An Interesting Introduction to Psychology – Minority Identity Development

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The Minority Identity Development Model distinguishes between 5 stages that people experience as they attempt to understand themselves in terms of their own culture, the dominant culture, and the oppressive relationship between the two cultures. In the conformity stage of minority development, a person prefers the dominant cultural values; the dissonance stage is marked by confusion and conflict, and the person begins to challenge the values of the previous stage; in the resistance and immersion stage, a person rejects the dominant culture and wholly endorses minority held views; the introspection stage is characterized by conflict between autonomy and constraints of the last stage; and in the synergistic articulation and awareness stage, the person experiences self-fulfillment and individual autonomy.

The 4 stages of Troiden’s Homosexual Identity Development Model are Sensitization, identity confusion, identity assumption, and identity commitment. According to the Homosexual Identity Development Model, the Sensitization stage is characterized by feelings of marginalization, a concern with gender identification over sexuality, and the internalization of a negative self-concept. The Identity confusion stage of homosexual identity development, Troiden contends, is marked by the youthful experience of conflict between the identity one developed as a child and that which is demanded as an adolescent. During this stage, stress can be dealt with via denial, avoidance, repair, or acceptance.

When a homosexual person experiences a reduction in social isolation and an increase in contact with other homosexuals, Troiden would say they are in the Identity assumption stage of homosexual identity development, during which capitualization, minstralization, passing, and group alignment are used as coping techniques.

Commitment is the final stage of homosexual identity development involves the integration of homosexuality to the extent that it becomes a state or way of being, rather than a description of sexual behavior. People in this stage usually accomplish same-sex love commitment and are comfortable identifying oneself as gay, lesbian, or bisexual to non-homosexual individuals.

McLaughlin has distinguished between these 8 stages of homosexuality identity formation: Isolation, alienation, rejection of self, passing as straight, consolidating self identity, acculturation, integrating self and public identity, and pride and synthesis. Herek argues that Sexual prejudice is a more precise term than homophobia and describes it as “all negative attitudes toward an individual based on sexual orientation,” regardless of sexuality.

Hispanic clients prefer a more attentive and personal approach to therapy. Ruiz and Padilla suggest therapy with Hispanic clients should be active and goal-oriented, and should consider the importance of family in therapy.

Regarding treatment of Latino/a and Hispanic people, Cuento therapy includes Reading “cuentos,” or Spanish folk-tales, and discussing them in the treatment process. When working with Native-American clients, therapists should take a non-directive, history oriented, accepting, and cooperative approach, as well as consider utilizing Elder tribe members, medicine people, legends, and other culturally significant aspects. As a result of Asian-American ethnic group’s tendency to be reserved and inhibited, it is best to use an approach that is direct, structured, and short-term.

It has been suggested that treatment for Elderly clients should include guiding the person through identity stages and encouraging satisfying relationships and activities.

In the Reminiscence Therapy approach to therapy an elderly client be encouraged to accept past successes and shortcomings, resolve past conflicts, and develop future goals to enhance life meaning via a process of reviewing one’s life. A therapist who interprets everyone’s reality through their own cultural assumptions and stereotypes, minimizes cultural variations among clients, is unaware of their own cultural biases, and defines counseling in terms of dogmatically-accepted techniques and strategies is said to be Culturally encapsulated.

Acculturation refers to the process of change that occurs when one culture assimilates with another culture.

African-, Asian-, Hispanic-, and Native-Americans exhibit high-context communication, which relies on shared cultural understanding and nonverbal cues. In contrast, Anglos are more likely to exhibit low-context communication, which relies primarily on verbal messages. Cultural overgeneralization (Hall) occurs when a therapist assumes that all of a client’s problems are directly related to the client’s culture as opposed to other factors. Racial Interaction Model was developed by Helms to provide a conceptual framework for understanding and resolving interracial tensions in cross-cultural psychotherapy.