The clinical psychology program at American University is committed to two goals regarding diversity:
- Fostering an environment of respect and inclusion for all students
- Training students to uphold values of cultural humility and anti-racism in their research, clinical work, and teaching
Our program has adopted an infusion model of diversity and multicultural training, which means that multicultural issues are addressed throughout the curriculum. We include trainings on topics of diversity across contexts, from classes to practicum experiences.
Our practicum and assessment courses ask students to do readings and engage in discussions related to culturally competent interventions and assessments. Additionally, students are required to enroll in our Ethnic & Minority issues course, where students focus on understanding ethnic and minority issues as they relate to psychology. Within this course, students learn how worldview is shaped by collective experiences such as slavery and immigration, reflect on their own cultural beliefs, and explore emotional problems from a variety of perspectives. Students work to understand the effectiveness of traditional psychological treatments for various minority groups and how to tailor them to be more culturally appropriate.
Each semester speakers are invited to campus to address special topics related to diversity and multiculturalism (e.g., Treatment considerations when working with Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African (AMENA) populations; Working with Latinx clients; and Gender and Sexual Identity-Affirming Care for Clients Across the Spectra).
Students have the opportunity to work with diverse clients through externships and in-house practicums and are supervised in conceptualizing clinical work from a multicultural perspective. Through these experiences students are encouraged to explore their own identities and how these impact their clinical work with clients. Students are encouraged to integrate their understanding of identities through case conceptualizations and their specialty comprehensive exam. Finally, students are offered professional development funds to cover webinar and workshop fees so they can develop a deeper understanding of diversity-related topics.
Some students also engage in research related to diversity, including recent papers on the validity of psychological assessments across racial groups, gender-sensitive substance abuse programs, effects of parenting interventions in a predominantly Latine sample, and race/ethnicity and treatment outcomes for trichotillomania.
Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee
Our Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee is a collaborative team of faculty and students who meet routinely to consider curriculum and environment in our program.
This committee works to create an inclusive and affirming environment for students to grow in their self-awareness, appreciate diversity, and honor the intersectional identities of their colleagues, clients, students, and participants. Initiatives include offering outreach programs to individuals within our AU community, as well as the broader Washington DC area, especially in underserved communities. The committee also offers a small grant program supporting diversity-related research, supports a book/media club and annually completes a comprehensive review of syllabi for required courses in the Clinical Psychology program.
Connected to the Larger Mission of the University
The clinical program is proud to be connected to the larger mission of American University and its values of diversity and inclusion. The university’s goals are articulated in the American University Inclusive Excellence and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion webpages.