At AAFS, we believe that cultural responsiveness is vital in helping African Americans overcome dependency, address mental health concerns, empower individuals, and build strong families and communities with a wellness focus. Our responsiveness allows us to hear, validate and address our clients' concerns in a skillful, collaborative and supportive manner.
Cultural responsiveness involves viewing people as constantly evolving individuals with unique life narratives. This orientation differs from competency in that cultural responsiveness is more tailored: lived experience takes precedence over generalized cultural guidelines. As such, we recognize that general cultural guidelines may not be experienced by any one client. Our focus on the individual allows us to hear, validate and address each person, family or community's needs using culture as a supportive tool, not a "one-size-fits-all" dictate.
In addition to cultural responsiveness, we also embrace cultural specificity, which allows for the creation of a safe, supportive environment in which the identity and experience of people in a specific group or culture, is recognized, explored, and accepted. This approach is holistic, and emphasizes the body, mind, and spirit. This three-fold focus encompasses the clients' physiological, psycho-emotional and spiritual needs.