From the presenter’s vantage point as a therapist of color, a teacher of courses on race, and a researcher in multicultural psychology, she has been privileged to bear witness to the human struggle to make sense of oneself in a racialized and gendered world. As old narratives are directly challenged by evidence of structural oppression and unearned privileges that perpetuate inequities across every domain of life, the discomfort for many is often unbearable. A host of defensive maneuvers often arise that bear a striking resemblance to the stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, and sadness—before arriving, finally at acceptance. In this talk, there will be discussion on how contemplative practices such as mindfulness may improve individuals’ capacity to tolerate the pain, grief, and discomfort that often accompany trainings in cultural competence, anti-racism, and other diversity-related initiatives. To illustrate, preliminary findings from Year 1 of the presenter’s Mind & Life PEACE grant-funded project to develop and test a mindfulness-based critical consciousness-training program for K-5 teachers working in racially diverse schools in New York City will be discussed. This project examines the effect of integrating mindfulness into a packaged critical consciousness-training program that trains teachers to think critically about inequitable social conditions as they shape educational processes and outcomes and to take action to change them. In Year 1, they begin by comparing changes in multicultural teaching competence and implicit racial bias in the two control conditions: critical consciousness training alone and mindfulness training alone. Qualitative review of training sessions and stakeholder input are informing the development of the hybrid approach, which will be tested in Year 2.
Doris F. Chang, PhD
New York University
Convening Faculty, Grantee, Reviewer
Doris F. Chang is Associate Professor at NYU Silver School of Social Work and a research scientist at the Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence, New York State Psychiatric Institute. … MORE