Intercultural training - Training for social workers
Intercultural communication and the anthropology of a helping relationship for social workers and the professionals of the social sector
One of the most important challenges for the professionals of the social sector is to understand their communication with the "client" as part of a helping relationship. The communication process is often misled by misunderstandings, inappropriate interpretations, stereotypes and prejudices in everyday life. In helping relationships, these communication problems are manifested even more sharply since they can threaten the success of the social work itself. Any communication content can only be interpreted as part of a cultural system. The larger the distance between those taking part in the communication process, the more important it is for the social worker to have fundamental knowledge about the cultural system that gives meaning to the client's actions, words and strategies. However, this is not enough for the establishment of an appropriate communication process. The social worker needs to understand clearly that the biggest barrier to understanding and having real empathetic tolerance towards the other is that s/he her/himself is the carrier of a whole cultural system. Our own cultural system is not easily visible to ourselves as it is an essential part of our identity. According to the French social psychologist Margalit Emeric-Cohen, in any communication situation our own personal identity is at stake while we are trying to interpret the communication situation according to our own frame of the world. It is not surprising that there are great differences between the interpretations of situations, which among specific circumstances might develop into bombs of identity. The key to the neutralization of these bombs of identity is the technique of decentration.
The aim of the training course is to get participants acquainted with the technique of decentering and to help them put it into practice in their concrete experiences as social workers. To this end, the training course intends to bring collective representations to the surface and make participants aware of their own cultural references as well as provide them with tools for the decentering of their own culture and the analysis of cultural conflicts.
Structure of the training course
Aim: to bring collective representation to the surface, making participants aware of culture references. The tool is the objectification of one's own culture and the analysis of cultural conflicts.
- General introduction: the definitions and interpretations of culture, culture as a system of rules, cultural conflicts, personal strategies for solving conflicts, cultural differences in everyday life
- Outlining the intercultural approach: culture and communication, communication models, the limits of the empathetic approach: stereotypes and prejudices
- Culture and identity: culture as a system of values, variations along cultural dimensions, culture shock, intercultural conflicts, introduction to the method of "critical incidents"
- Case analysis
A unique form of this training course can be supervision for social workers.
Training courses on offer
The role of the intercultural approach in the integration of immigrants in host societies - French-German-Hungarian TRInational workshops series
The aim of this workshop series is to help the integration of immigrants in the host societies by the training of social workers and educators.
The first part of the series took place in Grenoble between November 11 and 18 2004. The second meeting was held in April of 2005, and the series will be closed by the last session in the fall of 2005.
Theme of the workshop series:
The theme of the first meeting was one of the basic questions of intercultural communication: how to handle the diversity of values and representations.
The workshop will address the following questions:
Partners: Calliope - France, Intervista - Germany
- What roles are played by the values and representations of the actors in the intercultural relationship and the integration process?
- What tools and resources do we use to help mutual understanding?
- What models and institutional solutions exist for the promotion of social discourse?
- How do we define the intercultural competencies of experts working on the field?
Supporter: OFAJ - Office Franco-Allemande de la Jeunesse
Intercultural communication for social workers and professionals of the social sector
Building on the results of the pilot project entitled "Intercultural communication: exclusion and integration in Europe", our foundation has developed intercultural communication training courses for staff members of local authorities and professionals of the social sector. The basic training course is three days long. However, depending on the educational level of the participants, the aims of the concrete training course and the time available, the different modules of the training course can be made shorter or longer or carried out at different times.
Aim of the training course:
The primary aim of the training course is to prepare those working in the social field for the recognition, understanding, and handling of intercultural conflicts.
To whom do we recommend this training course?
The training course is of interest to all professionals closely linked to the socialization process as well as to social workers and animators working in different fields who ex-oficio mediate between the expectations of the majority society and the cultural patterns of minority groups. In a broader sense, the course is aimed at the staff of almost all areas of the social sphere, including those working in hospitals, schools, and kindergartens.
The training course is made up of the following modules:
I. Interculturality and social reality
II. Culture and identity
- The cultural diversity of late-modern societies, migration and national minorities
- The appearance of the concept of interculturality and its variations in Western political-philosophical trends and integration policies
III. The strategies of identity in communication situations
- The concept of culture in social sciences
- Identity and socialization
- Collective identities: national, ethnic and group identity
Dates: to be announced
- The concept of the "other"
- The representation of personal identity in communication
- Defensive identities
Application: Those interested in the training course can ask for more information by fax, e-mail, or phone.
Supervision for social workers
A complementary or alternative element of the training course entitled "Intercultural communication for social workers and professionals of the social sector" can be supervision for social workers.
This supervision is based wholly on the methods of analysis developed by the internationally renowned French social-psychologist Margalit Emeric-Cohen. The method is based on the theory that cultural differences deteriorate into irresolvable cultural conflicts and self-generating destructive mechanisms because facing the unknown, the unexpected and the unacceptably different threatens the personal identity of the different actors. To this threat, all sides react with an appropriately high emotional charge. According to Emeric-Cohen, the main barrier of respecting difference is culture itself. In other words, to a certain extent everybody is the prisoner of the rules of his/her own culture. However, it is very difficult to be aware of this, since our "own" culture always strikes us as "natural." The main task of the professional facing culture (in the widest sense of the word) is not to get to know the "other", but to acquire the ability to put his/her ethnocentrism in the background and be able to properly analyze his/her own reactions.
After discussing the meaning of culture, the social workers analyze various cases of intercultural conflict they have encountered over the course of their work, following the trainers' instructions.
This unique group supervision that places cultural processes and ethnological laws in the foreground can efficiently complement the more conventional, psychologically inspired supervision methods.
The supervision starts with a three-day training course, which is followed by three two-day group work sessions per year.
The supervision courses always respond to local needs and do not have a pre-set schedule. In case of interest, please contact us by e-mail, fax, or phone.
- French - German - Hungarian Tri-national workshop series - "The role of the intercultural approach in the integration of immigrants " details
- Cooperation with the department of social work of ELTE Bárczy Gusztáv Gyógypedagógiai Főiskola details
- "Intercultural communication: exclusion and integration in Europe" details