As psychotherapists and counselors decide on choices between meeting the minimal standards to comply with ethical standards versus attending more to client demands, Gallardo asks the central question, of how one decides “which interpretation supersedes the other in a potentially unclear therapeutic encounter.” His answer to resolve the dilemma seems to propose shifting to a model that places the desire to be more culturally competent and responsive as primary rather than secondary. However, I question whether that really resolves the challenge most clinicians face in balancing two competing priorities. While this may work for some whose abasement about abandoning ethical standards in favor of culturally responsive treatments may be low, others may find the choice as difficult as prior decisions that place clinical and ethical com- pliance above cultural responsiveness. In reality, the resolution will come only when the profession finds a way either to revise current codes by synthesizing cultural responsiveness into ex- isting ethical principles and standards or to conclude that a more culturally specific model of ethical and professional stan- dards must be used. For my preference, the latter appears to be a more relevant choice, essentially because it abandons cultur- ally restrictive models and embraces codes of professional conduct that are anchored in the worldview analysis of the cultural traditions of the people whom we are committed to liberating with our healing interventions.
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