IDENTIFYING & RESPONDING TO MICROAGGRESSIONS
Jody Gray Diversity Outreach Librarian University of Minnesota
Download PowerPoint DisplaySessionHandout
In 2002, in response to the need for the profession of psychology to integrate awareness, knowledge, and skills of the cultural dynamics that present themselves in a person’s mental health, the American Psychological Association developed Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change. These were part of a 22-year endeavor to help our profession reflect knowledge and skills needed in the midst of “dramatic, historic sociopolitical changes in U.S. society,” as well the increasingly diverse range of clients entering therapy.
The initial guidelines were largely influenced by the work of Derald Wing Sue, Thomas Parham, and Allen Ivey. The Task Force, a committed group of scholars affiliated with APA Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) and Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race), represented the writing team for the monumental document. These included Ivey, Nadya Fouad, Patricia Arredondo, and Michael D’Andrea.
In 2017, the APA’s Monitor on Psychology explores how the organization’s Council of Representatives have adopted an updated and improved set of ethical guidelines “Multicultural Guidelines: An Ecological Approach to Context, Identity, and Intersectionality,” which set to help psychologists understand and apply knowledge related to a person’s cultural identities and background.
The current Task Force Members Caroline S. Clauss-Ehlers of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, David A. Chiriboga of the University of South Florida, Scott J. Hunter of the University of Chicago, Gargi Roysircar Sodowsky of Antioch University New England and Pratyusha Tummala-Narra of Boston College developed the new guidelines, which have jumped from six to ten and are listed below:
Guideline 1. Psychologists seek to recognize and understand that identity and self-definition are fluid and complex and that the interaction between the two is dynamic. To this end, psychologists appreciate that intersectionality is shaped by the multiplicity of the individual’s social contexts.
Guideline 2. Psychologists aspire to recognize and understand that as cultural beings, they hold attitudes and beliefs that can influence their perceptions of and interactions with others as well as their clinical and empirical conceptualizations. As such, psychologists strive to move beyond conceptualizations rooted in categorical assumptions, biases, and/or formulations based on limited knowledge about individuals and communities.
Guideline 4. Psychologists endeavor to be aware of the role of the social and physical environment in the lives of clients, students, research participants, and/or consultees.
Guideline 5. Psychologists aspire to recognize and understand historical and contemporary experiences with power, privilege, and oppression. As such, they seek to address institutional barriers and related inequities, disproportionalities, and disparities of law enforcement, administration of criminal justice, educational, mental health, and other systems as they seek to promote justice, human rights, and access to quality and equitable mental and behavioral health services.
Guideline 6. Psychologists seek to promote culturally adaptive interventions and advocacy within and across systems, including prevention, early intervention, and recovery.
Guideline 7. Psychologists endeavor to examine the profession’s assumptions and practices within an international context, whether domestically or internationally based, and consider how this globalization has an impact on the psychologist’s self-definition, purpose, role, and function.
Guideline 8. Psychologists seek awareness and understanding of how developmental stages and life transitions intersect with the larger biosociocultural context, how identity evolves as a function of such intersections, and how these different socialization and maturation experiences influence worldview and identity.
Guideline 10. Psychologists actively strive to take a strength-based approach when working with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations that seeks to build resilience and decrease trauma within the sociocultural context.
For more information on the American Psychological’s Association’s Multicultural Guidelines: An Ecological Approach to Context, Identity, and Intersectionality, visit APA.org.
American Psychological Association. 2017. Multicultural Guidelines: An Ecological Approach to Context, Identity, and Intersectionality. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/about/policy/multicultural-guidelines.pdf
Spanking for Misbehavior? It Causes More
A big new study finds a clear negative effect
Most children under 7 can neither master their emotions nor reason like adults, so power struggles with them are inevitable. Who gets to control the TV remote or the smartphone? Does junior resist taking a bath, wander around after bedtime, gleefully use curse words or pound on his siblings every chance he gets?
The answer to at least some of these questions must be yes, if the child is a growing human being and not a robot. Experimenting with autonomy and observing how his parents react is part of the job of a child. Setting age-appropriate boundaries is the role of the adult.
The dynamics become even more complex when a child is defiant or impulsive by nature, when a parent is under inordinate pressure, or all of the above. That is perhaps one reason why two-thirds of American parents, when asked by the federally funded General Social Survey in 2016, agreed with the statement, “Sometimes a child just needs a good, hard spanking.” (The number has dropped by about 15 points in the past three decades.)
A host of studies link spanking to later behavior problems. A 2016 meta-analysis of five decades of research on the topic suggests that spanking a young child is not only an ineffective form of discipline but a catalyst for more serious acting out and mental health problems in the future. Indeed, corporal punishment of children is now illegal in 53 countries, and banning any kind of hitting of children—with a hand or an object—is a growing international movement.
Whether striking a preschooler’s bottom with an open hand discourages or exacerbates misbehavior remains a controversial topic in the U.S. Adding grist to the debate: The studies that have been conducted are observational—that is, they show that spanking and future behavior problems are tightly linked but not that the former definitively causes the latter. Children can’t be randomly assigned, for experimental purposes, to spanked and not spanked groups, so it’s hard to discern whether later behavior problems can be attributed to that one factor.
The researchers paired subjects who had and had not been spanked at 5 years old but were equivalent on 38 other factors. Those included the child’s initial level of behavior problems as rated by the teacher, and the parents’ marital status, mental health, stress levels and parenting style as defined by their answers to interview questions.
The researchers found that a child who was spanked at age 5 was far more likely to have behavior problems at age 6, and more serious ones again at age 8, according to teachers’ ratings. The relationship between corporal punishment and later acting out was even stronger if parents said that they had spanked the 5-year-olds the week before the survey, an indication that spanking may have been relatively frequent.
“This is the closest we can get, outside of an experiment, to say that spanking causes negative changes in children’s behavior. I can’t think of another way to explain our results,” Ms. Gershoff told me.
The American Pediatric Society advises parents to avoid spanking, and the American Psychological Association cautions against the practice. American parents seem to be left with a choice: To use a form of physical discipline that gambles with the future of their children or to find other ways to help them learn self-control.
Get Melissa’s book here: http://bit.ly/melissapeludas