CalSouthern’s Master Lecture Series Continues March 11, with Presentation on Bullying in a Cyber Society
California Southern University’s Master Lecture Series continued on February 25, 2011 with a presentation by Annahita Mahdavi titled Cultivating Sensitivity to Multicultural Issues in Therapy.
In an engaging presentation, Mahdavi began by reviewing some of the classic definitions of ethnicity and culture, as well as some of the traditional “textbook” approaches to multiculturalism before noting that issues of cross- and multiculturalism are far more complex in practice.
“Classic theories and applications can become problematic when practicing in a multicultural setting, because each individual is very different than the next in terms of the specific cultural beliefs and influences that impact that person’s thought patterns and behaviors,” says Mahdavi. “You can’t underestimate the influence of culture. But at the same time, individuals do share certain universal patterns, which makes even more complex the job of processing clients to identify maladaptive behaviors and find the appropriate correction.”
As families from minority cultural groups establish themselves in the dominant group’s culture, cross-cultural struggles between traditional and transitional generations often arise, further complicating the role of the therapist, and underscoring how imperative it is that therapists develop cultural sensitivity. Mahdavi drove this point home by quoting Dr. Madeleine Leininger, a pioneer in transcultural nursing: “Having knowledge of a culture before trying to help a client and family is analogous to a nurse or physician having a basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology before attempting to meet a patient’s physical needs.”
Mahdahvi stressing the importance of a therapist first honestly processing his or her own cultural influences and worldview—as well as any preconceptions or biases concerning a client’s cultural group—prior to undertaking a therapeutic intervention. And, of course, he or she must continually develop multicultural competency. Fortunately, there are more tools available to the therapist than ever before, including a wealth of books, seminars, workshops, and classes. She encourages all Learners interested in practicing cross-cultural psychology to take their multicultural classes very seriously and to work with Mentors to develop and complete projects to further enhance multicultural skills and sensitivity.
Mahdavi concluded her lecture with what she described as the most fundamentally essential rule of thumb pertaining to all interventions with a multicultural application, the Carl Rogers tenet of treating all clients with unconditional positive regard.
You can view Annahita Mahdavi’s presentation in its entirety here.
The Master Lecture Series continues on March 11, 2011, when Dr. Joshua Taylor returns to CalSouthern to deliver a presentation titled Bullying in a Cyber World. In it, Dr. Taylor will explore how advances in technology and social networking have changed bullying, in addition to discussing how children develop bullying behaviors and what can be done to prevent it. Finally, he will describe the roles of educators and parents and outline what can be done to help the bullied child.
Registration is available for in-person attendance or for participation in the live webinar.