Cultural Biases In Social Work

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In the social work field, we will encounter many different types of people with a variety of cultural backgrounds. With this in mind, the social worker’s assumptions, biases and presumed knowledge of the client can lead to continued oppression of the already marginalized, decreasing the chances for a growth-fostering relationship based on mutuality. Therefore, in order for social workers to be effective, we must be open, accepting, humble, culturally competent, and self-aware of our assumptions and biases toward those that are different from us.
In order to be self-aware, we must examine the origin of our biases and assumptions in order to minimize their influence over our clients and engage in growth-fostering relationships. Obvious inherited
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It is through this lens that she may unintentionally oppress her client through relational and controlling images (Comstock, 2008). In relational-cultural theory (RCT), the dominant group promotes distorted controlling images of superiority and inequality, imposes the dominant culture, and thus limits the relational possibilities for people in the non-dominant group (Comstock, 2008; Murphy & Dillon, …show more content…
In RCT, people best develop and grow through relationship connections that mutually influence and empower those actively involved in the relationship (Comstock, 2008). However, empathetic failures are inevitable within all relationships, including clinical relationships, and these lead to disconnects, or pulling away from the relationship (Comstock, 2008). Managing these disconnects is crucial for the social worker in order to decrease feelings of shame, frustration, isolation, humiliation, fear, and self-blame in the client and transform the relationship through new empathetic connections (Comstock, 2008). Additionally, these disconnects from the clinical relationship can reinforce negative relational and controlling images for the client and further oppression (Comstock, 2008). Therefore, the social worker must empathetically acknowledge societal injustices that oppress marginalized groups and individuals, which can empower the client and aid with changing the relational and controlling images of themselves and others (McCauley, 2013). Further empowerment can come from focusing on the client’s strengths and the areas in their lives that are successful (Murphy &

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