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Date of Award

Summer 2021


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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA) in Critical GIS and Public Anthropology


Anthropology and Geography


Offering counseling services to communities of diverse ethnicities, incomes, and needs can be a layered process. Many government or non-profit resources and their clinicians are providing their cultural understanding and expertise in mental health to the services needed. Clinicians naturally have the responsibility to steward their time with their clients well to encourage the optimal healing and management of the client’s individual mental health. For clients that come from differing cultural backgrounds and/or more prone to have barriers of stigmas or inequity when approaching mental health care, the time and interaction they have with counseling services is pivotal. Existing models of evidence-based counseling and trauma care are proven effective and are used internationally, however it is the incorporation of cultural context that contributes to the equity of mental health care and individual treatment in an everdiversifying world. The question is, how does a community mental health resource contextualize their counseling practices to meet the needs of a diverse client population and, secondly, how do the clients of this population perceive said contextualizing. Through observation, surveys, and interviews of both clinicians and clients this research assesses Lutheran Community Services Northwest- Spokane’s practice of Cultural Competence and how/if clients experience the implementation of culturally competent care. Quantitative themes and qualitative narratives of data from the clinicians’ perspective and the clients’ perspective were assessed and measured according to Dr. Derald Sue’s three-pillar framework of Cultural Competence to acknowledge any discrepancy or success in the delivery of culturally competent counseling. The research concludes that Lutheran Community Services makes efforts to make all elements of counseling approachable to all populations and can only continue to grow in being more culturally competent as opportunities for cultural knowledge and community engagement occur.