Expired From Cultural Competence to Cultural Curiosity: Rethinking our Approach to Understanding our Clients [Online]

People thrive and grow when they feel known and understood, respected and valued. Unfortunately, therapists and other service providers too often make assumptions about the clients they are asked to help, judging their decisions, pathologizing their behavior, and missing opportunities to recognize valuable strengths they possess. In addition, clinicians are not always clear about how dimensions of their own identity (i.e. social locators) such as race, gender, and class shape the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship.

Using experiential (including role play) exercises, lecture, and case studies, participants will develop their ability to reflect on unhelpful working assumptions about their clients, understand how dimensions of their own identity inform how they view clients and their problems, and engage clients in ways that help them better understand their lives.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will reflect upon negative assumptions/biases they may hold regarding race, class, gender, religion, sexual identity, and cultural differences that will impact the working relationship with their client.
  • Participants will demonstrate the ability to consider the influence of both the therapist’s and client’s social location (i.e. dimensions of identity) on case assessment, treatment and therapeutic relationship.
  • Participants will demonstrate ability to engage clients in conversations related to how their social locators engender points of connection and difference in the therapeutic relationship.


Walter Vega, LCSW, is the Dean of Students and Dean of Admissions, and a member of the teaching faculty at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. After working in family prevention services for Good Shepherd Services for several years, he taught and held administrative roles at Columbia University School of Social Work and John Jay College of Criminal Justice . Over the last 10 years, Walter has been a trainer and consultant for various community-based agencies in NYC, including Good Shepherd Services, ACS, JCCA, and Mount Sinai-St. Luke’s Medical Center. He maintains a private practice in Manhattan.

  • January 8, 2021
    10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Walter Vega, LCSW

3 CE Contact Hours

Location:   Online Event


A link will be emailed to you one day before the event. Online events are held in Eastern Standard Time (ET).

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