Cultural Competency Training in Professional Psychology
Training psychologists to be culturally competent in the provision of psychological services to a diverse clientele is critically important in an increasingly pluralistic society. Several issues underscore this importance. Over the last 30 years in the U.S., the proportion of ethnically and linguistically diverse individuals in the general population has accelerated, although these changes have been slow to emerge among psychologists (American Psychological Association, Research Office, 2005; U.S. Census, 2005). The latest U.S. Census data show that from 1990 to 2000 the percentage of racial and ethnic minorities increased from 24.3 to 30.6% (U.S. Census, 2005). In comparison, the most recent membership survey of the nation's largest professional organization in psychology, the American Psychological Association (APA), showed that psychologists of color made up just 5.9% of all members reporting their ethnic status (APA, 2005), a percentage roughly one-fifth of their representation in the U.S. population. One reason to account for this low representation concerns the rate of advanced degree attainment for students of color. A recent study suggests that the educational pipeline in psychology from bachelor's degree to the Ph.D. degree has stalled for African Americans and Latinos (Maton, Kohout,Wicherski, Leary, & Vinokurov, 2006). These data follow statistics reported by APA's Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training Task Force (1997) that showed a decreasing percentage of students of color from 1973 to 1993 in psychology in the educational pipeline from bachelor's to master's to doctoral degrees. Although there is some variability, for most graduate programs in the U.S., enrollment rates of students of color have been and continue to be discouraging and warrant special attention.
KeywordsCultural Competency American Psychological Association Diversity Issue Professional Psychology Cultural Competency Training
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