Article discussion: D. Sue, American Psychologist (May-June 2008)

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by JockNerd, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. JockNerd

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    Did anyone else read the exchanges between D. Sue and commentators in the May-June American Psychologist? I thought it was an especially interesting exchange, and has some bearing on a few of the board discussions happening lately ("'Homophobia' construct" and the thread on racial colorblindness from a few months ago, for example).
     
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  3. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    No, though you piqued my interest. Is this Sue of the infamous Sue & Sue. I still get flashbacks from some of the articles and book I read by them. :D
     
  4. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist

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    Just got done with that book myself this past year... Good subject matter, well written text, but didn't always agree with them.

    Mark
     
  5. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    I found the text to be an interesting read, though some of the writing definitely seemed to be beating on the dead horse of, "blame white men/culture." I did find the various models for acculturation particularly interesting. I think I have the book around here somewhere.....
     
  6. Neuropsych2be

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    I found Sue and Sue to be tedious. As an undergraduate I double majored in psychology and cultural anthropology. I found the Sue and Sue book interesting but frankly a bit useless in the study of multicultural psychology. My anthro background kept me saying to myself "What a simplistic and limited perspective." and "Ok so we experience a racial development and identity process ... so now that we have that concept down when do we get to something else." Frankly, I don't think its Sue and Sue's fault. It just that psychology is NOT the study of culture and psychologists historically have just never understood cultural analysis.

    In reading Sue and Sue, I kept expecting a decent descriptions of non-western or non-traditional kinship systems, cultural symbol systems, indigenous or minority religious systems, economic systems and their representation, the impact of social change on disadvantaged groups and how psychologists can study and intervene. Instead the text emphasized how minority groups are oppressed by the dominant culture. The text repeated that theme over and over and over and over and over and over. By the end of the book I found myself saying "OK I get it! Western culture is oppressive to its minorities ... now name me a non-western culture that isn't oppressive to its minority groups."

    I think this reflects how training in multicultural issues is abysmal in most graduate programs. In my not so humble opinion, clinical psychology programs should have a cultural anthropologist co-teach multicultural psychology since the study of culture is their specialty area. Psychology frankly lacks the methodological and theoretical underpinnings to engage in meaningful cultural analysis when compared to anthropology or sociology. I think it is a reflection of the institutionalized narcissism and entitlement of academic psychology in that it refrains from looking to sister disciplines for guidance.
     
    #5 Neuropsych2be, Jun 18, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  7. JockNerd

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    I think this is a reasonable take on it, but if you read the responses to the Sue article in the issue I cited, you'll find that they aren't nearly so advanced (i.e. an argument is put forward by one person that a conservative seeing a Kerry bumper sticker and being offended is the same as racism). So, it seems almost like there might have to be this drumbeat because it doesn't seem to be sinking in very well in a lot of circles. I've heard that the way in which Sue puts his argument forward, which I think seems blame-based to many people, can be off-turning, but that seems like a weird argument to me.

    Can you name a good cultural anthro book on the topic, then, that I can read for an alternative perspective (because Sue seems to be a deity at my program)?
     
  8. Ollie123

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    Good post.
    Definitely not my area, but from what I've seen and heard, there is a great deal of research on why multicultural issues are important (which is a good thing), but very little work on what we can actually do about it (other than in very generic terms).

    I haven't read too much of Sue's work. I liked what I read, though there are certainly aspects of it that seem...extreme to the point of being unscientific.

    I think its one area desperately in need of more translational work on moving things from research into practice, and I expect the folks who do this can make quite a name for themselves.
     
  9. auro

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    I've been curious about these discussion as I'm sure others are so here are the abstracts:

    ORIGINAL ARTICLE
    Racial microaggressions in everyday life: Implications for clinical practice.
    Sue, Derald Wing; Capodilupo, Christina M.; Torino, Gina C.; Bucceri, Jennifer M.; Holder, Aisha M. B.; Nadal, Kevin L.; Esquilin, Marta
    American Psychologist. 2007 May-Jun Vol 62(4) 271-286

    Racial microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color. Perpetrators of microaggressions are often unaware that they engage in such communications when they interact with racial/ethnic minorities. A taxonomy of racial microaggressions in everyday life was created through a review of the social psychological literature on aversive racism, from formulations regarding the manifestation and impact of everyday racism, and from reading numerous personal narratives of counselors (both White and those of color) on their racial/cultural awakening. Microaggressions seem to appear in three forms: microassault, microinsult, and microinvalidation. Almost all interracial encounters are prone to microaggressions; this article uses the White counselor-client of color counseling dyad to illustrate how they impair the development of a therapeutic alliance. Suggestions regarding education and training and research in the helping professions are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

    RESPONSE 1

    A broader view of racial microaggression in psychotherapy.
    Schacht, Thomas E.

    Comments on article by Sue et al. on racial microaggression in clinical practice. Sue et al. (2007) usefully demonstrated that microinteractions may express racist attitudes in therapeutic dyads, including attitudes that are consciously disavowed. Sue et al. (2007) focused on the presumed dynamics of racial persecution and did not analyze or consider the potential role of more general interpersonal dynamics in the described interaction patterns. This omission may result in or may reflect a somewhat unbalanced view. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

    RESPONSE 2

    Macrononsense in multiculturalism.
    Thomas, Kenneth R.

    Comments on article by Sue et al. on racial microaggression in clinical practice. Sue and his associates (May-June 2007) presented an interesting, but critically flawed, perspective on the nature of interracial interactions both in everyday life and in the consulting room. Sue and his colleagues (2007, p. 273) contended, for example, that racial microaggressions are "brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults to the target person or group." Moreover, their article leads one to believe that these microaggressions are somehow unique to interracial interactions. Sue and his colleagues seem intent on emphasizing the negative in interracial interactions, whether these interactions take place in the consulting room or in everyday life. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

    RESPONSE 3

    Racial microaggression? How do you know?
    Harris Jr., Rafael S.

    Comments on article by Sue et al. on racial microaggression in clinical practice. In April 2007 during a paper presentation at the University of Florida, I encountered Derald Wing Sue's account of a "real-life incident" in which he argued that a racial microaggression was committed against him. The story involved Sue and his colleague being asked by the flight attendant to move from where they originally sat in the plane in order to balance the weight in what seemingly was a small (propeller) aircraft. I was left wondering whether Sue had considered this alternative hypothesis for the flight attendant's service behavior instead of what would otherwise confirm his racial microaggression claim. The dissemination of biases and self-interests would be a tragic twist to both multicultural psychology's mission and the American Psychological Association's expressed interest in advancing psychology as an evidence-based science. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

    RESPONSE 4

    What's missing from the dialogue on racial microaggressions in counseling and therapy.
    Goodstein, Renée

    Comments on article by Sue et al. on racial microaggression in clinical practice. Sue et al.'s article on racial microaggressions offers valuable information on the insidious, covert nature of racism and its everyday impact on people of color. While I agree with almost every point made in Sue et al.'s article, I wish to comment on two points and to share some of my concerns about their practical implications. The first point has to do with the lack of clarity in distinguishing race from culture, and the second point involves brief phrases in the article that implicitly create a hierarchy of suffering that is problematic in the therapeutic context. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

    ORIGINAL AUTHORS' REPLY TO ABOVE RESPONSES

    Racial microaggressions and the power to define reality.
    Sue, Derald Wing; Capodilupo, Christina M.; Nadal, Kevin L.; Torino, Gina

    Replies to comments by T. E. Schnacht, K. R. Thomas, R. S. Harris Jr., and R. Goodstein, on the current authors' original article which discusses racial microaggressions. The reactions by three of the four respondents to our article on racial microaggressions illustrate nicely the invisible nature of aversive racism and how well-intentioned Whites often dismiss, negate, and minimize the experiential reality of People of Color (POC). For too long POC have not had the opportunity or power to express their points of view. For too long their worldviews have been diminished, negated, or considered invalid. For too long they have been told that their perceptions are incorrect, that there are other logical and rational reasons for the actions of others (especially on racial issues), and that their assertions have no empirical validity. These latter responses are clearly evident in the comments by Schacht (2008), Thomas (2008), and Harris (2008), who continue to question the racial realities of POC using a number of false analogies, surface arguments, and flawed reasoning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)
     
  10. Neuropsych2be

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    Can you name a good cultural anthro book on the topic, then, that I can read for an alternative perspective (because Sue seems to be a deity at my program)?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Jocknerd

    There is an entire sub discipline of anthropology called psychological anthropology which seeks to understand the relationship between culture and psychological processes. So there is a significant body of cross cultural literature within anthropology specifically devoted to topics like personality development, cognition, language functioning, and culture-specific adaptations in behavior. There are a several references out there. One good book I have is "The Psychology of Cultural Experience" by Moore, C. and Matthews, H.F. (2001). There is also "Culture and Identity: The History and Practice of Psychological Anthropology" by Lindholm, C. There is also a journal of anthropological psychology called Ethos which is quite interdisciplinary. There is also a Society for Psychological Anthropology. In anthropology there has been a great deal of work on communities in transition, culturally based symbol systems, how models of the self vary by culture, and overarching models of cosmology that would be of particular interest to practicing psychologists. Much of this literature is technical and based on ethnographic research so penetrating it is venturing into unfamiliar territory. [SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE]
     
    #9 Neuropsych2be, Jun 18, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  11. Ollie123

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    Finally had a chance to read them.

    With the exception of Goodstein, I'd just like to throw out I thought it was all-around shameful on everyone's behalf, and I'm embarassed this got printed in American Psychologist. I didn't know any of the commentators (well, I've heard Schacht's name before but that's it) to respect them before, but Sue's response definitely cost him a GREAT deal of respect in my eyes.

    Schacht - Just generally seemed to miss the point of the article. Makes some interesting, but largely semantic and/or irrelevant points.

    Thomas - Embarassing and unprofessional. Don't know what else to say there.

    Harris - I'm biased since I had the same reaction when reading the anecdote in the original article. Mostly though, I just don't understand why this warranted being printed.

    Goodstein - Good points, no real problems here

    Sue - Makes some good points in response to the above, but then he got dismissive of valid points as well and pulled out the "Disagree with me and its because you're a racist" card. Absolutely shameful and reminded me way too much of the Bush admin for my liking (a statement I imagine he'd take great exception to if he heard;) ).
     
  12. nononora

    nononora Dis Member
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    I'd be interested in seeing data on perceived racial microaggressions and hypervigilance (or something along those lines). It may be the case that people who read into every day occurrences as "microaggressions" are actually looking for it to justify their own beliefs or are hypersensitive - I certainly know a few people like that and it seems to be quite maladaptive.
     
  13. joshie6891

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    In my undergrad program we used 'Cultural Psychology', which is written by Steve Heine at UBC. I thought it was a really nice overview of how culture and psychological concepts interact... but it's definitely written for an undergraduate audience. Don't come in expecting graduate level reading. It's also not written from a clinical point of view, although I'm pretty sure there's a chapter on mental health topics in different cultures.


    I noticed Neuropsych2be's complaints, and while I haven't read Sue & Sue, Heine tries to explore language, symbols, kinship differences, perception, oh.... lots of things. I don't have mine right in front of me but it's a really good read that's not overly complicated.
     

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