Module 6 Overview- BLACK WOMEN AND GIRLS

Cultural Competency Black with Black Women and Girls 

Kevin Washington (Mwata Kairi), PhD

The dynamics of mental health for Black women and girls are complex and multidimensional. Black women reside in the spaces of “The Strong Black Woman “to the “Angry Black Woman “to “The Jezebel”. Black girls grow up in a space where colorism and all its manifestations, from skin color to hair texture, are ever invading the psyche and shaping identity development. Striving to combat these psycho-social issues can leave Black women and girls spiritually bankrupt. This specialization course introduces participants to the theory and systems of the practice and process of culturally relevant psychotherapy with Black women and girls that fortify their sense of self-worth. The presenter contends that psychological healing of Black women and girls can be best achieved through the implementation of a psychotherapeutic healing paradigm that is consistent with the essence and experiences of said population.  To that end, this workshop advances an Afrikan Centered (culturally sensitive) mental health service delivery modality for Black women and girls.

Course Rationale

Data suggest that Black women's anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders among them. Moreover, anxiety symptoms are more chronic and intense as compared to women of other racial/ethnic groups. These various socio-cultural variables affect women psychologically. Variables such as racism, sexism, and colorism are emotionally taxing for Black women and girls.  Sexual assault is 3.5 times higher among Black females than other women. Further, Black women are less likely to report sexual assault thus creating an additional psycho-emotional burden that they must carry. Feelings of apathy and lowered self-worth become internalized aspects of women’s identity formation. Mental health professionals facilitate healing through 1) diagnosing the behavior, 2) exploring the etiology (cause) of the behavior, and 3) prescribing treatment (healing) for the behavior.  Psychology is the area of study that explores human behaviors and their treatment (healing).  The Cultural Competency workshop is designed to provide a brief overview of Afrikan/Black Psychology as well as intervention strategies for Black women and girls that ground culturally relevant mental health theory and practice. Not only does this workshop examine the dynamics of human beingness from the perspective of Black women and girls living in a racially conscious society, but it presents culturally responsive mental service delivery techniques designed to positively enhance the mental health outcomes of the target population.

Course Objectives

Upon the completion of this course, participants will possess the knowledge to:

  1. Empower Black females and girls to function optimally.
  2. Provide Black girls and women with the tools needed to be positive change agents within their socio-cultural environment.
  3. Increase knowledge efficacy with delivering mental health services to Black girls and women.
  4. Explore feelings and thoughts about the socio-cultural variables that challenge Black girls and women.
  5. Enhance self-awareness and self-efficacy in Black girls and women.
  6. Provide Black girls and women with techniques that will positively impact their self-esteem and self-perception.
  7. Improve Black girls’ and women’s mental health status.

Participant Objectives

The objectives of this course are:

  1. To provide a framework for establishing an operational definition of Afrikan/Black Psychology and Psychotherapy,

  2. To discuss the history and development of culturally competent psychotherapy as it pertains to Black girls and women,

  3. To provide participants with a knowledge base into Afrikan/Black mental health service delivery for Black girls/women so that they can elucidate the sociocultural and physiological contributors to the etiology of various mental disorders,

  4. To provide participants with a knowledge foundation into Afrikan/Black Psychotherapy intervention so that they develop the skills to identify possible culturally appropriate mental health diagnosis and treatment (healing) modalities for Black girls and women,

  5. To increase participants’ knowledge base about the theories and application of culturally responsive Psychotherapy for Black girls and women.

Instructional Methodology

To ensure that participants gain the maximum benefit from this course, experiential and didactic instructional modalities are utilized.  Participants are encouraged to discuss the presented information, as well as develop their case conceptualization for mental health services.  Various media forms such as PowerPoint presentations and video materials are employed to enhance the teaching/learning process.

A Black Woman Healing Paradigm will be presented. Within this paradigm, we will explore the socio-cultural challenges encountered by Black Women. So often analysis surrounding African Americans centers on the Afrikan Enslavement process that relegates them to simply being the European invention of Negroes. Afrikan reality predates enslavement and thus the prowess inherent in Black women is more than an adaptation to White terrorism. ​Too often Black women are at high risk for mental and emotional stress due to a plethora of issues surrounding Black families such as increased household chores, caregiving, community violence, political disenfranchisement, and economic inequities. In addition to the daily struggles of coping with racism and sexism which are sources of mental and emotional duress, many Black women and girls encounter the dynamics of intergenerational familial and cultural trauma. We will elucidate ways to heal from the psychological unrest caused by these socio-cultural ills.  Thus, reclamation of the internal and external psycho-emotional space is explicated to promote optimal spiritual growth. Let the healing began.

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