Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhDCover photo image: Creative Commons Licensing [Flickr, 35th CSSB hosts Hispanic Heritage Month observance, October 9, 2014]What are the most important factors in creating a culturally competent mental health practice?In a recent article published in Advances in Social Work, Christi Luby reviews cultural competency literature related to the military and provides a framework for increasing cultural competency . The framework for developing cultural competency is an ongoing process, beginning with a self-inventory to evaluate office or individual prejudice on military issues. Next steps include: 1) Adapting care to the military culture; 2) Increasing personal or office involvement by attending military activities; and, 3) Encouraging military member’s participation in community activities.Adapting care to the military culture may include the following steps:Consider the military mission and values. For instance, in the military culture the mission may be the most important aspect in the military member’s life. This attitude will influence the military member’s view of his/her role in the family.Organizational structure and rank hierarchy play an important role in success of the military member at work. Providers may benefit by understanding rank and how rank influences an individual’s behavior at work, in the family, and in the community.Consider the demographics of the individual military member’s unit. Characteristics of the work group surrounding the military member may influence the available support for the individual.Become familiar with terms and idioms that are specific to the military. Communication on the client’s level is important to building a strong therapeutic relationship.Include the family when considering the culture. For instance, the family may be experiencing the stress of deployment differently than the military member and the stressors experienced by the family and their ability to cope will affect the performance of the military member.A large number of active duty military members and reservists seek mental health care in the community away from base. By developing and maintaining cultural competency, a community clinician can develop the communication skill and knowledge to build a trusting relationship with the client that can help achieve successful outcomes.References Luby, C.D. (2012). Promoting military cultural awareness in an off-post community of behavioral health and social support service providers. Advances in Social Work, 13(1), 67-82.This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.