2017 Cultural Competency Summit

2017 Cultural Competency Summit

Greetings! It is my honor to invite you to participate in a dynamic and rich tradition of cultural competency training at Georgia State University. On Friday May 19, 2017 we will be hosting the 2017 Cultural Competency Summit. The Summit is the result of our desire to provide annual, rather than biennial training for mental health professionals in the area of cultural competency. Our theme for this year’s conference reflects our effort to continue the rich legacy of providing high quality evidence based multicultural training as well as space for meaningful discussion for mental health professionals.

Our conference committee is pleased to share a dynamic line-up of continuing education presenters and topics including:

  • Dr. Faughn AdamsSkills for Providing Affirmative and Ethical Care for Transgender Clients
  • Dr. Shawndell ClayRacial Identity Development and Depression: Research Guiding Effective Intervention
  • Dr. Mikyta DaughertyAn Introduction to Motivational Interviewing Strategies for Ethnic Minority Populations
  • Dr. Hamid MirsalimiIncreasing Knowledge, Skills and Awareness for Working Effectively with Muslim Clients
  • Jessica Nunan, LMSW, Executive Director of Caminar LatinoProviding Ethical Care for Undocumented Individuals and Families
  • Panel on Providing Culturally Competent Supervision
  • Film screening of The Mask You Live In, followed by a presentation exploring how our culture’s narrow definition of masculinity can be psychologically harmful to boys, men and society at large and discussion of what we can do about it

Opportunities will be provided at lunch for visiting a poster session featuring current research in the field of multicultural counseling and addressing health disparities as well as for signing up to participate in a roundtable “Courageous Conversation” on one of the following topics:

Eric Harris (Oklahoma). Walter Scott (South Carolina). Eric Garner (New York). These are just a few of the dozens of recent headlines of black men and boys killed by police under questionable circumstances. These are also men whose murders were recorded on camera and shown repeatedly on social media and the 24-hour news cycle. While video footage can be crucial to providing objective evidence, repeated exposure to such violence, killing and state-sanctioned abuses does not go without effects on the viewer. This begs the question, what do you when trauma is #trending?

The intention of this courageous conversation is to explore the consequences of exposure to identity-based violence via the media, as well as the tension between being aware of current events while also recognizing that chronic exposure to violence has deleterious mental health effects. This conversation also aims to address the unique needs of therapists who may feel personally affected by such events when they share identities with the victims (e.g. black therapists witnessing killing of unarmed black men). Participants will engage in a conversation about how trending trauma effects clinical work and wellbeing, while also exploring strategies for dealing with the effects of trending trauma individually and collectively.

It has been said that people with varied identities often stand up and speak out in the places in which they are oppressed, yet are silent in the areas in which they are privileged. Allying with marginalized communities challenges this notion. Effective allying necessitates recognition of one’s privilege and willingness to challenge systems of oppression from which an ally may in fact benefit. In psychological practice, allying can be effective in rapport building with clients, increasing trust in the therapeutic process and challenging views that reinforce systemic oppression.

In this courageous conversation, participants will explore what it means to be an effective ally both in the therapeutic relationship and outside of it. Participants will consider how allies can check their own privilege, be held accountable by marginalized groups and engage allying in a way that does not inadvertently reify privilege and oppression. The goal is not to provide conclusions or definitive answers, rather to engage participants in an exploration of these important issues and their implications for both therapeutic work and the global community.

Colorblindness, misgendering, assumptions about a partners’ gender, these are just a few of the microaggressions that well-meaning clinicians and clients can engage in that effect the therapeutic alliance. Microaggressions are brief interactions that convey belittling messages to individuals because of their identity, and may daily experiences for individuals with marginalized identities. In the therapy context, microaggressions made by the client and/or the clinician can rupture the therapeutic alliance. This may pose a unique challenge in a dyad in which the therapist has marginalized identities in areas in which the client has privileged identities (e.g. women therapist working with men clients).

This courageous conversation will explore the effects of microaggressions in therapy. Questions to consider include: How may microaggressions show up in therapy? How does a therapist know they have engaged in such behavior if the client does not disclose? What is the appropriate response for microaggressive clients? The goal is that participants will share their experiences with microaggressions in therapy, increase awareness of the ways in which microaggressions likely occur bidirectionally in the therapy dyad, identify therapeutic ways in which to address such exchanges and recognize how microaggressions in therapy may generalize to how clients move throughout their world.

As the Senior Director of Psychological and Health Services and a Georgia State University alumna, I look forward to welcoming you to our campus for this amazing professional growth and community building opportunity. I truly believe you will leave feeling renewed and better able to provide culturally competent care because you were with us. We hope to see you there!

Jill Lee-Barber, Ph.D.
Senior Director, Psychological and Health Services