The journey toward intercultural sensitivity: A non-linear process

Joretha N. Bourjolly, Roberta G. Sands, Phyllis Solomon, Victoria Stanhope, Anita Pernell-Arnold, Laurene Finley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports on the use of Milton Bennett's Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) to analyze logs that were submitted by mental health service providers who participated in an intensive training program on intercultural competency. Program participants wrote eight monthly reflective logs about cultural experiences that occurred between training sessions. The categories of intercultural sensitivity described in the DMIS were used as the basis for coding log entries. The findings over the 10-month training period show that the development of intercultural sensitivity is, for the most part, a non-linear process in which one makes intermittent reversions to earlier levels and moves forward in spurts. After offering examples of non-linear and linear patterns in the logs, the paper discusses possible explanations for the findings and the challenges of coding according to the Bennett Model. Implications for intercultural competency education and training programs and their evaluation are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-62
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2005


  • Education
  • Intercultural competence
  • Intercultural sensitivity
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education


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