Cultural Influences

What is the influence of the client’s culture?  Are they Hispanic?  Native American?  Asian?  Did they grow up in poverty?  In the projects?  What values do they have and where did they get them?

  • Many Asian cultures feel it is impolite to look another person in the eyes, so Americans feel they are not being truthful or hiding something, when in fact they are being respectful.
  • Native Americans on many reservations feel it is impolite to walk up to a house and knock on the door.  For this reason, an interviewer will get a very cold reception by knocking on doors on the res.  You drive up to the house, get out and wait for the door to open.  If they do not come out to greet you it means they do not want to be disturbed right then and you should go away and come back later.
  • Many Mexican families (Mexican Nationals) feel that living together means you are married when in fact, no wedding ever took place.  A “father” may not be related by birth to his “children” at all.
  • People living in housing projects have a culture all their own.  They resent outsiders and people who represent the establishment.  They even have their own language terms that an interviewer needs to know to obtain information.

We have been doing this a long time and are familiar with many cultural issues that allow us to better obtain the information we need to be successful.