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Integrating Diversity into Clinical Psychology. Neha K. Dixit, M.S. Doctoral Candidate Dept. of Clinical & Health Psychology. The Effective Psychologist. The most important instrument you have is YOU

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Integrating diversity into clinical psychology

Integrating Diversity into Clinical Psychology

Neha K. Dixit, M.S.

Doctoral Candidate

Dept. of Clinical & Health Psychology

The effective psychologist
The Effective Psychologist

  • The most important instrument you have is YOU

    • Your living example, of who you are and how you struggle to live up to your potential, is powerful

  • Be authentic

    • The stereotyped, professional role can be shed

    • If you hide behind your role the client will also hide

  • Be a therapeutic person and be clear about who you are

    • Be willing to grow, to risk, to care, and to be involved

Personal characteristics of effective counselors
Personal Characteristics of Effective Counselors

  • Have an identity

  • Respect & appreciate themselves

  • Able to recognize & accept own power

  • Open to change

  • Make choices which affect their lives

  • Feel alive & make life-oriented choices

  • Authentic, sincere & honest

  • Have a sense of humor

  • Make mistakes & admit them

  • Appreciate the influence of culture

  • Sincere interest in welfare of others

  • Maintain healthy boundaries

The counselor s values
The Counselor’s Values

  • Be aware of how your values influence your interventions

  • Recognize that you are not value-neutral

  • Your job is to assist clients in finding answers that are most congruent with their own values

  • Find ways to manage value conflicts between you and your clients

  • Begin therapy by exploring the client’s goals

Multicultural counseling
Multicultural Counseling

  • Become aware of your biases and values

  • Attempt to understand the world from your client’s vantage point

  • Gain a knowledge of the dynamics of oppression, racism, discrimination, and stereotyping

  • Study the historical background, traditions, and values of your client

  • Be open to learning from your client

Issues faced by beginning therapists
Issues Faced by Beginning Therapists

  • Achieving a sense of balance and well-being

  • Managing difficult and unsatisfying relationships with clients

  • Struggling with commitment and personal growth

  • Developing healthy, helping relationships with clients

If the world were a village of 100 people there would be
If the world were a village of 100 people, there would be…

57 Asians21 Europeans14 from the Western Hemisphere (north and south)8 Africans

52 would be female 48 would be male70 would be non-white, 30 white70 would be non-Christian, 30 would be Christian89 would be heterosexual, 11 homosexual59% of the entire world's wealth would be in thehands of only 6 people and all 6 would be citizensof the United States

80 would live in substandard housing70 would be unable to read50 would suffer from malnutrition1 would be near death, 1 would be near birthOnly 1 would have a college education1 would own a computer

What influences your clinical skills counseling
What influences your clinical skills/counseling?

  • Your positionality (perspectives resulting from an intersection of multiple social identities)

  • Your experiences as a function of dynamics created by and resulting from membership in multiple social groups

Multicultural issues
Multicultural Issues

  • Biases are reflected when we:

    • Neglect social and community factors to focus unduly on individualism

    • Assess clients with instruments that have not been normed on the population they represent

    • Judge as psychopathological ~ behaviors, beliefs, or experiences that are normal for the client’s culture

Values and the helping relationship
Values and the HelpingRelationship

  • Value conflicts:

    • To refer or not to refer

    • Referrals appropriate when moral, religious, or political values are centrally involved in a client’s presenting problems and when:

      • therapist’s boundaries of competence have been reached

      • therapist has extreme discomfort with a client’s values

      • therapist is unable to maintain objectivity

      • therapist has grave concerns about imposing his or her values on the client

Role of spiritual and religious values in counseling
Role of Spiritual and Religious Values in Counseling

  • Spirituality refers to:

    • general sensitivity to moral, ethical, humanitarian, and existential issues without reference to any particular religious doctrine

  • Religion refers to:

    • the way people express their devotion to a deity or an ultimate reality

  • Key issues:

    • Can the counselor understand the religious beliefs of the client?

    • Can the counselor work within the framework of the client?

Knowledge of client cultures
Knowledge of Client Cultures

  • Differing Worldviews

    • Views about family

    • Cooperation vs. Competition

    • Time Orientation

    • Communication Styles

    • Locus of Control

Knowledge of client cultures1
Knowledge of Client Cultures

  • Beliefs about psychological problems and therapy

    • Sources of problems

      • Internal vs. External

    • Expectations about how therapy works

      • Counselor’s role

      • Client’s role

Clinician attitudes
Clinician Attitudes

  • Overt racist

    • overtly hostile, homophobic, racist, ageist, sexist, judgmental (should stay out of the field)

  • Covert prejudice

    • tries to hide negative, stereotyped opinions but client picks up cues

  • Culturally ignorant

    • lack of knowledge based on homogeneous background (need to learn about other cultures before working with them)

Clinician attitudes cont
Clinician Attitudes Cont…

  • Color blind

    • denies differences: "I don’t recognize differences; I treat everyone the same."

  • Culturally liberated

    • recognize, appreciate, and celebrate cultural differences; strives for freedom from judgments of diverse clients


  • Cultural diversity is a fact of life and efforts to build a common culture inevitably privilege the dominant culture

    (Ortiz & Rhoads, 2000)