Given the diversity of the United States, it is paramount that clinicians have training in cultural competency to improve their treatment with their clients. Numerous studies have demonstrated that when a clinician is culturally sensitive, clients have greater benefits and treatment efficacy is enhanced. Furthermore, many mental health professions including the American Psychological Association have ethical guidelines that require clinicians to have training and skills in diversity and cultural competency.
Common themes when working with African American clients:
- Understanding the cultural context of black clients helps them cope with larger societal issues such as discrimination and the stigma around seeking treatment.
- The use of cultural idioms and a shared vernacular was helpful for both participants and clients communicating.
- Potential for dual relationships possible due to community connections such as attending the same church or being connected through Black Greek letter organizations. Clients may want to develop more personal relationships.
- Learning to work with Black clients may occur outside of graduate school. Therapists frequently reported learning through direct client contact, continuing education, or from supervision by a more experienced clinician.
Portions of this blog were previously published on Psychology Today by Dr. Erlanger Turner, Ph.D.