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We support the necessary professional development of providers in gaining awareness, knowledge, and skills to be culturally competent, however, these aspects are not entirely sufficient to work effectively with diverse clients. Other qualities are fundamental to effective multicultural counseling, namely openness to diversity and cultural humility (Chao, Wei, Spanierman, Longo, & Northart, 2015; Gallardo, 2014; Sue & Sue, 2016).

In a pioneering article in 1998, Tervalon and Murray-Garcia began to question the notion of “competence”, seeing that there is a danger in the limited definition of traditional competence. They discussed the risk of assuming that a permanent form of knowledge exists.

“Those who have developed and advocated multicultural counseling competencies have repeatedly stressed that “culutural competence” is an aspirational goal, that no single individual can become completely competent, and that the journey toward cultural competence is a lifelong process” (Sue & Sue, 2017 p. 61; D.W. Sue et al., 1992; Cornish et al., 2010).

In taking a position of cultural humility we commit to “an other-oriented stance, which is marked by openness, curiosity, lack of arrogance, and genuine desire to understand clients’ cultural identities” (Owen et al., 2016, p. 31). It is “a lifelong process of self-reflection, self-critique, continual assessment of power imbalances, and the development of mutually respectful relationships and partnerships” (Gallardo, 2014, p. 3).