Lifelong Professional Development

Cultural proficiency is a goal for lifelong professional development. Mental health professionals should continuously refine and develop their multicultural skills in order to maintain their relevance in the field. In this regard, in-service training and professional development workshops are crucial activities. The cultural competence continuum (Cross et al., 1989) and the cultural competence domains (Arredondo et al., 1996; Sue et al., 1992) are both very useful frameworks for workshop faculty and mental health professionals to evaluate their needs and to plan the curriculum. For example, we have sometimes encountered occasions where professionals may want to learn specific skills in working with a particular ethnic group, but they actually do not have sufficient knowledge concerning the group's culture or life experience. In this situation, it is necessary to step back and clarify the knowledge issues, such as the particular ethnic group's family structure and values, or their premigration, migration, and postmigration experience, before discussing specific clinical intervention skills. Indeed, trainers need to be flexible and creative in the presentation of professional development workshops so that participants can truly learn from them, rather than mechanically adopting a set of techniques without really understanding their rationale or basis.

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