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Racial/Cultural Identity Development Model (Atkinson, Morten, and Sue, 1993)

  1. Conformity- characterized by positive attitudes toward and a preference for dominant cultural values and deprecating attitudes toward one’s own culture; prefer a therapist from majority group
  2. Dissonance- marked by confusion and conflict over the contradictory and depreciating attitudes that one has toward self and toward others of the same and different groups; prefer a therapist from a racial/cultural minority group and usually perceive personal problems as being related to racial/cultural identity issues
  3. Resistance and immersion- reject the dominant society and exhibit appreciating attitudes toward the self and toward members of their own group; prefers a therapist from the same group and is likely to perceive personal problems as the result of oppression
  4. Introspection- uncertainty about the rigidity of beliefs held in stage 3 and conflicts between loyalty and responsibility toward one’s group and feelings of personal autonomy; prefer therapists from own group but are more open o therapists who share a similar worldview
  5. Integrative awareness- people experience a sense of self-fulfillment with regard to their cultural identity and have a strong desire to eliminate all forms of oppression; adopt a multicultural perspective and objectively examine the values/beliefs/etc. of their own group and other groups before accepting or rejecting them; place greater emphasis on similarity in worldview, attitudes, and beliefs than on ethnic, racial, or cultural similarity for therapists

Black Racial (Nigrescence) Identity Model (Cross)


Pre-encounter- race and racial identity have low salience; adopted a mainstream identity; prefer White therapist

Encounter- exposure to a single significant race-related event or series of events leads to greater racial-cultural awareness and an interest in developing a Black identity; likely to prefer therapist of same race

Immersion-Emersion- race/racial identity have high salience; idealizes Black culture and feels rage toward Whites as well as guilt and anxiety about his/her own previous lack of awareness of race; intense emotions subside, but individual rejects all aspects of the White culture and begins to internalize a Black identity (intense Black involvement and anti-White stages)

Internalization- have adopted one of three identities: 1. pro-Black, non-racist (Afrocentric) orientation, a biculturalist orientation that integrates a Black identity with a White or other salient cultural identity, or a multiculturalist orientation that integrates a Black identity with two or more other salient cultural identities; may actively work to eradicate racism and, in therapy, may exhibit healthy cultural paranoia


White Racial Identity Development Model


Contact status- has little awareness of racism and of his/her racial identity and may exhibit unsophisticated behaviors that reflect racist attitudes and beliefs; obliviousness/denial

Disintegration status- increasing awareness of race and racism leads to confusion and emotional conflict; to reduce internal dissonance, person may over-identify with members of minority groups, act in paternalistic ways toward them, or retreat into White society; suppression of information/ambivalence

Reintegration status- individual attempts to resolve the moral dilemmas associated with the disintegration status by idealizing White society and denigrating members of minority groups; may blame minority group members for their problems and view Whites as victims of reverse discrimination; selective perception and negative out-group distortion

Psuedo-independence status- a personally jarring event of series of events causes he person to question his/her racist views and acknowledge the role that Whites have had in perpetrating racism; interested in understanding racial/cultural differences but does so only on an intellectual level; selective perception and reshaping reality

Immersion/emersion status- explores what it means to be White, confronts his/her own biases, and begins to understand the ways he/she benefits from White privilege; characterized by increased experiential and affective understanding of racism and oppression; hypervigilance and reshaping reality

Autonomy status- internalizes a nonracist White identity that includes an appreciation for racial/cultural differences and similarities; active seeks out interactions with members of diverse groups; flexibility and complexity; therapists are most successful working with minority clients when they are in this stage


Helms Interaction Model of Counseling


Parallel interaction- therapist and client have same or similar levels of racial/cultural identity; can produce understanding and respect, but can also lead to inertia

Progressive interaction- therapist’s level of racial identity development is at least one level more advanced than the level of his/her client

Regressive interaction- client’s level of racial identity development is at least one level more advanced than the level of the therapist and is associated with conflict and early termination from therapy by the client

Crossed interaction- occurs when statuses of the therapist and client represent opposite attitudes toward race; interactions tend to be highly confrontational and contentious


Homosexual (Gay/Lesbian) Identity Development Model (Troiden, 1988)


Stage 1. Sensitization/Feeling Different- individual feels different from his/her peers; may realize that his/her interests different from those of same-gender classmates; middle childhood

Stage 2. Self-recognition/identity confusion- at the onset of puberty, individual realizes he/she is attracted to people of the same sex and attributes those feelings to homosexuality, which leads to turmoil and confusion

Stage 3. Identity assumption- individual becomes more certain of his/her homosexuality and may deal with this realization in a variety of ways (trying to pass as heterosexual, aligning with homosexual community, or acting in ways consistent with society’s stereotypes)

Stage 4. Commitment/identity integration- have adopted a homosexual way of life and publicly disclose their homosexuality