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MFT Program Diversity Statement
We esteem all individuals and families as valuable and worthy of understanding and respect. Although it can be difficult to acknowledge and affirm the experiences of those who are different than oneself, it is our belief that all are enriched by this process. As we work to understand each other across the diversities of cultural, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic, racial, and other socio-demographic groupings, we become better individuals and more capable as agents of therapeutic change. Along with the more traditional markers of diversity, we are also mindful of other factors that contribute to a better educational environment. These other factors may include, but are not limited to, international experiences, differential experiences of privilege and oppression, varying types of spiritual and religious faith, exposure to life challenges, and ability to consider the perspectives of others. Pragmatically, we realize that initial conversations between people (who are different from one another) are sometimes filled with conflict, disagreement and bias. However, given this relative inevitability, we work to foster an environment where continued dialogue is possible and encouraged in order to increase the possibility for life lessons to be shared.
In addition, we maintain that a culturally-diverse training environment is a culturally- and professionally-rich learning environment in the following ways:
- Diverse faculty, student body, and client populations help encourage careful and critical thinking. This facilitates the educational experience for all and helps our clients (current and future) receive a more customized treatment.
- Each individual and family has something to learn and something to teach. When we understand and respect the ideas of others, there is an increased possibility for cooperative efforts in accomplishing individual and shared goals.
- Students educated in a culturally-diverse environment are better able to function with adaptability, professionalism and creativity when serving others (in their respective roles as therapists, educators, supervisors, advocates, and so forth).
- Students and faculty who have discussed, read about, and interacted with others around topics such as power, privilege, and oppression, are more likely to be sensitive, self-aware, other-aware, and effective when working with clients from all backgrounds.
It is our belief that quality training cannot occur if students are deprived of the opportunity to foster relationships with others that differ, particularly with regard to culture, race and gender. Furthermore, respect and understanding for diversity has been identified as one of our key educational outcomes, as noted across the program, student, and faculty levels.