Diversity Competency

Diversity was adopted as a separate competency at the August, 2002 business meeting. The NCSPP diversity committees proposed and the membership agreed that the state of our knowledge called for an expanded view of diversity and for the consideration of differences integral to the other competencies and as a focal competency itself. In response to this, they developed the following description of the Diversity Competency:

Diversity refers to an affirmation of the richness of human differences, ideas, and beliefs. An inclusive definition of diversity includes but is not limited to age, color, disability and health, ethnicity, gender, language, national origin, race, religion / spirituality, sexual orientation, and social economic status, as well as the intersection of these multiple identities and multiple statuses. Exploration of power differentials, power dynamics, and privilege is at the core of understanding diversity issues and their impact on social structures and institutionalized forms of discrimination.

Training of psychologists should include opportunities to develop understanding, respect and value for cultural and individual differences. A strong commitment to the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that support high regard for human diversity should be integrated throughout the professional psychology training program and its organizational culture.

Competence in diversity issues may be best accomplished with a multifaceted approach, including integration throughout the curriculum, as well as through specific required coursework and experiences. Students and faculty benefit from exposure to the knowledge base, theories, and research findings that serve as a foundation to guide their understanding and skill development, utilizing this knowledge to critically analyze all aspects of practice. Attention to social and cultural values influencing the profession, as well as development of awareness of individual differences and values within the practitioner, are themes to be interwoven across the training of professional psychologists. Students benefit from the opportunity to explore integration and adaptation of models necessary for work with diverse, marginalized or underserved populations.

Students should have varied opportunities for acquiring knowledge and skills as well as understanding the professional values and attitudes that reflect social responsibility, social justice, and respect for human diversity. These experiences may include among others: classroom learning, programmatic activities, practicum experiences, supervision, and internship training. It is expected that this competency is integrated across all aspects of education and training and forms an integral part of each student’s professional development and identity.

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