In addition to helping our consumers when it comes to personal grooming and hygiene, developing and boosting social skills, learning, planning events, and more; we accommodate their cultural, religious, and spiritual needs as well. We provide support surrounding all areas of their lives, which fosters feelings of acceptance and trust and builds rapport and community.
How can you do this?
1. Have an open mind. Avoid making assumptions about what a person believes or practices. Do not assume the beliefs and practices of a person just because they look a particular way, come from a certain part of the world or community, or identify with a certain group. Instead, ask questions, observe and have conversations.
2. Do not judge. A consumer may not follow the same religion as you do or any religion at all. They may not engage in the same spiritual practices or eat the same foods. Nonetheless, it is not up to us as human services professionals to project our judgment. We are to model for them how to interact with and respect others regardless of our differences.
3. Educate yourself. Learn about the cultural, religious and spiritual practices of your consumers. Talk to your consumers about them if possible. Also, talk to their family members, friends. Religious leaders, either your consumer’s or others in their traditions may also provide insight. Reputable books, articles, films and other media can provide further exploration.
4. Encourage observances. Attend cultural or religious observances with your consumer or arrange for them to attend. Provide spaces for them to engage in their practices. Host special events in honor of their holy days.
Learning about what’s special to our consumers surrounding elements of their core identities, like their cultural and religious beliefs and practices, helps to support and boost their well-being.