment. Encouraging this dialogue when possible us to get a more holistic picture of our client.Understanding your client’s culture is important in being able to provide an accurate and effective assessment, diagnosis and intervention. In regard to social work ethics I have learned that cultural competence is particularly relevant to ensuring ethical practice.

I now understand that following the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics, in terms of multicultural competence, means that as social workers we must seek to have a working knowledge of the world and people around us. We as clinicians must strive to understand clients’ culture, engage in dialogue about social diversity and oppression, and incorporate all this information into service. Cultural competence in the frame of ethics calls clinicians to have a working knowledge of diverse backgrounds while also allowing the clients knowledge of their personal experience to guide your interventions and interactions with them as individuals.Cultural competence in policy and practice also calls social workers to seek to understand the ways that oppression and power affect diverse populations.

I will now delineate a learning experience where my knowledge of cultural competence was enhanced and integrated with my skill development. As mentioned previously, I gained the majority of my knowledge base to execute culturally competent social work practice in the Social Work Practice and Human Diversity class. The cycle of socialization was outlined in the textbook for the Diversity course, Reading for Diversity and Social Justice (Harro, 2008). Coursework for this class included in depth discussion and readings about cultural diversity and the cycle of socialization.

We completed a “Cycle of Socialization” paper which further enhanced my ability to integrate multicultural competent skills into my interventions with clients. The cycle of socialization is a tool to understand societal oppression. In this cycle, we are all attributed roles to play, these roles many times are based on circumstances beyond our control, yet and still the roles and titles are inescapable. The process begins at birth and leads to either liberation from the cycle or continuation of the cycle.

The cycle of socialization illustrates how we are each born with a set of identifying markers like race, gender, and socio-economic status.These markers determine or roles and status within a system of oppression. Those unfortunate enough to be the determined the targets of oppression in our society are disenfranchised, exploited, and victimized by prejudice, discrimination, and other societal obstacles (Harro, 2008.) The cycle of socialization is outlined in five stages.

The first stages include our birth into an existing societal structure and our first socialization which is experienced on a personal level through the instillation of values of parents and/or guardians. This is followed societal reinforcements through institutional and cultural socialization. These experiences all culminate in a personal response to either attempt to change the cycle or to continue it. The beginning stages of the cycle are characterized by unconscious adherence obedience to societal norms.

In the reinforcement stage how well an individual responds to and behaves within societal norms is met with either rewards or punishments in varying forms.The personal response stage can either bring about perpetuation of the cycle or raise consciousness in the individual to question and attempt to change it. I have applied the knowledge gained about the “Cycle of Socialization” in order to provide cultural competent interventions for my clients at Cone Behavioral Health Hospital. One specific incident where my knowledge of the cycle of socialization assisted me in providing culturally competent treatment was my work with a patient on the unit that had been admitted as a result of a suicidal ideations and paranoid behaviors.

This patient was closed unresponsive during group. He was not open to sharing with others what brought him in to the hospital. His behaviors were erratic and paranoid it appeared that he was not interested in treatment. Prior to acquiring skills about cultural competency and the cycle of socialization I may not have been able to understand some of the underlying components that were affecting his ability to readily accept treatment.

My clients’ experience has been has been shaped by both his culture and through the cycle of socialization. His actions and belief have been reinforced throughout his life by rewards and punishments. By building a therapeutic relationship with my client and recognizing the effect of the cycle of socialization in his life I was more able to understand his resistance to treatment and his behavior. My client was an African American, paraplegic, male.

He had become suicidal as a result of feeling that he had no other options. He felt like a failure as a father and a husband. Inebriated by pain medications and alcohol, my patient attempted to provoke police officers into attacking him. The only option that he felt that he had was suicide by policeman.

I was able to recognize, how this is a young African American male who is living in a complex system of oppression who may feel powerless and fearful. I also could understand how he would feel untrusting of a societal institution like our hospital. Recognizing these factors resulted in me taking the time to build a therapeutic relationship though individual sessions and implement solution focused interventions with this client. I allowed him to be narrator of his story and to play a key role in the plan for his discharge.

Utilizing my understanding of the cycle of socialization I was successfully able to apply my learned cultural competence skills to develop a therapeutic relationship with this client and help him to become an active member in his treatment.In regard to the Council on Social Work Education’s ten core competencies for social work education, I have found that the knowledge and skills I have acquired from cultural competence has further developed me in regard to the following competencies. I now identify as a professional social worker (competency I) and understand how that impacts my cultural competence. I have also learned and applied the NASW Code of Ethics (competency II) to this area of practice and feel confident in these skills.

Further, I have developed my critical thinking skills which inform my professional judgment (competency III) in regard to cultural competence. In addition, I have developed competency in applying my knowledge of human development and the social environment (competency VII) to this area practice which has also enhanced my skills to always consider the person in the environment when providing any social work service (competency IX). Finally, I have developedcompetency in engaging diversity and difference in practice (competency IV) as well as advancing human rights and social and economic justice (competency V). In closing, I have outlined in this section of the Capstone Project my growth and skill development in regard to cultural competence.

The knowledge that I have acquired and applied to practice was clarified in this section along with the specific course material that proved to be quite helpful and critical in this growth. In particular, I indicated the ethical issues that are most relevant to this area of practice. I then summarized a learning experience, in Social Work Practice and Human Diversity I, where I demonstrated my skill development in regard to cultural competence. This latter application experience both validated my skills in the core competencies indicated in this section and increased my confidence to generalize these skills to future client or agency situations.

ReferencesHarro, B. (2008). The cycle of socialization. In M.

Adams, et al. (Ed.), Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (2 ed., pp.

134-135). New York: Routledge.

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