Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Standard Setters for African Psychology; Counselors Sit on a National Panel about Black Subculture

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Standard Setters for African Psychology; Counselors Sit on a National Panel about Black Subculture

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT GALNOR

A national push is on to get psychologists certified in methods targeted toward African-American patients.

Two Jacksonville therapists are among the 21 professionals setting the standards for African-centered psychology, which focuses on spirituality and understanding of patients' African roots.

Counselors Larry Richardson and Steward Washington sit on the panel. Washington is certified himself, and Richardson said he incorporates many of the principles into his practice.

Professionals can apply to be grandfathered into the certification through October, but a testing and selection process will begin next year.

The certification is geared for psychologists of all races, but the understanding is particularly important because only 2 percent of the nation's mental health professionals are black, said James Savage, chairman of the certification process.

"Whether I'm treating a poor white person or a poor black person, I could be treating two different subcultures," said Savage, who also is president of three mental health clinics in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Here are their answers to questions about African-centered psychology:

WHAT IS IT?

It's a method of psychology geared toward blacks that stresses African principles. Key foundations include a heavy emphasis on spirituality, that everything in the universe is interconnected and that communal self-knowledge is the key to mental health. …

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