Becoming Culturally Competent: Mindful Engagement with American Indian Clients

Maria Napoli, Robin Bonifas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Social workers are often sensitive to American Indian cultural norms with the intention of teaching and providing services in the best interest of the client. However, developing cultural competency may best be learned by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness can be viewed as intentionally being present on purpose without judgment. Living in the present moment is inherent in American Indian culture. When social workers are mindful they are able to empathically acknowledge, intentionally pay attention, and accept without judgment their experiences. Responding versus reacting to one's experience helps facilitate setting the stage for effective change and transformation. This article offers a framework for developing a mindfulness practice to enhance cultural competence with American Indian clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-212
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • attention
  • cultural competency
  • empathy
  • mindfulness
  • non-judgment
  • silence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education


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