Being students of psychology means being students of research methods, scientific models, and most important, human behavior and development from multiple, knowledge-based, contextual perspectives.
This report, the third in a series sponsored by the Council of National Psychological Associations for the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Interests (CNPAAEMI), sets out to encourage psychological trainers and educators to reassess and elaborate on their strategies for preparing the nation’s future psychologists to competently and respectfully research and serve the everchanging tapestry of our increasingly multicultural nation. The hope is that it will also serve to empower psychology students to seek appropriate multicultural and culture-specific training.
Regardless of our specialty area as psychologists, we must be grounded in research in specific cultural/ethnic perspectives. Education and training in psychology must precede practice and be a life-long learning mandate for professional psychologists.
Several considerations follow:
Although the field of multicultural psychology and counseling began with attention to clinical practice and one comprehensive survey course (which was not always required), a grounding in cross-cutting cultural constructs (etic or universal) balanced with (culture-specific) knowledge is fundamental to ethical research, practice and organizational development.
Experience counts, but it is not sufficient to declare that one is a culturally competent psychologist. To advance new educational models in psychology and evidence-based practice, graduate training must also be balanced with community-based experiences and culturally relevant research.
Multicultural psychology is multidisciplinary, informed by cultural/ethnic anthropology, sociology, economics, religions, and history. These varying perspectives are presented in each section of this report. The authors discuss the contemporary experiences of ethnic minority individuals in historical context. Common denominators in these discussions are colonization, dislocations, resilience and self-efficacy.
The global society is becoming more complex, integrated, and interdependent. Although this report targets psychologists and other mental health professionals in the United States, we believe that the culture-specific sections herein have application to different international settings.