Counseling African American Men, Volume 1: Developing Cultural Competency
by Darrick Tovar-Murray
Understand the cultural and historical challenges African American men face daily, increase your confidence and learn key skills for establishing the strong alliance necessary to work with this population.
Despite the growing awareness of the need for cultural competence when working with clients from diverse backgrounds, therapists often find themselves ill-equipped for and uncomfortable having the conversations about race and racism that are required to help African American men heal. To further complicate matters, traditional assessment practices and interventions can be detrimental to a meaningful therapeutic relationship. Working with African American men requires therapists to look beyond symptoms in order to truly appreciate what it’s like to live in a racialized society. In this powerful video you will explore the challenges and historical considerations unique to this population and discover how to use this knowledge to develop a strong working alliance and create a safe space for your African American clients.

Through clips from real therapy sessions led by clinician, educator, and author Darrick Tovar-Murray, PhD, along with the rich conversations that follow with Psychotherapy.net founder Victor Yalom, Tovar-Murrary masterfully illuminates the salient issues faced by African American men, as well as key cultural and historical factors to consider when working with them. Highlights from his work with three clients demonstrate Tovar-Murray’s effective, unique approach towards creating a genuine alliance and laying the groundwork for healing.

This video will give you tools for developing the confidence and competence you need to create a meaningful working bond by not just allowing, but inviting uncomfortable topics such as racism and slavery to enter the room and leveraging them as a catalyst for growth. 

What therapists are saying…

“Dr. Tovar-Murray masterfully demonstrates that therapists don’t need special interventions or tricks up their sleeves to work with Black male clients. Rather, he shows that building an authentic, therapeutic relationship is the key that unlocks the door to Black men's wellness.”
—Dr. LaTonya Summers, LCMHC, Professor, Jacksonville University and Founder of the Black Mental Health Symposium
“Practitioners and students will benefit from seeing Dr. Tovar-Murray normalize the importance of broaching issues of race, racism, and their impacts on emotional wellness and identity in African American men. I appreciated Tovar-Murray’s client-centered approach, exemplified by the rapport and safety he established with his clients, allowing them to express vulnerability related to their experiences as Black men in America.”
—Malaika M. Edwards, LCMHC, Doctoral Student, North Carolina State University 
“An invaluable resource for professionals counseling African-American men. Dr. Tovar-Murray will deepen your understanding of racial experiences and their profound psychological effects on the day-to-day lives of Black men. His methods for addressing the multi-layered identities of African-American men can be easily incorporated into your existing therapeutic approach. I recommend this video series as an absolutely necessary resource for all counseling professionals.”
—Poonam Doshi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychology & Mental Health Counseling Department, Pace University, NY
“I appreciated Tovar-Murray’s use of appropriate self-disclosure as an effective intervention. Students and clinicians alike will benefit from his person-centered approach, which demonstrates effective strategies to help African American men feel heard, seen, and validated.”
—Christopher D. Jackson, MS, LPC, Doctoral Candidate, University at the Cumberlands
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Christopher has struggled all his life to fit in—first at school, then in the military, and most recently in relationships and in the workforce. Angry, depressed, and having turned to alcohol to regulate himself, he feels vulnerable, isolated, and without direction despite his immediate family ties and proud ancestry. 

Carver presents primarily with issues in his relationships with women—both his current partner and his ex-girlfriend, with whom he has a child. Underneath his sadness and frustration are the residual effects of having an absent father and his difficulty feeling anger about this. When we first meet him, he reminds us that as a Black man, “self-preservation is the first order of law—if that means being on guard 24/7, then the answer is yes, but that is the burden, and it’s very heavy to carry that.”

Chad is freshly out of a long-term relationship, unemployed, struggling with insecurity and self-doubt, and trying to balance a complex identity comprised of being gay, raised as a Jehovah’s witness, and Black. When we first meet him, he tells us what it is like to feel invisible and asks us to consider that “if to be present is to be threatening as a Black person, then you’re getting all these signals around that you’re threatening, to the point where you’ve now got a literal target on your back and can be killed because of it, and that’s really hard to digest.”

Glimpses into their unique therapeutic experiences will focus on:
  • Racism
  • Microaggressions
  • Identity Issues
  • Impacts of Slavery
  • Mistrust of Helping Professionals
  • Creating Safety by Going into their World

Length of video: 2:49:09

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-583-1

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-583-0

Darrick Tovar-Murray, PhD, is an associate professor of counseling in the Department of Counseling and Special Education at DePaul University in Chicago, where he teaches a wide range of graduate-level clinical and counseling courses. He is the author (with contributions from Jan Louis Gaetjens) of Basic Therapeutic Counseling Skills: Interventions for Working with Clients’ Thoughts, Feelings and Behavior (Cognella, 2017). Dr Tovar Murray’s primary area of scholarship is multicultural counseling, and his research interests include identity development, African-American well-being, and counseling and spirituality. 

CE credits: 3

Learning Objectives:

  • describe the developmental and clinical impact of racism on African American men
  • define race-related concepts such as invisibility, microaggression, and oppression
  • discuss how to create a safe and comfortable therapeutic space for African American men

Bibliography available upon request

This course is offered for ASWB ACE credit for social workers. See complete list of CE approvals here

© 2021

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