March 13 | 8:00 am - 11:45 pm

Presenters: 

Jennifer Marie Laney, PsyD | Private Practice
Margo Townley, PsyD| Private Practice
Karissa Spurgeon, PsyD| Springfield College

Workshop Information:

The contribution of the field of psychology to the historical and ongoing oppression of individuals with intersecting marginalized identities has a profound impact on if and how such individuals seek treatment. Systems within the United States have a long-standing history of inflicting harm on Black individuals, families, and communities. As a result of their own experiences of marginalization and intergenerational trauma, Black Americans have developed strategies for interacting with the dominant culture that aid in protecting against further marginalization and oppression, including limiting self-disclosure until one can be reassured that shared information will not be used with malice. Researchers have referred to this as “healthy cultural wariness” or “cultural mistrust.” On psychological assessment measures, such reluctance is captured as guardedness, impression management, defensiveness, grandiosity, and paranoia. Interpreting such scale elevations as an indictment of moral character, evidence of wrongdoing, or serious mental illness inflicts further harm on marginalized communities and may pathologize adaptive behavior. This workshop will explore the roots of cultural mistrust and focus specifically on how cultural mistrust presents on psychological tests, and we will address the social justice imperative to situate these test scores in context when interpreting test results and writing assessment reports.

Goals and Objectives:

1. Participants will be able to describe the ongoing and historical oppression of Black Americans at a systems level.

2. Participants will be able to explain the social justice imperative for addressing cultural mistrust throughout the assessment process and how failure to do so contributes to the ongoing marginalization and oppression of BIPOC clients.Participants will be able to discuss different ways that cultural mistrust can impact psychological testing.

3. Participants will be able to explain the social justice imperative for addressing cultural mistrust throughout the assessment process and how failure to do so contributes to the ongoing marginalization and oppression of BIPOC clients.

4. Participants will be able demonstrate an understanding of how cultural mistrust impacted test scores using deidentified case examples.

5. Participants will be able to integrate cultural mistrust, when appropriate, into their reports, and differentiate between adaptive and pathological behaviors.

6. Participants will be able to critique previous findings and diagnoses through the lens of cultural mistrust.

Skill Level:

Participants should have at least a basic exposure to testing and diagnosis, including a sound understanding of positive impression management, guardedness and defensive, paranoia, and grandiosity.

Leave a Reply