Uncovering Blindspots: Cultural Competence in Therapy

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Uncovering Blindspots: Cultural Competence in Therapy

Hey there, wonderful therapists! It’s Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby here, and I’m thrilled to share some takeaways from a recent conversation I had on the Love, Happiness, and Success For Therapists podcast with the amazing Dr. Diane Estrada. 

Our conversation took us deep into the realms of multicultural biases and blind spots, especially within the therapy setting. This is a topic that’s not just close to our professional hearts but also deeply woven into the fabric of our personal lives. This is truly an area where personal growth intersects with professional growth for therapists in profound ways!

Imagine this: each of us is navigating the world with glasses tinted by our own cultural experiences. This unique perspective shapes how we interpret everything around us, often creating a personal bubble that might obscure our understanding of others, especially those from vastly different backgrounds.

As therapists, our primary task is to understand others, but it all starts with a deep dive into our own selves. It’s like being an emotional archaeologist, unearthing layers of cultural conditioning to unearth biases we never knew existed. This journey is one of the most challenging parts of being a therapist; but it’s critical for providing the most empathetic and effective care to our clients.

Seeking Cultural Humility in Therapy

In my chat with Dr. Estrada, we explored the concept of cultural humility. Unlike the elusive ‘cultural competence,’ cultural humility is about embracing the never-ending journey through the diverse landscapes of human experience. We never quite “arrive,” at perfection. Instead, we remain forever open to what our clients and experiences have to teach us. 

The idea of achieving full cultural competence is more myth than reality. We are complex beings in a dynamic world, and our understanding of each other must continuously evolve. This process is humbling, but it also makes being a therapist more fulfilling. 

Embracing a Broader Scope of Practice

Many mental health models are tailored for a very narrow slice of the global population. It’s like trying to fit the vast ocean of human diversity into a tiny puddle. We need to expand our therapeutic approaches to be more inclusive and representative.

It’s high time we shook up traditional theories a bit. Our current understanding is often based on a limited cultural viewpoint. Therapists need to fling open the doors to a diversity of experiences and insights, which is both enriching and essential for our growth as therapists.

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Confronting Our Biases

Our personal stories are the roots that anchor us. By understanding our backgrounds and challenges, we can forge more authentic connections with clients without unconsciously projecting our narratives onto them.

Therapy should be more than just a safe space; it should be a courageous space. A place where we confront our biases and empower clients to share their truths. It’s about building understanding, plank by plank.

And how do we do this? First, I believe every therapist should experience therapy from the other side. It’s a profound way to explore our cultural backgrounds and biases, often uncomfortable but always enlightening. Books like “Decolonizing Therapy” by Jennifer Mullen challenge us to step outside traditional mental health paradigms. Thought leaders like Dr. Ken Hardy guide us through new territories of understanding.

Each person we meet adds a piece to the vast mosaic of human experience. Engaging with a diverse range of individuals enriches our understanding and empathy, pushing us beyond our comfort zones into a world rich with nuance.

Keeping the Dialogue Alive

Understanding multicultural biases and blind spots is an ongoing dialogue. It requires therapists to have the courage to ask tough questions and the openness to embrace the answers, whatever they may be. Let’s commit to this path of continuous learning and self-discovery, growing as therapists and as empathetic human beings.

And if you’d like to be a part of a supportive community that encourages, supports, and nurtures your personal and professional growth, I invite you to explore group private practice opportunities at Growing Self, and check out my collection of articles and podcasts, just for you.

With love, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby 

P.S. — Are you at risk of therapist burnout? Take my free quiz and find out!

And, oh! Before I forget, here are some invaluable resources Dr. Estrada shared that can further guide us on this path:

1. Decolonizing Therapy by Jennifer Mullan, PhD – A groundbreaking book that challenges traditional mental health paradigms.

2. 10 Ways White Supremacy Wounds White People (https://afsc.org/news/10-ways-white-supremacy-wounds-white-people-tale-mutuality) – An insightful article on the broader impacts of white supremacy.

3. Racial Trauma: Clinical Strategies and Techniques for Healing Invisible Wounds by Ken Hardy

  • 02:10 The Impact of Cultural and Identity Biases in Therapy
  • 04:01 How to Develop Self-Awareness as a Therapist
  • 12:08 Recognizing the Influence of Eurocentric Models
  • 23:33 Reckoning with Feelings of Anger and Resentment
  • 28:01 Seeing the Presence of Culture and Belief Systems
  • 35:52 Practices for Growth and Development
  • 39:52 The Importance of Checks and Balances
  • 40:59 The Challenge of Engaging in Difficult Conversations
  • 42:07 Understanding Your Clients’ Context
  • 43:30 Creating Courageous Space
  • 44:18 Balancing Emotional Safety and Growth
  • 45:08 Overcoming the Discomfort of Addressing Race

Lisa Marie Bobby:

As therapists, we often don’t know what we don’t even know, especially when it comes to our own biases and blind spots. And nowhere else is this more true than when it comes to our own biases. Cultural and identity related biases and blind spots because you know, we’re, we’re people too, all shaped by our own cultural backgrounds and life experiences.

Our way of viewing the world will always impact how we show up with our clients, especially those of whom from different are from different backgrounds. And it’s very, very important that we need to have a lot of visibility and self awareness into how our stuff is intersecting with the stuff of others.

That’s part of the job. And so that’s why we’re addressing this on today’s episode of love, happiness, and success for therapists. We’re going to be. discussing some ways of developing this very important self awareness and also some strategies for just keeping track of yourself when you’re in the room with your clients so that you are doing a wonderful job with them and really helping them have the experience that they need and deserve to have with you.

So my guest today for this conversation is One of my personal heroes, Dr. Diane Estrada. She’s Aww. Well, a little bit. I mean, uh, you’re, you’re pretty amazing, Diane. And so I’ll, I’ll just do a little horn tooting for you because you’re probably too modest to tell everybody all of the things, including the fact that That you are an author, a researcher, a multicultural trainer.

You are sitting on a number of national boards. You’re a clinical supervisor. You’ve been doing this for over 25 years. You’re an AMFT clinical fellow. You are the past, what is the director of the counselor education, family therapy, couples and family therapy program. Go ahead. Yeah. So Director of Couples and Family Therapy Program.

Before that, which is probably where the counseling comes in, is that we were, uh, I was the program lead for the counseling program as well as at the University of Colorado. And so all to say, and you have a lot of history and a lot of experience, not just in addressing these issues on a macro level, but really being a guide to therapists and developing therapists to our staff.

Seeking to grow in these areas. And so that’s why I immediately thought of you. And I was like, we need to talk about this on the podcast. I appreciate that. It is definitely one of my passions. So you’ve got two of my passions. One is to mentor, uh, our upcoming mental health professionals. And the other is definitely this piece around, um, multiculturalism, social justice.

cultural responsiveness. And it’s one of the things I’ve been doing for so many years and still feel like I am constantly learning. So that’s the number one thing I would say we all need to remember is we are in the journey. Um, and there’s no arriving, all learning. Right. There’s no arriving at that, that notion.

A lot has been written lately about this notion of cultural competence and what a misnomer that is. We don’t get to that place of competence. We get to a place of continuous learning. Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s a good reminder. I’d like to talk a little bit more about that. But before we type in, is there anything else that you would like our listeners to know about you or your background, Diane, or did we hit the highlights?

Diana Strada highlight reel. Yeah, just now I’m currently in private practice and have been all along, actually, because I am a big believer in practicing what I preach. So I kept a private practice going all along during my academic career and have retired from academia. So I’m a professor emerita now and have a.

Practice where I see individuals, couples and families and continue to do consultation work in this area and supervision mentorship. And I should just go ahead and share transparently that Diane, we have a long history. I’m so proud that you were my clinical supervisor all the way back in the day and continue to be a very important professional mentor around supervision and the development of other therapists.

And so I need to have, like, one of those little rubber bracelets that people wear. But instead of mine, like, what would Jesus do? It’s what would Diana Strada do in this situation? What would Diane say right now? So anyway, it’s funny. We have that transgenerational piece. I still think about my supervisors and what would they say?

What would they say? They do. Isn’t that funny? Um, so it’s a, it’s a wonderful transgenerational gift giving that happens. . I know, I know. We’ve joked about it before. Like, like the baby vampires, right? Yes. So you turned me into a vampire. Now I, not, not vam, like vampire, reverse vampire, a vampire, like an, an energy giving way.

But like now my supervisees are supervisors and you know, it just kind of like meet how you see that, that chain of influence. Yeah, laying it down the generations. So what I am pleased to share is that I think one of the strongest influences from you that I hope I’ve imparted at least a bit on, uh, to my supervisees and hopefully transmitting down to theirs.

Are these very important awarenesses related to cultural awareness? I think is the very first cultural aspects and realities of our lives as well as our client’s lives so that we’re not making sometimes pretty substantial mistakes or missteps or at the very least obstructing. What could potentially be really positive and powerful relationships.

Like it’s really easy to shut things down through just the ignorance and blindness. And I’m wondering if we could even just start there. I mean, why would you say it is so crucially important for all clinicians, no matter what their background is, but to become really highly attuned and invested in to understanding.

Yeah, so I think that, again, in this journey that we’re on, um, the notion of, uh, understanding our own history is important. Understanding the context for that history. I think it is important that, again, we’re informed, like you said earlier, by our life experiences. And from a cultural lens, um, there’s, again, this, this idea that actually our professions have done a lot of harm.

harm in the past, uh, where we have basically centered on a very Eurocentric model of doing mental health that really only serves about three, 3 percent of the world population is a new, okay. Of the world population. Like this is a new statistic. Tell me more about the who’s in the 3 percent and who’s not in that 3 percent Diane.

If we look at the 3%, we’re looking at male. Cisgender, white, middle class, upper middle class, which again, middle class, it has, it’s. Being redefined in many ways, able bodied, well educated, I feel like a, uh, straight heterosexual person. That’s a really small group that fits all of those categories at the same time.

It really does. It really does. And that the whole even modern psychotherapies we think of it is by, for, and about the white experience and the 3 percent that you described. I mean, with the exception of the male identifying gender, you’re basically describing most professional therapists. as well, aren’t you?

Unfortunately. Yes. Um, I think that again, that we everything it feeds into everything else. You know, when we look at socioeconomic, I think that the, the three top areas in terms of different cultural groups that I, that I think define a lot of things are based on race, gender, and socioeconomic status.

Yeah. And so these, uh, Again, categories for lack of a better term, uh, folks that fit into those in certain privileged ways are the ones that are able to afford education and they’re ones that got to look at developing theories, you know, I am currently reading, uh, decolonizing therapy by Jennifer Mullen and she actually did a theoretical theoreticians, influencers of the mental health field.

They were all male. They were all white. And so again, it’s, it’s nothing wrong with that. They developed the theories based on their experience. We all do that, but because it was such a narrow description in terms of cultural. experiences. Yeah. They spoke to what they knew. Again, nothing wrong with that.

They spoke to what they knew. But as a field, we did not and have not and continue to struggle with the notion of how do we open up our eyes and doors and begin to have conversations that really invite different experiences. Mm hmm. I can inform our theory so that our theories are better able to meet the needs of different people in context.

Yeah. Well, why, why is this so important? I think that if I tell you to do what would work for me, In terms of, you know, exploring the questions that I ask that really begin to inform the kind of information that you’re thinking about in the therapy session, if that’s guided only by my lived experience.

In my context, then it’s not really going to fit. It’s not going to make sense. It’s not, it’s going to be like, wow, that seems really distant, you know, where you’re telling me I should be thinking about what I should be talking about, what’s considered healthy. It’s going to be so different than. You know, what my experience is that it’s already going to set up for failure.

I can tell you my, my own failures when I’ve started in the field. I worked like many folks that work in a community mental health setting for their first jobs. And again, well meaning, I wanted to be helpful to folks. And so, you know, I was following my structural family therapy, which is great, you know, but again, In context, where does it fit?

Yeah. Um, and telling. Single moms that are working three jobs that they needed to spend more time with their kids. Makes no sense, right? So Ugh, when you said that, I just had a hang. I’ve, in a community mental health setting, single mom, working multiple jobs, doing play therapy with their kid, and I noticed that the kids clothes were all dirty.

And the mom came and I was like, why is your son’s clothes all dirty? She’s like, I, you know, I’m doing the best I can to this day. Diane. I could just cry when I think about that moment and how out of touch that was like coming at this from such a position. And I hear what you’re saying. Like, it’s so easy to impose these judgments, these ideas, these beliefs about like what should be happening on people.

And there’s also a very real power differential, particularly in some environments. Like a community mental health setting. I mean, you know, God forbid, either of those poor clients that we, you know, victimized in small ways, but, but still did, you know, if they were involved in like a social services kind of situation and we’re sitting there like, you know, running commentary on, on how they’re operating their lives, it’s can be dangerous.

To their well being in some ways. That’s okay. Your dog is agreeing with me. And you. Yes, I’m protesting this idea. Impose our views, our lifestyles into other settings. Yeah, well, it is. It can, it’s, it’s very harmful. And again, it’s. One of the hard things is that all of us, you know, are thinking, but this is sort of what the research says, this is what, you know, again, we know to quote work, but again, who is that research done with?

Um, and, and how does it fit, again, different contexts, different,

So having awareness of where you are coming from your perspective and how it is different than the perspective of the people that we might be sitting with as therapists is very important, particularly 20s, early 30s, White, cisgendered, upper middle class therapists, and there’s like a lot of supremacy behind them, like this is the way, right?

Easy to do that. And I think for any clinician who is, is in that, you know, power position with somebody they’re sitting with, they’re, they’re vulnerable, like it is our job to be, self aware enough that we’re able to intentionally kind of set aside our pieces and really see the world through the minds of others, right?

What in your experience though can make it hard to do that, that can create obstacles for clinicians to really come into contact with their own biases, blind spots, identities, and how do we begin dismantling some of that from your. your perspective? That’s a really good question. I think as human beings, we struggle with being uncomfortable.

And when we’re looking at the truth in some of our histories, we can get very uncomfortable. And again, it’s a, it’s a human thing that we want to turn away from that.

My, um, I was going to share a story that, you know, my daughter is heading off to college next year and my husband was was reading a book yesterday. And there was a line in the book that said part of learning to grow up is learning to be able to sit in that uncomfortableness of our emotions. And so, I think that again, being able to sit in that discomfort as therapist is challenging for us, and it’s a necessary piece, that we need to be gentle with ourselves, but also invite ourselves to look at the stuff that’s not so pretty.

What are we talking about right now? Um, Well, I think that from the piece of understanding ways in which, um, so I’m actually doing a group right now that is looking at, uh, diversity in leaders, um, and social justice and leadership and. One of the things that we looked at were some of like the white supremacy values and in, in looking at those sort of, how is it that I uphold some of these values?

Now as a person of color, I’m like, no, I don’t, you know, and then as we’re looking through that, I’m like, of course I do. You know, we’re all embedded again. This is not about the color of your skin. This is about an ideology that we are swimming in. that is hard to get away from. So I recognize that for myself, one of the things that I tended to uphold is that I would disassociate myself from having anything that would be harmful to any person of color, right?

Because I’m supportive of our communities. I want to do good stuff. But the fact of the matter is that I still had, we have to do things in structure, right? Again, I was trained in this Eurocentric model of like, there is a timing issue. There’s a structure issue. There is a way to do things. And so, and my expectations, Then are very high for folks within the community, because I want us to succeed and yet haven’t really investigated, but that actually means, and is there more than one model of succeeding?

Um, and really sort of challenging the notions of the ways in which we get to these places of, quote, success and really creating harm for some of the people. Beautiful people that I, that I care for deeply, but again, not recognizing ways in which I am practicing within that swimming pool of this ideology.

I totally hear you. But that, that’s the thing is that, that, that cultural cultures can be so invisible to us that you have been acculturated in this academic counselor practitioner role that is now informing the way that you’re operating with it. And like that in itself is a, is a Thing that requires a lot of self awareness and visibility, and it can happen in, in so many different ways that we’re just don’t even see it until we have that moment of, Oh, wait a minute.

Yeah. Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. Yeah. And, and the getting, getting comfy with being un uncomfy is part of that path is really the Mm-Hmm. very brave exploration of, Ooh, I don’t want to think that about myself. And actually, there it is. And, and certainly, I mean with, uh, you know. Many, many white people, there can be so much anxiety and discomfort, you know, just with the, the reality of the role of the, the history and the ways of, you know, continuing to subconsciously contribute to these, these dynamics.

But I think. Well, and maybe even to speak to this too, I mean, people from other communities, communities of color. I mean, is there a need for reckoning around? What if, what if it’s a clinician of color with a white client needing to come to terms with maybe feelings of anger or resentment that they might be holding towards that client that could impair their ability to be, to be that helpful guide for that person in their time of need.

I mean, is it, is it just white majority people or is it, is it something that all people in the role of being a therapist and a guide need to be reckoning with? Well, I think that there’s a different I think that there is a piece of, again, because the training is embedded in a white Eurocentric, there’s less potential, you know, for that notion of that.

Folks of color have always had to know how to work in a white world. So there’s, there’s a certain skill base that’s already in place, you know, with that. Um, I think, I think you and I once had a conversation about sort of like how politics may come in. And one of the things that I’ve always said is therapy is political.

It really is. It cannot not be political. But I think that in the, in the notion of just, you know, does the politics that say around election years and you know, if, if you have a client who may have a different belief system than you do around, you know, election pieces. That it is still this piece, this idea of how do I engage in a conversation from a curious place and hold myself accountable?

Like I might have like, well, really, do I have to do this, you know, and angst about that. But. In my role is that piece of like, okay, what are the things that I can ask facilitate for this client to achieve their goals? Yes. And so in that, I’m going to say a struggle, a challenge, you know, that is a part of that.

There is also, uh, the notion of, you know, once we. In that particular place around the politics, it’s like, if we didn’t have some of these sort of ideas that from the get go, it’s an us them situation. If I actually am curious, then where are the places that I can connect to the person that’s sitting across from me?

And so what are, what are some of those things that I need to. To ask, how do I, you know, when there may be statements that are made, if I noticed that my heartbeat is up, you know, it’s like, okay, how do I hold that? Think about it. Doesn’t mean that I’m not going to come back to it because I think that that’s the other piece.

You know, uh, at least in my experience, there’s this idea that there are going to be times in session that I’m getting triggered, you know, I’m feeling my, my heart rate. Go up. Right. And so can I take that deep breath, hold it, put it to the side after session? Think about it. What, what was going on? Because sometimes it’s too hard to do it in the moment.

Yeah. And is there something that I need to bring back into session the next time? Absolutely. The being, being very, that self aware present in your body, noticing your own reactions, and then getting really curious with yourself. Not so much in the moment there, but after the fact doing some journaling, doing some thinking.

What’s coming up for me to help continue, obviously to develop yourself, but also to bring that back into the work with your client. But I love what else you’re saying here. And this is actually reminding me of a conversation that we had. We had not too long ago about how we as counselors, that we, our responsibility is to enter the worldview of other people with compassion and empathy and understanding.

Like it is. It’s our job literally to walk into somebody behind somebody else’s eyes and look at the world through their eyes to understand how it makes sense and then help them begin, you know, potentially rearranging the furniture on the inside in order to, as you said, achieve their goals and their outcomes, which may be totally different from the things that we would want for ourselves.

So there’s like really this high degree of selflessness. That is required in many ways in order to be able to do this work effectively. How do blind spots get in the way of being able to do that? What happens if a clinician isn’t doing this radical, like, Oh, wait, this is my thing. Well, I mean, I think, you know, blind spots again are just things that we can’t see.

So if we can’t see it, we can’t work on it. I would say that in order, again, and this notion of this is a journey is who am I walking with in this journey? My walking with people that are very similar to me and it’s like, okay, what do I learn from them? But then what don’t I learn from them? And who are the people that I need to invite?

Into my life and to my journey How do I Engage with others to learn about them and to learn more about myself Every relationship that we’re a part of we’re learning You Yeah. So, who are the people that I’m building relationships with? Yeah. Yeah. And looking for relationships that help expand us and maybe make us a little less comfortable sometimes because it’s comfy to try to be with other people who are exactly like us, but it, it develops those abilities to, to more fully connect with others.

Yeah. To more fully understand. Multiple sides of the world, right? So you know, when, when we were going through the 20 summer racial awakening that was going on and you know, one of the concerns that many folks that I spoke to that are members of minoritized communities are, you know, is this going to last?

And the idea was, it’s probably not going to last. Because in order to really invest ourselves fully into social justice issues, we actually have to have relationships with people in different communities to fully understand, not fully understand, we are always, you know, again, knowing, but, There has to be a certain level of care and investment to get through the exhaustion of all these issues.

Now, having said that, I also have to say that I think it’s really important for us to recognize, you know, exosystem layers of oppression. Not as just oppressing those who have been marginalized in some way, but that, you know, also, how is it costing? Folks that might be in the, in the political majority, not population majority, but, you know, the political majority.

Um, so what’s the, because I think that, again, that’s where I’m like, okay, we have to understand that larger ideology and how it influences all of us, not. Right. Just some of us. It influences all of us. But that, that’s such a good point and, and how it could be contributing to the, the pain points and the outcomes that people are not happy with, but they’re not fully realizing the impact of, of cultural or belief systems on, on people.

on harming them in some ways. But again, it first takes that ability to even see the presence of culture and in belief systems. Um, you know, something that, that I have encountered as a clinical supervisor that I’m always, you know, Pushing back pretty, pretty briskly, but this would be one small example of it.

Um, you know, with a clinician that I’m working with, like, okay, so tell me about the cultural, racial, ethnic, you know, background, socioeconomic background of your clients, like let’s put them into context and a clinician will be like, well, they’re, they’re white. They’re, they’re American, actually. I’ve actually had clinicians say that.

They’re, they’re American. Like, what does that mean? And then asking them, okay, you, therapist, how would you describe your background? Well, you know, white American. What does that mean? Like not even any awareness about their own racial and ethnic and cultural background and how it is substantially different From another person who is, identifies as white American, like there’s so many differences and there’s just like this monolithic, like just, just a basic normal person kind of, of conversation.

And again, that’s centering that whiteness completely, completely, but it’s like not being, it’s. The metaphor that’s coming to mind is like looking like you, you really need prescription glasses, like without them, everything is just sort of like one fuzzy blob until you put the glasses on. And they’re like, Oh, there are individual leaves on that tree that it all looks like a big blob.

You can’t even see it. That’s that kind of visibility. And that’s, I’ve been surprised personally by even seeing And some therapists have gotten all the way through a master’s program and are now working towards licensure and they haven’t been taught how to see that yet. Yes. It’s hard. Because, because again, that education system, right?

So it’s like, yeah, all of those systems again are, we don’t talk about this and we’re actively seeing that, you know, in the United States and certain states where it’s like, you’re going to talk about this. We’re not actually allowed printing of these words to be allowed in schools. So there’s a can. What does that then create?

Is that echo chamber? So a therapist listening to this conversation who does have a sincere interest in this and, and a sincere desire. I want to grow in this area. I want to see myself. I want to be able to see others more clearly. I want to be able to have genuine connections that are based on empathy, that, that really like, create visibility for the truth and reality of other people without imposing my own.

What are, and this is big, I mean this, as you say, it never ends. It takes many, many, many, many, many years of growth and you’re always going to be growing. But what are some of the things that you might put in front of them to support them on this journey? Practices that you might suggest or start with this book, like.

Where would you go? Well, I would, I would say, you know, the notion of cultural humility is probably one that I, where I would start. And again, just that notion of having curiosity and having an understanding that we are all different humans. And so how, how do we begin to understand the context of everyone’s life and, you know, position the field by itself?

So we have to understand our own experiences, you know, really, you know, most therapists are encouraged to do their own therapy as part of their training. It’s like, this is part of that. This is as long as you have a therapist. Who’s going to ask you those kinds of questions? Because a lot of them wouldn’t.

I mean, just saying, but I’m saying that notion of how are you going to research yourself, your context, your history, you know, because like you mentioned, you know, the, the answer of, you know, American, it’s like, well, what is that? What? Yeah. What does that mean? It’s like, so, okay, so knowing your, your own cultural history, understanding your own cultural history is really crucial, you know, I don’t think we can get very far without you understanding your own history, you know.

with that. Um, there, there are lots of different texts. Like I said, right now I’m reading one that is really challenging everything that we are taught. Yeah. So yeah. Decolonizing therapy by Jennifer Mullen. She asks some good questions and really is taking on just like the mental health institution as a corporation.

Kind of thing. Um, so there’s, there’s challenges in there and I am a big fan of Dr. Ken Hardy, so I think that if you just search up some of his works, there will be a lot of learning that will happen. There’s some, folks that are doing some great work. APA has actually, um, put together a group of facilitators, um, to talk about multiculturalism.

Um, Dr. Cynthia Chen, who is a local therapist here in Denver is, is on that group. Um, so I think that there’s a lot that’s being written and, um, if you want to learn. There’s lots of resources to learning. Well, I, and I will be sure to link to some of those resources. I’ll get them from you and just stick them in the post that’ll go along with this episode so that people can check those out.

Those feel very important to me. Yeah. Absolutely. And again, just the piece of having, uh, folks who are going to support, you know, I think one of the challenges is how individualistic we can be in this culture. And so how do we learn to build community again, who’s in the journey with us? Absolutely. Well, and I think too, I mean, even that community of other therapists who are on the same kind of journey to, to call us out on things that we might not see.

I mean, going back to that definition of blind spots, like you don’t know what your blind spots are. And that I think really requires somebody who has perspective that maybe you don’t and that you have enough of a relationship with that you can let in their feedback. Um, To help, to help you grow that that’s really crucial.

And particularly when it comes to our, our practice with, with clients, because we’re, we’re in a position of great responsibility, oftentimes great power. And it’s very important that we have a system of checks and balances and in place to support that humble, uh, curious perspective, that’s what’s coming up for me anyway.

Absolutely. Yeah. Okay. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our. For listeners on this topic. Um, you know, I think that doing this podcast and I think that thinking about the kinds of conversations that you and I have had, uh, and that I, you know, others in the practice, you know, have also had to me is again, the notion of these conversations are ongoing and they’re going to be overwhelming at times and they’re going to be tiring at times and it’s okay to rest, but it’s important to come back to the table.

Yeah. And continue, you know, the conversations. Yeah. And that’s a very important point because I think I too have seen, um, and it’s kind of bummed me out a little bit, honestly, but how easy and how common it is for particularly, you know, majority identifying people to avoid getting into this ring because it is challenging.

It does bring up stuff and what a big, you know. pillar of privilege is that we don’t have to think about it in a different way than as you say, somebody who’s like developed a lot of survival skills about negotiating this world. And so that I just want everybody to hear that that is not, not just a challenge, but really almost a mandate that that is actually part of this job is to stay in the ring.

Do the work, be part of the conversation, challenge yourself to grow, because if you’re not doing that, this, this blindness can encroach and you won’t even know it. Did I say that right, Diane? I agree. Yeah. I think the notion of having those resources and continuing to engage in research, engage in conversations, and to engage conversations with our clients too, you know, the notion is of, I understand something.

I can understand something from a textbook, but again, that might not be reflective of the person sitting in front of me. So how do I, again, humbly ask about, you know, this is, this is some of my understanding, how does that fit your experience? Yeah. Um, and what are important things for me to know? I’m constantly blown away by how difficult it is for therapists to engage in that conversation with clients and how important it is to engage in that conversation with clients.

And again, my experience has been that clients have been grateful. They don’t want to be pushed to it, but they want the door to be opened, you know, of like, help me understand more of your context. Absolutely. I care about you and understanding what feels true for you. Yes. Yeah. So important. Well, what a good reminder.

I mean, It’s very easy for all of us, I think, to make assumptions about other people. And we, we really cannot know the mind and heart of another unless we’re courageously asking those kinds of conversations, kinds of questions, I should say, and engaging in that conversation. Yeah. And again, that notion of, of courageousness is one that I think is really important to keep in mind.

You know, so much again of our training has been about creating safe space. And I really want to challenge folks to create courageous space. Thank you for bringing that up. I, I tell like people who start working with me, I’m like, okay, I’ll tell you something. I do feel that part. Well, see, this is your influence.

This is all your fault. I know, but like part of my job is to create enough emotional safety for people. I mean, that is like a prerequisite. And it is also my job to create enough challenge for people that, that it is really supporting their growth and, and kind of, you know, pushing them into places that we really do need to go into, whether it’s talking about difficult memories, I mean, like all, all kinds of stuff.

Right. So. So that that is part of it. And, and I hear what you’re saying. I mean, it can be, cowardly isn’t the right word, but prioritizing the safety and the com, because it feels challenging for us too, doesn’t it, to, to go into hard spaces and like my own discomfort, like white people don’t talk about race at all, ever.

And yet I’m going to broach this question with you. Like, you know, there’s this like, eh. Yeah, you got to do it. Yeah. Along with all kinds of other courageous moments, like let’s talk about your sex life for a marriage and family therapist. Yes. It’s what we have to. So that’s also part of the job. Exactly.

Yeah. Yeah. Good reminder. All right. So all of our listeners also just got a dose of what would Diane do? She asks the hard questions. Yes. That’s stimulate growth. I love it. And Diane, thank you so much again for having this conversation with me today. Just sharing your perspective and your wisdom. This has been awesome as usual.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate the opportunity to come and talk to you about this. And we’ll continue to have those conversations because we’re a community about this. Yes, we are. Good. So Dr. Diana Strada, um, if people wanted to learn more about you, your practice, where would they go? And you can go to www.

Okay, wonderful. And again, I’ll connect with you after this and get those links and resources from you. I’ll add them to the post. All right. Thanks, Diane. Thank you

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