Accurate Empathic Understanding

Accurate empathic understanding is the ability to truly understand and acknowledge (either verbally or through actions) the values, motivations, knowledge, skills, competence, etc. of others.

This is especially important trait, or sets of knowledge, to cultivate for human services workers when dealing with clients of different cultures or socio-economic circumstances. Ideally, a social services worker would be a member of the culture with which they are interacting. When this is not possible, the social services worker should be both educated about the cultural group that they are dealing with as well as open-minded regarding the ways in which that cultural group differs from their own.

In North America this is seen where the Anglo-American culture predominates but it is necessary to work and interact with Native American, Hispanic, Oriental, and Middle Eastern groups as well as many others. These cultures differ from the predominant culture in many ways but still need to be understood in order to successfully assimilate into and function with the larger culture.

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