What is meant by cultural sensitivity?

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Cultural sensitivity refers to the knowledge that professionals have to possess in working with divergent and heterogeneous communities.  Cultural sensitivity means that professionals are understanding of the barriers that cultural identity might present in the work between professionals and clients.  Cultural sensitivity means recognizing language and belief differences, as well as divergent approaches that are reflective of cultural differences.  

Professionals who are culturally sensitive do not let differences close doors. Rather, they use this as an opportunity to bridge trust and communication between clients and themselves.  For example, a language barrier can be addressed by the culturally sensitive individual by providing a translator and clearly explaining services that can be delivered.  This is an example of how culturally sensitivity enables bridges to be established and trust to be fostered.  Another example if recognizing cultural beliefs that might prove to be challenging and articulating points of view whereby there can be integration between cultural notions of identity and the services that professionals offer.  Cultural sensitivity means that the professional understands the needs of the community and seeks to address them in as best a manner as possible.

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