Creating and supporting family therapists of color

08/05/05

An article published in the latest issue of Family Process describes the creation and structure of a training program designed to increase the number of family therapists of color. The authors address the first twelve years, in which the Diversity and Social Work Training Program of the Ackerman Institute for the Family trained fifty-seven graduate students of color. Of those, twenty-seven elected to remain in their program for post graduate training-- a high fifty percent retention rate as compared to other recruitment and retention efforts for professionals of color. Using a bottom-up approach, they recruited students of color while still in graduate school and provided them with mentors, financial aid, and emotional support. "Without a proactive recruitment strategy were we not, in effect, perpetuating racism in our society by treating families of color and white families almost solely by white professionals?" authors Laurie Kaplan and Sippio Small asked.

"The authors set out to recruit and support family therapists of color, adhering to several premises. Among them: recruiting students before they complete their graduate studies, mentorships with faculty of color, partnerships with community-based organizations and academic institutions, provision of a long-term institutional commitment and biracial collaborations. Intensive interaction between students and senior faculty also helped incorporate the students, prevent marginalization, and gave the faculty the opportunity to learn, as well, from the different voices and experiences. The program "....has been a vehicle to recruit and retain diverse students, enabling a family therapy institution to reliably count on a slow but steady diversification of its student population and its faculty," the authors conclude.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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