APA releases new guidelines on race and ethnicity for psychologists

The American Psychological Association (APA) has recently published a set of guidelines entitled “APA Guidelines on Race and Ethnicity: Promoting Responsiveness and Equity,” which seek to inform psychologists in a demographically ever-changing United States to help their constituents understand and optimize their treatment and practice, emphasizing awareness and sensitivity to the racial and ethnic background of their patients. These guidelines are an update of an earlier set of standards published by the APA in 2002, and reflect a changing understanding of how race and ethnicity should be factored into psychological discourse and treatment. The conceptual foundations that these updated guidelines draw from, stated in the 2002 release by the APA, are as follows:

  • Awareness and deep exploration of one’s cultural values, biases, and assumptions.
  • Knowledge about the ways in which race and ethnoculture influence the lived experiences of individuals and communities, including an understanding of the range and variability of the norms, values, and behaviors affected by ethnicity and race between and within groups.
  • Effective skills to engage in culturally relevant interventions at all levels (individual, group, organizational) (APA, 2002; D. W. Sue,
    Arredondo & McDavis, 1992)

(from p. 5 of the guidelines)

These guidelines will not only inform private practice, but should help mentoring organizations and mentors improve their engagement with mentees, who often come from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Parents from minority racial backgrounds disproportionately turn to mentoring programs as an alternative to professional mental health solutions, and it is therefore imperative that mentoring programs and mentors are as equipped to help these mentees with whatever challenges they may be facing.

Click here to read the full guidelines.