CAPS staff recognize the importance of cultural and individual differences and diversity in the training of clinicians, and with this, the staff value the diversity of each new intern class. Training committee members regularly engage in discussions about diversity and multicultural competencies, especially with regard to supervision provision and training related activities. There is commitment for increasing understanding and respect for individual differences, and staff is involved in training interns on a variety of diversity issues. Such training may be diversity-centered, such as our topical multicultural seminars and “Use of Self within Personal Multicultural Landscape” seminar series, or more clinically-centered in which diversity implications are considered and explored (e.g., Eating Concerns).
CAPS is committed to recruiting staff members who are interested in training and invested in diversity issues as exemplified by their past and current participation in professional development activities that challenge them to grow and increase their multicultural competence. Effort is made to include all staff in the entirety of our training program, from the onset to the conclusion of the internship year, so interns are exposed to diverse staff and their many areas of expertise and interest. Opportunities exist for interns to work with diverse staff through seminars, primary supervision, training rotations, group co-facilitation, consultation, prevention and education efforts, outreach, committees and task forces, and professional development activities. As interns get to know staff, they can initiate additional training opportunities. Within these supervisory, training, and professional development opportunities, interns are supported in exploring their own identities and points of intersectionality and how these diversity variables impact their personal and professional selves, including their work with clients and the development of their identity as early career professionals
Interns have the opportunity to serve on the Diversity Initiatives Committee and Social Justice Conference Committee. The Diversity Initiatives Committee focuses on providing professional development, clinical services, and resources that further awareness of and respect for diversity. The Diversity Initiatives Committee organizes and facilitates Listening to Understand Round Tables, which is a space that is designed to enhance staff’s communication skills around social justice issues. The hope is that with these enhanced skills we can engage in open dialogues about the political, social, and cultural issues that are unfolding locally and nationally. These open dialogues are designed to be a brave space for staff and trainees to share their subjective experiences and to learn about the experiences of others. This is not a space for debate or attempting to change the viewpoints of others. Rather, the objective is to non-defensively broaden our understanding of diverse perspectives. The Social Justice Conference Committee plans and organizes a two-day continuing education event every year that focuses on building multicultural competence among college mental health providers. The conference is entering its sixteenth year, which exemplifies CAPS’ longstanding commitment to diversity issues and multicultural competence, not just to our staff, but to a national audience.
CAPS also has a long history of relationships with departments and programs across the university designed to promote the mental health and wellbeing of minoritized students on our campus, including the Department of Multicultural Services, the GLBT Resource Center, International Student Services, the Department of Disability Services, and Regent Scholars (first generation students), as well as numerous student organizations that provide support to minoritized students. Interns are oriented to the services provided by these university departments, programs, and organizations, and they are provided with opportunities to engage with these entities through outreach, prevention, and education efforts.
CAPS values its heritage of honoring the diversity of interns and providing them with a supportive, encouraging, and welcoming learning environment.
Statement on Confronting White Supremacy
One of the values held by the Texas A&M CAPS training program is anti-racism work. White staff are committed to their own growth and are committed to advocating for students/staff who have survived marginalization, hate, and oppression.
These efforts occur both individually and collectively and involve confronting the internalized racism and ignorance that we all white people harbor. While social injustice has been in the national spotlight recently, we recognize that discrimination and hate are nothing new for people of color, and we are committed to engaging in these conversations as a routine practice.
In all transparency, white staff do not always do this smoothly or comfortably. This work is hard and exposes things in us that we may not want to see. Microaggressions and ruptures can occur. Feelings of shame and embarrassment can result. People often feel triggered, confused, or frustrated. It can be easier to stay on the socio-political, national level, but it seems that the most growth occurs when we venture into the personal level of unpacking one’s own impact as a privileged individual. Despite the challenges, we believe that this work is so important, that we’re going to do it anyway.
It is important to do this work while honoring the private, personal experiences of our friends of color. Specifically we make every effort to not trigger people of color and do not expect them to teach us about anti-racism work.
Use of Self within Personal Multicultural Landscape Groups
During the course of the year, the interns participate in three all-day group seminars where the focus is self-awareness and the use-of-self related to multicultural issues. Two of our senior staff psychologists facilitate this experiential group that occurs once during orientation, once during the winter break, and once during the summer. The facilitators share their personal cultural narratives to model self-reflection and the interpersonal process. Interns are then invited to share some of their own reflections on their different identities and cultural journeys. They are encouraged to ask questions and to connect with the experience on a personal level. They are invited examine personal historic influences that have impacted their professional roles. The internship training program functions in a manner consistent with the American Psychological Association's 2002 Ethical Standard 7.04 (Student Disclosure of Personal Information) as contained in the Revised Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2002).
Seminars focused on diversity issues will be prevalent through the internship. Extending beyond didactic instruction, these seminars offer a space for self-reflection around specific diversity issues. Topics may include, but are not limited to: Racial/Ethnic Identity, International Students, Disability, Title IX, Trans & GNC Populations, Acculturation, ADHD/LD, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Ableness, Ageism, Spirituality/Religion, Social Class, Undocumented Students, Veterans, and Aggie Culture/Corps of Cadets.