Cultural Conflict and the Psychotherapist: Guiding Clients Toward Truth and Trust (DHR588) New | Allegany College of Maryland

Living and working in the USA at this moment in history places us awash in conflicts among cultures and subcultures. These conflicts range from pedestrian to profound. They are often grappled with in ways that foster intolerance, fear, hatred, misunderstanding, defensiveness and/or mistrust. Some approaches to resolving cultural conflicts (“winning the culture wars”) can lead directly to harms including people’s being ostracized, dehumanized, or violently persecuted.

This course will help us examine and evaluate the “maps” we psychotherapists use to guide ourselves and our clients in negotiating cultural conflict. It will provide a “big picture” look at both some of the roots and some of the contemporary dynamics of American culture. We will consider how cultural conflicts reflect aspects of “human nature.” We will think about the benefits and drawbacks of our culture’s having become what some call a “therapeutic culture.” We will explore phenomena like political correctness, relativism, social justice and intersectionality to learn about their relationships to mental health as well as to how psychotherapy is conducted. We will question whether psychotherapists should strive to withhold judgment concerning clients’ cultural beliefs, or whether they perhaps have a duty to promote some beliefs and to criticize others. 

As per the course title, your instructor values truth and trust, and invites participants to bring a spirit of open-mindedness and respectfulness to the course. Although we will be wrestling with weighty and potentially provocative issues, a sense of humor and an attitude of not taking one’s self too seriously will be most welcome.


9/3, Thursday (1 Session)
9:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Instructor: Paul McCusker, Ph. D.

Course Cost: $40.00

MD Senior Course Cost: $35.00

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