Articles: How academia’s misguided efforts at ‘diversity’ education is failing students  &
Picking the right marketing practices {Below}

Students and Teacher in Classroom

How academia’s misguided efforts at ‘diversity’ education is failing students

By Angel McKissic

October 16, 2020

An examination of the curricula of most graduate programs in psychology will uncover the requisite and singular multicultural psychology course. The content of such courses typically covers clinical issues related to microaggressions and cultural competency. However, this approach to teaching diversity is a matter of contention that warrants attention.

First, the multitudinous facets of diversity (cultural paradigms, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic background, geographic origins, ability, history of incarceration and justice involvement, etc.) cannot be sufficiently addressed in a one-term course.

Second, the institution is operating on a lack of understanding of diversity and its implications for clinical practice. Diversity, in this context, demands an expansive defining. The touting of multicultural psychology as an independent orientation warranting a singular course, rather than a core feature of standard clinical competency, is a dubious position.

Everyone has a culture; thus, everyone is a cultural being. embracing of this truth should compel universities to revise the popular model of diversity training, whereby students are taught multicultural psychology, a clinical stance that one can opt-out of and still be considered “clinically competent.”

To quote a dear mentor of mine, Dr. Chavez-Korell: “Cultural competency supersedes clinical competency. You cannot be clinically competent if you are not culturally competent.”

Institutions must pivot from a narrow philosophy of diversity to a prerequisite and pervasive necessity of graduate training in psychology.

Diversity should also be a content consideration in the teaching of psychological theory and practice.

To this end, faculty and administrations must undertake an inventory of their program syllabi.

What do you see when you look at the required text? What about the

supplementary readings? The theoretical positions? Are indigenous

peoples’ perspectives represented? Are the contributions of women and

queer psychologists highlighted? Do we tell the truth of psychology’s

role in perpetuating harmful racial myths?

If the answer to any of these queries is no, then institutions are failing not only their student constituents but every one of their future clients.

As psychologists and therapists, we often ask clients to undertake the complicated process of self-reflection, but are institutions willing to do this themselves? How can universities emphasize diversity as a paramount value to which they are committed when their curricula reflect a homogenous ethnology?

Furthermore, the absence of representation in psychology curricula signals insidious messages to those students who never see themselves or their cultural values exalted in their training.

Here, the words of Hermes Trismegistus are apropos: “As within, so without” – what we think of ourselves will be reflected and expressed in the world. When institutions fail to decolonize and dehomogenize their curricula, they perpetuate a harmful precedent of exclusion.

Students and their eventual clients cannot afford to let another decade pass without enacting the necessary transformation required to veraciously embody the value of diversity in and out of the classroom.

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Angel McKissic is a licensed psychotherapist and doctoral student at the Michigan School of Psychology. She is the president of her institution’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance, where she engages students in advocacy and discourse on diversity and clinical competence. Her current research is on predictors of women’s empowerment. She is employed at the

Detroit Justice Center, where her work and research centers on restorative justice and harm. Her email is amckissic@msp.edu.

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Picking the right marketing practices

By Crystal I. Lee, Psy.D.

October 2020

When you’re first starting a private practice, it can seem incredibly daunting to market yourself. The options seem limitless and it can sometimes feel as though you have to do everything under the sun to have a successful practice.

I encourage you to think strategically and pick marketing techniques that best fit your practice, personality and budget. Below is a list of popular marketing practices, which is by no means an all-encompassing list. Of course, in light of the pandemic, some will be useful now and others more useful in the future when the pandemic is over.

The basics

There are two basic marketing tools that everyone should have: a business card and a website. I think anyone reading this article probably already has a business card, but a few of you may not have a website. In this digitally driven world, it’s more important than ever to have a website for a basic online presence.

Also, for those of you with a website, remember that this will probably be a potential client’s first encounter with you, so take the time to make sure it’s the first impression you actually want. If you have an outdated website, it could be a turn-off for potential clients, so take the time to review and possibly update your website every year or so.

Other common marketing practices

Online ads: Online ads are a good way to direct traffic to your website, which is a suitable marketing technique for any kind of practice. This is also a good fit for those who are less comfortable cold calling or passing out business cards to people.

By signing up for Google AdWords (an account is free), you can decide with which words or phrases you want your ad to be associated. Some choices are more expensive than others, but you have complete control over how much you spend on ads and can pre-set a spending cap.

Additionally, you can use Google Analytics (also free) to collect data on which words and phrases are working best for you. With careful analysis, you can quickly determine if you’re getting a return on your investment.

Online directories: Online directories, such as Psychology Today, are another popular way to passively draw traffic to your website. For a monthly fee, your profile can be included in a large collection that potential clients can search. I know many people who are big fans of online directories because they get a lot of online traffic.

Unlike online ads, there’s no guarantee your profile will ever be seen – sometimes you’ll be on the first page of search results (and more likely to be looked at) and sometimes you’ll be on later pages (and probably won’t be seen at all). If you have the extra funds, though, it doesn’t hurt to have a profile

on a reputable online directory.

Press kits: Press kit is just fancy shorthand for a package of marketing materials. Press kits are great for the person who meets lots of people at conferences and is intent on building up a network. If you’re not comfortable doing this, then having a press kit won’t be necessary.

Press kits are especially useful for group practices or multidisciplinary practices because you can include more detailed information about all the different services your practice has and different clinicians in the practice. It’s probably not as necessary for a single-person practice that doesn’t provide varied services.

Promotional materials, business cards, blog articles, easy-to-read infographics 

and other informational materials are great to include in press kits. This elevates

your press kit from just another marketing ploy into something actually useful for

the person you’re giving it to.

Social Media: Social media is another way to drive traffic to your website and also give potential clients another way of getting to know you. What you post, what you “like” or “retweet” and how you interact with other posts will all reflect on who you are, so be mindful of that.

Social media is an especially useful marketing tool for those who enjoy participating in online communities. As you integrate yourself into these smaller online communities or insert yourself into larger discussions, people will begin to think of you as a trusted resource and may refer to you.

Social media is probably one of the more difficult marketing tools for our profession because of the tricky ethical considerations. If you go down this path, just make sure you pay close attention to the ethics of what you’re doing, as this can be a slippery slope into unethical behavior if you’re not careful.

Blogging: Blogging is yet another way to draw traffic to your website. Having an active blog helps with something called “search engine optimization” (SEO), which means your website will be more likely to show up if someone searches for certain keywords. However, this is only the case if the blog is an actual part of your website.

Blogging also helps position you as a resource and builds trust between you and potential clients or referral sources before you even meet them. Blogging is a good marketing tool for those who enjoy writing and sharing knowledge with others. If you’re prone to writer’s block or find it difficult to write in a timely manner, this probably isn’t for you.

Networking: Networking is a marketing strategy that should be tailored to the type of practice you have.

When thinking about who to network with, reflect on the different professionals your clients typically interact with. For example, children and adolescents who are struggling may interact with school administrators, counselors, medical doctors, psychiatrists, educational therapists, educational consultants or regional center caseworkers; it would be more effective to build relationships with those professionals rather than others.

Some may think that networking is only suitable for extroverted, outgoing people. They imagine extroverted individuals effortlessly meeting lots of people at a networking event. That may be true, but I would argue that introverts or shy people are excellent networkers as well. Introverts are great at building relationships on a one-on-one or small group basis, so rather than approaching large networking events as an extrovert would, I would encourage introverts or shy people to focus on building new relation- ships with a select few.

In the end, my most effective marketing strategies have always been the ones that I felt most comfortable implementing. If it was a good fit, I followed through with using the strategy more, which led to more success. It also made marketing feel less like a dirty, business-driven gimmick and just more of what I would do naturally as a person. Most importantly, when engaging in marketing techniques, I came across as more authentic and genuine – like my true self. And isn’t that really the best way to market ourselves?

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Crystal I. Lee, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist in Los Angeles. In her private practice, LA Concierge Psychologist, Dr. Lee specializes in working with emerging adults, adult autism and adult ADHD. She also provides consultation to psychologists needing support in marketing.

Her email is: drlee@laconciergepsychologist.com

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