Exploring Positive Psychological Interventions as Race, Gender and Disability Intersect

  • Chandra Donnell CareyEmail author
  • Jenelle S. Pitt
  • Jennifer Sánchez
  • Stacie Robertson
  • Elias Mpofu


This chapter will discuss the need for a positive psychology framework that can be useful for counseling individuals toward healthy social identity development considering the intersectionality of race and ethnicity with, gender and disability in the United States. It aims to elucidate the qualities of a culturally responsive, strengths-based perspective to examine well-being for historical socially marginalized groups. Csikszentmihalyi & Seligman (American Psychologist, 55:5–14, 2000) have presented a schema regarding the strength of our positive humanity; as the diversity of our society grows, there does appear to be a need to have focused understandings of identities that are colored by intergenerational experiences of oppression and cultural subversions. The complex nature of intersecting identities calls to question, how broadly-based themes of the strengths of individuals can adequately address multiple aspects of one’s identity. This chapter will utilize an intersectionality (Crenshaw in University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989:139–167, 1989) approach to decipher collective strengths among historically marginalized groups. Understanding how cultural context and environment can mold an interpretation of strength (Wright in The handbook of social and clinical psychology. Pergamon, New York, pp. 469–487, 1991) across multiple identities is critical. The chapter will begin with a review of the history of positive psychology in addressing targeted cultural variables of: (a) race/ethnicity; (b) gender and (c) disability, specifically focused on mental health support interventions. We highlight the attributes of an intersectionality-based clinical approach to counseling for social identity development at the confluence of race, ethnicity, gender and disability.


Positive psychology Intersectionality Race Gender Disability 


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply  2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chandra Donnell Carey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jenelle S. Pitt
    • 3
  • Jennifer Sánchez
    • 2
  • Stacie Robertson
    • 4
  • Elias Mpofu
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North TexasDentonUSA
  2. 2.University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  3. 3.California State UniversityFresnoUSA
  4. 4.California State UniversitySan BernardinoUSA

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