A Call to the Profession: Cross-Cultural Competence and Learning from a Sister Profession


  • Rodney Dieser University of Northern Iowa




American Therapeutic Recreation Association, American Counseling Association, Cross-Cultural Competencies, National Board of Certified Counselors, National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification


 Cross-cultural competence has increased in applied professions, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychiatry, mental health counseling, and social work. Despite three decades of research and scholarship advocating the need for cross-cultural competence in TR/RT, it remains lacking. This paper is a call for the profession to do better. Based on (1) learning how American Counseling Association and the National Board of Certified Counselors have positioned cross-cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills as core competence in national and international practice, (2) examining cross-cultural research and scholarship in TR/RT, and (3) drawing from ATRA’s Higher Education Committee Task Force, this paper suggests specific recommendations to develop cross-cultural competence in TR/RT.