Racial awareness is a critical foundation to Couples and Family Therapists (CFT) being able to confront issues of race and racism with their clients. Current CFT literature has used qualitative methods to conclude that when strategies focused on issues of race and racism are competently incorporated across several domains of CFT education and training, students' racial awareness is increased. This study extends the current literature by quantitatively examining the relationship between several factors--including CFT graduate coursework and clinical supervision--and CFT students' racial awareness. Participants for this study consisted of 78 white and non-white CFT master's and doctoral students from various accredited CFT programs nationwide. Participants completed an on-line survey measuring their racial awareness, personal experiences with racism, and perceived exposure to racially competent coursework and clinical supervision. Students' personal experiences with racism as well as the amount of CFT education they had earned were significantly related to their racial awareness. Students' exposure to racially competent coursework or supervision was not related to their racial awareness. These results suggest that current cultural competency practices in CFT programs are not effective in increasing students' racial awareness. CFT programs are encouraged to shift from the traditional model of cultural competency training--which usually attempts to cover several types of oppression at once--to one that is focused on antiracism and is rooted in the tenants of Critical Race Theory--which aims to make racial oppression the cornerstone by which all other forms of oppression are conceptualized.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2013. Major: Family Social Science. Advisors: Catherine Solheim and Shonda Craft. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 79 pages, appendices A-C.
Diggles, Kimberly Ruth.
Factors associated with couples and family therapy students' racial awareness.
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