It has been our impression, albeit a generalization, that many supervision classes tend to assume that supervisors belonging to the majority culture are supervising therapists who belong to the majority culture, and they in turn are treating clients who are members of the majority culture. These classes may include a token session, often toward the end of the course, wherein the instructors discuss supervision of therapists from the majority culture who are providing clinical services to clients who are members of a minority group. We have found that occasionally there may also be a discussion of majority culture supervisors' work with therapists who are members of a minority group. However, we have not seen a course that, from the beginning, recognizes that the training system may include any combination of majority and minority culture individuals at all levels of the training system.
A Native American supervisor recently described his work with a Latina therapist who had been providing services on a reservation with a tribal culture different from his own. As marriage and family therapy moves out of the middleclass offices of cities and suburbs, and as training programs become more effective in recruiting international students (e.g., AAMFT, 2002b), we can assume that such complexity in the training experiences for all of us will become the rule rather than the exception. As supervisors and leaders in the field, we need to anticipate and address these needs carefully, and help ourselves and our trainees gain a level of cultural competence.
As supervisors and educators we need to become culturally competent and be able to facilitate culturally competent training and therapy. With that in mind, consider your personal answers to the following questions.