TALKMI I The ALK Mindfulness Initiative



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Cultural Humility


Cultural Humility


     An integral component of TALKMI is the deep and abiding commitment to infusing the practice of cultural humility in its mindfulness programs. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines cultural humility as, a lifelong process of self-reflection and self-critique whereby the individual not only learns about another’s culture, but starts with an examination of her/his own beliefs and cultural identities.2 According to the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the components of cultural humility include:


(1) Movingbetweenseveraldifferentcultures,oftenwithoutbeingawareofit.Theoverallpurpose of practicing cultural humility is to be aware of personal values and beliefs. It is important to understand that these ideas come from the combination of cultures that people experience in their lives. A person cannot begin to understand the makeup and context of another person’s life without being aware and reflective of their own background and situation first.

(2) Cultural humility is distinct from cultural competency and reflexivity. Cultural competency is a tool for leveling imbalanced power dynamics. The shortcomings of this practice, however, have been identified by researchers who reviewed frequently used cultural competency measures where whiteness was understood and represented as the norm. Reflexivity involves practitioners exploring their own personal beliefs to be more aware of potential judgements that can occur during research investigations. However, reflexivity falls short of the lifelong process of self-reflection that is synonymous with cultural humility.

(3) Culturalhumilityrequireshistoricalawareness.Itisnotenoughtothinkaboutone’sownvalues, beliefs and social position within the context of the present moment. To practice true cultural humility, a person must also be aware of and sensitive to historic realities like legacies of violence and oppression against certain groups of people. By recognizing the failures of the past and present, advocates can contribute to building a better future that is founded in practices of cultural humility.


    By embracing cultural humility, TALKMI leadership and staff engage with the children, young people and parents that they serve by acknowledging, validating and respecting their lived experiences to promote higher levels of mindfulness, wellness and productivity.

"infusing the practice of cultural humility in its mindfulness programs"