The Psychological Society of Ireland



The Psychological Society of Ireland,
Floor 2, Grantham House,
Grantham Street, Dublin 8, D08 W8HD.


Cultural Competence Initiation

Developing Cultural Competence to deliver inclusive services

Venue: PSI Offices, Floor 2, Grantham House, Grantham Street, Dublin 8
Time/Date: 29th June 2016, 9.30-17.00
4 Learning Credits

PSI members: 110 EUR
Non PSI members: 140 EUR

For whom?
Psychologists, Councillors & Psychotherapists and other health and social care professionals

Learning outcomes

  • Recognise the importance of culture in working with culturally diverse clients/ colleagues
  • Understand the concept of “Cultural Norm” and its impact in social and professional situations
  • Develop an insight into Irish culture and it’s norms by comparison
  • Familiarise with the concept of Cultural Competence in the international context
  • Self – assess professional performance on cultural competence continuum
  • Initiate self-reflective process to explore useful strategies in interacting with culturally diverse contacts more productively


  • A better understanding of culture as an issue of importance when dealing with colleagues, clients and contacts from other backgrounds
  • Improved sensitivity to the impact of culture on their own and other’s attitudes, assumptions and behaviours at work and beyond
  • The ability to understand and work more effectively with people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds
  • Improved confidence in working across cultures

The National Intercultural Health Strategy affirmed that staff training in areas of anti-discrimination and cultural competence was a priority, stating that: “appropriate intercultural training and support for staff is a fundamental principle of the Strategy..” Department of Health and Children (2006).

Cultural competence has been widely defined as: “a set of congruent behaviours, attitudes and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and enables that system, agency or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.” (Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs,M., (1989)Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care, Volume I. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center. Cited at

This definition has been utilised and adapted by numerous organisations on an international level. ( See the National Centre for cultural Competence, Georgetown; US Department of Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH)and the Cultural Responsiveness Framework Guidelines for Victorian Health Services (2009)

In the National Intercultural Health Strategy ‘cultural competence’ is described as “having the right policies, knowledge and skills to meet the needs and practices of people from different cultural backgrounds.” HSE (2008), op. cit., p.126.

It is seen to include lifestyle, dress, diet, language and spiritual needs, though religion can cross cultural boundaries. Ibid., p.126.

Cross, et al. argue that cultural competence requires organisations and their personnel to have the capacity to:
• value diversity
• conduct self-assessment
• man age the dynamics of difference
• acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge
• adapt to the diversity and cultural contexts of the individuals and communities served
Cross, et al. (1989), op. cit


9.30 Welcome & Introductions
10.00 Understanding Culture (experiential session)
11.45 Break
12.00 Cultural Competence in Psychological Services
13.30 Lunch break
14.30 CultureWizard application and piloting
15.45 Break
16.00 Reflections
16.30 Feedback & Evaluation
17.00 End

Methods of teaching

This workshop is routed within experiential traditions of “here and now” and employs methods and techniques that involve participants in experiential learning by “ doing and sharing”.
The delivery will include interactive presentations, experiential empathic exercises, reflective exercises as well as group work.
Participants might also pilot the CultureWizard app that helps professionals to explore 165 world cultures. Materials and handouts will be available in electronic form, as it has an eco-rational that fits well with experiential design and delivery.

Alvina Grosu, PhD
Dr. Grosu, a native of Moldova, is living in Cork, Ireland for more than 15 years and continues to experience personally the process of adaptation and acculturation to Irish culture. She is fluent in English, Romanian, Russian and few other Slavic languages. Dr. Grosu holds a PhD in psychology, is a registered psychologist and specialise in cross-cultural psychology. She is a member of Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR) Europe and Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).

Dr. Alvina Grosu was the founder of Culturewise Ireland, an Intercultural Training, Research and Consultancy company back in 2006. By combining her personal experience and professional knowledge and skills, Alvina on behalf of Culturewise provides support to private and public organisations and their employees to find solutions for intercultural and international challenges. Dr. Grosu has created unique packages designed to stimulate an international and diversity mindset among personnel and so to help individuals, groups and organisations operate confidently and successfully in contemporary Multicultural Ireland. Among Culturewise’s clients are: Bank of Ireland, Credit Unions, Revenue Commissioners Cork and Kerry, Cork and Dublin City and County Councils, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Boards Cork, Limerick, Sligo, HSE, TUSLA Child and Family Agency, UCC, CIT, DCU, NUI Galway and Maynooth, Mary Immaculate Limerick and St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Queen’s University Belfast and many other. Please see a full list and testimonials on 

Dr Alvina Grosu also conducted research projects on behalf of Culturewise Ireland for HSE and Arts Council of Ireland.
- “Multicultural health” An Assessment of Health and Personal Social Service Needs relating to Ethnic Minority Groups within the HSE Mid West Region – HSE Research Report, May 2008.
- “Travellers participation in the Arts during 2009-2013” for Arts Participation Department within Arts Council of Ireland.
Academic work of Dr. Grosu is on MA programmes in UCC and Irish College of Humanities and Applied Science, Limerick. She works on a part time basis since 2008 and besides teaching and assessing the theoretical modules is also supervising Master degree research dissertations in the area of Multicultural Counselling and Psychotherapies. Practical aspects of her activities include working with clients as well as serves as clinical supervisor for trainee students counsellors/psychotherapists in Cork and Limerick area.


Ethnic minorities and Mental Health, A position paper, Mental Health Reform, 2014

BPS Continuing Professional Development Guidelines (December 2010)

APA A Practical Guidebook for the Competency Benchmark
A new guidebook that provides practical information on implementing a competency-based approach to education and training. Manual/Handbook (July 2012)

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