Intercultural Competence of Psychologists: Problems and Prospects of Study and Development

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The article is concerned with the problem of cross-cultural training of psychologists. The author analyses various approaches to the definition and development of intercultural competence and highlights professional and ethical problems of psychological activity related to cultural competence/incompetence of specialists. Particular attention is paid to the specifics in training psychologists for cross-cultural counselling, the experience of organising psychological work in a multi-cultural environment, using the example of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), as well as some important aspects in how psychologists develop and manifest intercultural competence during ethnopsychological field studies. An analysis of the accumulated practical experience in a multicultural environment made it possible to identify the conditions for the successful development of cross-cultural competence, setting the psychologist’s value foundations and motivational readiness to communicate with people of other cultures. These conditions include: (1) a humanistic approach in psychology; (2) a subjectsubject approach to communication; (3) formation of scientific and professional thinking; (4) purposeful development of such mechanisms of understanding other people as decentration and reflection; and (5) mastering of conflict-resolution and group-work technologies. In this regard, the author concludes that the development of intercultural competence in the domestic psychologists’ training system requires not only a detailed discussion of ethical issues related to the psychologist’s activities or specifics of cross-cultural communication within the studied disciplines, but also the introduction of special cross-cultural communication development programmes and trainings in intercultural competence and cultural sensitivity. The cross-cultural training of psychologists can be based on the working model of ethnocultural competence proposed by T.G. Stefanenko. It is emphasized that the development of intercultural competence should involve not only an individual person but the entire professional community through research and open discussion of the current state of cross-cultural competence of psychologists as well as the entire complex of ethical issues.

About the authors

Nadezhda M. Melnikova

M.K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University

Author for correspondence.
58 Belinsky St., Yakutsk, 677027, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russian Federation

Ph.D. in Psychology, is Associate Professor of Management Department, Institute of Economic and Financial


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