During the month of February, a month that has come to be a time of learning about the achievements of Africans and African Americans, Professional Development Resources is releasing three new online continuing education courses that will offer mental health professionals the tools they need to become culturally proficient in working with racial/ethnic minority populations.
Professional Development Resources, a national provider of continuing education (CE) serving psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists, has announced the publication of three new online CE courses that offer training in cultural competence in the treatment of ethnic minority populations. This is an essential endeavor for professionals, in view of the rapid diversification of the United States.
In its position paper Psychological Treatment of Ethnic Minority Populations, the American Psychological Association suggests that culturally competent therapists must be aware of their own racial and cultural heritage and become comfortable with the differences that exist between themselves and others. The critical issue is that without such awareness, there is a danger that helping professionals may unwittingly impose their worldviews on their minority clients, resulting in cultural oppression.
“According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, racial/ethnic minorities will become a numerical majority by the year 2050, if not sooner,” says Leo Christie, PhD, CEO of Professional Development Resources. “This is an extraordinary historical transition, one that will require a fundamental shift in how we perceive our ability to serve our clients. No longer will we be able to rest comfortable in the belief that we know all we need to know about diverse individuals.”
There are three inescapable conclusions that can be drawn from the census projections, relative to the practice of mental health therapy:
- In today’s world, it would be surprising if mental health practitioners did NOT encounter clients and groups who differ from them in terms of race, ethnicity, and culture
- The world views of culturally diverse populations are likely to be qualitatively different from those of the helping professional
- Cultural competence in the delivery of services is absolutely essential to the psychological and physical well-being of persons of color
“We, as mental health professionals, are not immune from the biases, prejudices, and stereotypes that are common in the larger society,” adds Christie. “Even the most well-intentioned professionals may be biased with regard to race, gender, and social class. This kind of training – on a continuous basis – is an essential part of becoming proficient in working with racial/ethnic minority populations.”
The three courses just released by Professional Development Resources are based on task force reports published by the American Psychological Association:
Multicultural Issues in Counseling – Multiracial Psychology Training
Resilience among African American Children & Adolescents
Multicultural Issues in Counseling – Psychological Treatment of Ethnic Minorities
About Professional Development Resources, Inc: Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1992 by licensed marriage and family therapist Leo Christie, PhD. The company, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) – as well as many other national and state boards – has focused its efforts on making online continuing education courses more efficient and widely accessible to health professionals by offering online home study coursework. Its current expanded curriculum includes a wide variety of clinical topics intended to equip health professionals to offer state-of-the art services to their clients.