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Cultural self-awareness focus of recent workshop

June 11, 2014

To provide quality care, therapists and counselors must develop a good sense of who they are, and understand how their personal biases affect relationships with clients.

In early June, adjunct faculty member Michael Kahn hosted The Ethics of Cultural Self-Awareness: How to Offend Without Really Trying. In the daylong workshop, Kahn and counseling students discussed bias in many areas, including race, religion, sexual orientation, physical condition, socioeconomic status, and gender.

“We’re becoming a much more diverse society,” Kahn said. “We need to be very aware of our biases about race and ethnicity.”

Designed in an interactive format, Kahn’s workshop drew on film clips and small group discussions to keep students engaged. Students explored how their cultural identity, experiences, and biases can impact relationships; learned to define and recognize micro-aggressions; and learned the importance of “cultural auditing” throughout the therapeutic relationship. Kahn showed scenes from Up in the Air, Britain’s Got Talent, and Remember the Titans to illustrate the issues and spark lively discussions.

Said Kahn, “One of the things that makes a good workshop is good interaction among the participants. The participants were an active group, sharing personal and professional insights.”

Caleb Diehl ’16 contributed to this story.

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