Approaches to culture and diversity: A critical synthesis of occupational therapy literature

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Abstract

Background.

The 2007 position statement on diversity for the Canadian occupational therapy profession argued discussion was needed to determine the implications of approaches to working with cultural differences and other forms of diversity. In 2014, a new position statement on diversity was published, emphasizing the importance of social power relations and power relations between client and therapist, and supporting two particular approaches: cultural safety and cultural humility with critical reflexivity

Purpose.

This paper reviews and critically synthesizes the literature concerning culture and diversity published in occupational therapy between 2007 and 2014, tracing the major discourses and mapping the implications of four differing approaches: cultural competence, cultural relevance, cultural safety, and cultural humility.

Key Issues.

Approaches differ in where they situate the “problem,” how they envision change, the end goal, and the application to a range of types of diversity.

Implications.

The latter two are preferred approaches for their attention to power relations and potential to encompass a range of types of social and cultural diversity.

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