Ethnic and Cultural Bias in Human Service Essay

Ethnic and Cultural Bias in Human Service Essay

One of the most persistent issues in psychiatry is ethnic and cultural bias. The article under the title “Mental health misdiagnosis twice more likely for socially disadvantaged groups” dwells upon this matter. It is noted that the recent research shows that therapists tend to misdiagnose people who have a different social and ethnic background (Mental health misdiagnosis twice more likely for socially disadvantaged groups, 2015).Ethnic and Cultural Bias in Human Service Essay

An Israeli clinical psychologist claims that racial bias often undermines the effectiveness of treatment. Thus, white therapists often diagnose serious psychological disorders in people of color though the same conditions are seen differently if a white client is treated. The researchers state that white therapists often fail to understand problems, fears, interests, conditions of minority groups. In other words, when treating white clients, therapists often put themselves in their places and understand their issues.

This is not the case with people of color. Importantly, the researchers stress that their findings can have particular implications for therapists’ training. They note that the training has to address this issue, and future therapists have to be able to work without any innate bias. This article can be seen as an illustration of one of the guidelines. Obviously, psychologists have to understand that they may be prone to bias when treating clients pertaining to minority groups.Ethnic and Cultural Bias in Human Service Essay

The issue is persistent as it affects the entire field. Therapists are unable to make correct diagnoses and clients are treated inadequately. It has led to the development of distrust to professionals among people of color. Thus, Williams (2011) states that African Americans do not seek professional psychological support as they expect to face the same issues they have in their everyday life (judging, bias, prejudice). Clearly, these people’s mental strain increases, which leads to health issues, problems at work and private life. The research shows that these fears are not groundless as therapists are often biased.


It has been found that all people irrespective of their background tend to be biased as people’s cultures inevitably contain prejudice and the division into groups where people are hostile or distrustful to representatives of other groups (“So you flunked a racism test,” 2015). Therapists as any other people are also prone to this kind of innate bias.Ethnic and Cultural Bias in Human Service Essay

 Therefore, it is essential to develop programs that will make people free from prejudice. Many researchers have been working on such programs. They will be aimed at improving accuracy in diagnosis. Researchers understand that bias is intrinsic to the human nature. Hence, they believe that one of the first steps to achieving this goal is the elimination of prejudice in decision-making (Mental health misdiagnosis twice more likely for socially disadvantaged groups, 2015). Williams (2011) notes that therapists should always carry out regular self-examination in the decision-making process.

It is necessary to note that the development of efficient training programs will require a significant amount of time and well as funds. One of the components of this process should be sharing information among therapists having different backgrounds. Thus, therapists pertaining to different minority groups have to share their experiences, fears and issues they have faced in their lives. They should also share their experience of working with people of color. Therapists should also be trained to implement an effective self-examination to detect any possible bias in their decisions. Provision of adequate services will result in the development of trusting relationships between patients of color and therapists.Ethnic and Cultural Bias in Human Service Essay

Reference List

Mental health misdiagnosis twice more likely for socially disadvantaged groups. (2015). EurekAlert! Web.

So you flunked a racism test. Now what? (2015). NPR. Web.

Williams, M.T. (2011). Why African Americans avoid psychotherapy. Psychology Today. Web. Ethnic and Cultural Bias in Human Service Essay

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