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Most diversity trainings for therapists are clever but useless. Here's how to fix them.

One way to make diversity trainings for therapists more helpful.

I have a new book out. It's all about how to work with diverse people in your practice.


But why is it important? Why should you care?


After all, there are numerous books on about working with diverse peoples. There are books specifically focused on diversity in family therapy, like Revisioning Family Therapy by Monica McGoldrick and Ken Hardy. (Pretty good but dry, which is normal for textbooks).

And there are popular books, such as Ibram X. Kendi's How to Be an Antiracist. (On my read list for a while now.)

And there are books about specific cultural experiences, like The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, about Asian immigrants to the US. (Phenomenal read. You should pick up a copy.)

So why should you get a copy of my book?

Well, there's one compelling reason.

My book is essential because psychotherapy has a big problem in how we train.

Most diversity trainings for therapists focus way to much on abstract ideas and not enough on what to do.

While 99% of therapy trainings are way more theoretical than practical, the diversity wing of psychotherapy struggles with this more than most.

About a year ago, I was a panelist at a diversity conference. One of the other panelist started explaining that we should no longer use the term "minority" but "minoritized." Minority carries a sense that we are less than, he reasoned. Minoritized, on the other hand, conveys that we're being acted against.

Everyone in the audience was nodding their heads. I thought this was clever but clinically useless.

None of this has anything to do with working with clients. If I'm sitting with an Asian immigrant who's never been in therapy before and I used the term "minoritized" it won't mean anything to her.

In diversity training, a lot of us have guilt over our role in systemic oppression. So if we can use the right terms we feel we're being better people because we see the issues "correctly." Others of us have been victims of systemic oppression. We feel it's our duty to champion social causes and use what power or privilege we have to speak out against oppression.

All of this is good.


However, for those of us doing clinical work, these abstract ideas very often have little connection to actual practice.


And that's where my book comes in.

A picture of my book Deliberate Practice in Multicultural Therapy

Real talk, while I'm the lead author, I worked with a wonderful team and had a great project coordinator (shout out to you, Tracy). We all contributed equally.


Our book is a collection of 13 deliberate practice-style role plays for working with diverse people. While we include some theory in each exercise, our primary focus is on practical issues you might encounter. For instance, what do you do if your client, due to their cultural background, doesn't know what counseling is or what to expect? Or what if you create a significant cultural rupture with a client and need to repair it? Or what if, because you and your client share a cultural identity, they assume things about working with you that aren't true?


Above all, the goal of our book is to help you practice what to do, instead of getting lost in abstract ideas.


And that's why I'm so proud of this book. Instead of being abstract and vague, it provides diversity training for therapists that is concrete, specific, and actionable.


This book isn't the end all be all. But it is a resource. It's a resource for all of us who want to be better clinicians and want all people to feel comfortable in our offices. It's for all of us who believe that diversity trainings for therapists, can, with a little bit of effort, be fun, engaging, and practical.


If you'd like to pick up a copy, you can find it on Amazon. And, if you would be so kind, please leave a review. That would greatly help us spread the word!


As a thank you, here's a free chapter from the book.

Best,

Jordan (the Counselor)

-Fin-


Notes


PS. Amazon is running a discount on the book now. That's the best place as of now (11/07/23) to get a copy. Make sure to leave a review when you get your copy!

 

If you liked this post, consider reading this next. I think you'll like it ;) It's more about deliberately practicing a Multicultural Orientation.

 

Jordan Harris, Ph.D., LMFT-S, LPC-S received his Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana Monroe. He is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of Arkansas, USA. In his clinical work he enjoys working with couples. He also runs a blog on deliberate practice for therapists and counselors at Jordanthecounselor.com

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