Ethnic Minority Perspectives on Clinical Training and Services in Psychology

By Hector F. Myers; Paul Wohlford et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
11
Incorporating Cultural
Diversity in Clinical
Training at the University
of California, Los Angeles

Hector F. Myers
University of California, Los Angeles

The history of minority mental health training at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has been characterized by a struggle over competing ideologies, values, priorities, and practices. This 15-year struggle has been played out in debates over the primary mission of the program; over our concept of the "ideal UCLA graduate student;" over the content of the curriculum and the process of training; over priorities for student support, given limited and inconsistent funding; and over the type of faculty that should guide that training. For those of us dedicated to developing a meaningful minority mental health training program, the core problem has been to identify a programmatic approach that is most appropriate and effective at UCLA, given its particular character and concrete reality, and given unpredictable shifts in federal funding priorities.


Conceptual Perspective and
Programmatic Priorities

The UCLA experience is not unique, and need not be described in detail here. Instead, I shall describe the conceptual perspective that evolved to guide our programmatic efforts. We started with the premise that the well-trained, modern clinical psychologist must not only master the existing body of knowl-

edge and skills in the field, but must also be able to understand and apply this knowledge sensitively and effectively with a variety of ethnocultural and social status groups. Most clinical training programs prepare highly skilled mental health professionals whose clinical expertise is limited to clients within a restricted cultural and experiential range (Chunn, Dunston, & Ross-Sheriff, 1983; Green, 1980; Sue, 1978). Given our complex, multicultural society, it is imperative that we reconceptualize the real demands facing the modern clinical psychologist, and develop a generic clinical training program that is designed to produce well‐ trained and culturally competent clinical psychologists. To this end, the UCLA Minority Mental Health Training Program, which functions as an integral part of the core clinical training program, is designed to address two distinct but interrelated objectives: (a) recruiting and training competent and culturally grounded minority scholar—clinicians, and (b) training multiculturally competent nonminority scholar/clinicians.


Training Competent Minority
Clinicians

The problem, as we see it, is not simply to increase the numbers of minority clinicians in traditional training programs. This is a necessary but not sufficient first step. Equally important is the need to revise the substantive content and experiences

____________________
The preparation of this chapter was supported in part by NIMH minority mental health training grant No. MH17393.

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