Cultural Humility: Engaging Diverse Identities in Therapy

Authors:  Joshua N. Hook, Don Davis, Jesse Owen, Cirleen DeBlaere
Publisher:  American Psychological Association
Year:  2017
Length:  236 pages

This book describes how therapists can combine multicultural theory with their own lived experience to meaningfully engage clients in issues of culture. Many mental health practitioners (MHPs) today recognize and affirm the importance of cultural background-race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, et al-in their clients’ lives. But many MHPs struggle to address cultural issues in practice, whether because of unfamiliarity, or fear of giving offense, or because the presence of cultural differences or similarities between client and therapist that can make it difficult to view the client objectively.

The authors of this book recommend that MHPs focus not on what they have learned in previous clinical or educational settings, but on what they don’t know about the client who sits across from them. They discuss practical strategies for engaging with clients and their cultural identities, including repairing mistakes that threaten the therapeutic relationship. Through a wide range of case examples and hands-on exercises, the authors demonstrate how therapists can learn to acknowledge their limitations, and view them as opportunities to connect with clients at a deeper level.