Racial Sensitivity and Multicultural Training

By Martin Strous | Go to book overview

Part I
Apartheid-Style Psychology

This section illustrates how professional training for mental health practitioners is generally inadequate on matters pertaining to race and racism and how therapists, unaware that racial prejudices translate into discriminatory work practices and ignorant of the power of their own elite discourses, may be influenced by prevailing racist ideologies. Chapter 1 focuses on the manner in which practices of mental health and racism have played out in the South African scenario and reflect assumptions concerning “White superiority.” The ideological landscape on which apartheid was predicated, the institutionalization of racism via apartheid legislation, and the social consequences which ensued with particular reference to group consciousness are discussed. More specifically, an enduring impact of apartheid ideology on South African psychologists is suggested. In Chapter 2, the role of mental health services in replicating and perpetuating discrimination is investigated. Institutions that provided separate and unequal treatment for Blacks and Whites, intentional prejudice amongst some South African psychologists, inadvertent collusion with the status quo through uncritical research, and shortages of personnel that resulted and continue to result in inferior mental health services for the majority of the population are explored. Chapter 3 describes how counselor encapsulation can lead to misdiagnoses, distorted or inadequate knowledge of diverse client worldviews, and the rendering of inappropriate mental health services.

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