In defense of cultural competency in psychotherapy and treatment

Am Psychol. 2003 Nov;58(11):964-970. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.58.11.964.


Cultural competency guidelines and policies are being widely established. Yet some critics have challenged the evidence for cultural competency and the lack of efficacy studies that demonstrate its outcomes. Various positions are examined that discuss cultural competency research. They include the need for more resources for research, scientific practices that overlook ethnic research findings, fruitfulness of theory-driven rather than population-based research, problems in defining cultural competency as a technique, and development of policies in the absence of research. Implications of these positions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Policy Making
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Psychotherapy*