Cultural Humility: Measuring Openness to Culturally Diverse Clients

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Abstract

Building on recent theory stressing multicultural orientation, as well as the development of virtues and dispositions associated with multicultural values, we introduce the construct of cultural humility, defined as having an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented rather than self-focused, characterized by respect and lack of superiority toward an individual’s cultural background and experience. In 4 studies, we provide evidence for the estimated reliability and construct validity of a client-rated measure of a therapist’s cultural humility, and we demonstrate that client perceptions of their therapist’s cultural humility are positively associated with developing a strong working alliance. Furthermore, client perceptions of their therapist’s cultural humility were positively associated with improvement in therapy, and this relationship was mediated by a strong working alliance. We consider implications for research, practice, and training.

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