The development of a good therapeutic relationship and/or group cohesion are integral to the success of treatment. Establishing and maintaining those connections depend on therapists’ skill in creating an environment that nurtures all members and takes into consideration all their cultural identities and memberships, including ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression, socioeconomic status, etc. With increased diversity among clients comes the need for therapists to conduct culturally informed and sensitive assessment and treatment in order not only to address clients’ needs, but also to consider all the forces that led to their offending, could increase their risk post-treatment, and those that could help maximize healthy/adaptive functioning in the community. This course will focus on the practical application of multicultural competence concepts. Participants will be provided with information as to how to apply Bonfrenbrenner’s (1977) Ecological Model within the context Sue and Sue’s (2015) Multicultural Competencies. The course will be divided into factors that influence therapists’ awareness of their own cultural identities, their origins, and how the influence the way in which they view themselves and others. This process helps therapists to develop increased cultural sensitivity towards individuals seemingly different from them. Moreover, participants will become familiar with methods to increase their knowledge of other cultures and how certain cultural/historical events influence clients’ current situation and functioning. We will also will discuss culturally sensitive assessment and therapeutic methods. Finally, participants will use the above models to conceptualize a sample case from a multicultural perspective. We will cover the clients’ psychosocial history, delinquent history and offense characteristics, functioning while in detention, and will identify clinical issues to address in treatment, treatment course, and examples of how to different clinical versus cultural, versus systemic issues during treatment.
Alejandro Leguizamo earned an undergraduate degree at Boston University and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Forensic Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He previously worked in a variety of forensic settings, including Bridgewater State Hospital and in Court Clinics in Southeastern Massachusetts. He is a former Clinical Director of the Sex Offender Treatment Program at the Massachusetts Treatment Center, where he also provided treatment to Spanish-speaking inmates and civilly committed men. He currently a member of the Psychology faculty at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. In addition to his academic work, he conducts evaluations and specialized treatment for the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. His current research focuses on multicultural factors in sex offending, predictors of psychological well-being in diverse community samples, and factors associated with the reporting of campus sexual assaults by survivors. Dr. Leguizamo regularly presents at regional and national conferences.