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Responding to Hurricane Katrina: Using Critical Consciousness for Cultural Competence


Responding to Hurricane Katrina: Using Critical Consciousness for Cultural Competence Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji Rachael Goodman University of Florida – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Responding to Hurricane Katrina: Using Critical Consciousness for Cultural Competence

Responding to Hurricane Katrina Using Critical
Consciousness for Cultural Competence
  • Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji
  • Rachael Goodman
  • University of Florida

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
When and Where we Entered
  • Red Cross Disaster Mental Health response
  • SAMHSA deployment
  • Florida Alternative Breaks (FAB)
  • Organized service
  • Teaching for critical consciousness
  • Outreach, Advocacy, Cultural Competence

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Problem Statement
  • Disasters are increasing worldwide (Walker,
    Wisner, Learning Minear, 2005).
  • Post-Katrina, it is projected that counseling
    services will be needed over the next 5-10 years
    (Waugh, 2006 Yule, Bolton, Udwin, Boyle, O'Ryan
    Nurrish, 2000). There is a dearth of mental
    professionals in the Gulf Coast area (Berggren
    Curiel, 2006).
  • Disaster mental health providers are not
    adequately prepared (Kennedy, 2006). Adequate
    preparation must include cultural competence
    (Halpern Tramontin, 2007).

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Critical Consciousness
  • is the ability to perceive oppression and to act
    against the oppressive elements in society
    (Freire, 2000)
  • Seven steps for assessing and developing critical
    consciousness in disaster response

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Rubric for Assessing Critical Consciousness in
Disaster Response
ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Rubric for Assessing Critical Consciousness in
Disaster Response
ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Rubric for Assessing Critical Consciousness in
Disaster Response
ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Rubric for Assessing Critical Consciousness in
Disaster Response
ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Literature Review
  • There is a dearth of counseling scholarship on
    disasters and disaster response.
  • It is critical that mental health disaster
    response workers have cultural competence
    (Halpern Tramontin, 2007).

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Culture-Centered Disaster Response
  • Culture-centered disaster response is critical
  • Understanding unique experiences, including
    historical trauma, oppression, and race-related
    stressors (Cross, 1998 Harrell, 2000 Roysircar,
    2004 Ruef, Litz Schlenger, 2000)
  • Developing effective interventions (Pedersen
    Ivey, 1993)

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Research Design
  • Culture-centered research methodology
    transformation, liberation, and praxis (King
    Mitchell, 1995 Tillman, 2002)
  • Participants seven female masters-level
  • Data sources (1) application information, (2)
    inventories, (3) daily journals
  • Data analysis thematic analysis, NVIV0 2.0

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Critical Consciousness
Meta- Knowledge
Cultural Competence
Group Cohesion
Transformation Self-Care
ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Meta-Knowledge Group Cohesion
  • It is important for group cohesion, for at
    least one member to push the group by trusting. I
    found that it was because I was willing to trust
    my peers at dinner by opening up to what was
    currently taking place in my life that triggered
    the other members to engage in opening up.
  • It really put the exclamation point on unity
    that transcended this group bonding at a profound
  • There have been many times that we have leaned
    on each other, and other times where we wanted
    and needed to stand alone. We have been there for
    each, a week before, close to perfect strangers,
    now having shared intimate thoughts and feelings
    with each other.

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Meta-Knowledge Mentoring
  • It was really helpful to hear how Dr. XXXX had
    modeled for different group members and how she
    would handle different discussions. It felt like
    we were getting to learn from her example in real
    life in the setting not just in stories.
  • If each is trained in different areas than
    individuals within the group can use each other
    as resources.
  • What an amazing experience to be able to
    practice this work with others wanting to counsel
    in the same way AND to have a professor working
    with us as a mentor in learning how it is done IN
    the actual community setting. How powerful!

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Meta-Knowledge Transformation
  • I truly feel like a different person.
  • This was an incredibly moving experience that I
    am sure will be in my mind for a long time
    coming. I personally have grown as a counselor,
    student, and person. I have been impacted in a
    way that is hard to talk about without tears
    coming to eyes. I feel like I have had a sip of
    water after a long day and only want more.
  • It is funny to look back at the anxiety and
    uncertainty I had at the beginning of the trip
    and how much better I feel now.
  • I see now that this is not merely imagination.
    It is my vision. It is my intuition. It is a deep
    one. Another echoed the theme of self-confidence
    and fortitude for herself as a professional,
    stating, it gave me hope for myself. Ill take
    it on as a challenge to be the best practicing
    psychologist/counselor that I can be.

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Meta-Knowledge Self-Care
  • When throwing ourselves in such situations like
    today, it is absolutely necessary to have
    boundaries and keep your own self- cares methods
    in tact and on the forefront, as they are easily
    put behind us often. Sometimes when in a large
    group, people including myself feel guilty for
    wanting to take time alone and by themselves. I
    think this idea of separateness and togetherness
    is essential to understand before embarking on a
    trip like the one we are on. By having clear
    boundaries and permission to be alone we allow
    ourselves to fully process and come full circle
    with our thoughts and ideas.

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Meta-Knowledge Self-Care
  • I realized that it was a smart and awesome
    decision for her to do what she really needed.
    She was putting herself first at a time that it
    was very difficult to do so.
  • How powerful that was for me to learn through
    trusting my feelings and taking care of myself
    (self care) that it ultimately translates and
    benefits any counseling experience.
  • We have to take care of ourselves first, and
    that's what I really needed to shut down and get
    back down to rock bottom, so I can climb back up
  • We had discussed the importance of promoting
    self care for counseling professionals. The focus
    was on meeting the needs of the counselor first,
    in order for them to achieve the level of
    presence needed to engage in crisis/trauma

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Critical Consciousness
  • As I looked at the fully-attentive, packed room
    I saw resiliency.
  • The room was electrifying and you could feel
    that this community would be alright and was well
    on its way to its rebirth. Once again, we did not
    take over the spotlight, but just joined in by
    handing out flyers with useful resources for
    parents during the meeting.
  • So if we were using a metaphor of a light bulb
    turning on above your head when something clicks,
    then today can only be described as the most
    beautiful explosion of fireworks on the fourth of

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Critical Consciousness cont.
  • One side of the argument would point out that it
    is unfair to generalize all individuals and pair
    them together solely based on previous shared
    experiences. On the other hand, this teacher
    may have really been the best option for teaching
    these children who had been relocated. There are
    many more points that can be made, I am sure.
  • It just made me realize that, when talking to
    people, in therapy or in general, there is so
    much more behind what people say on a surface
    level, and a great deal of introspection is
    required in order to even understand the basics.
  • One week in New Orleans has changed my outlook
    as a person and as a professional. I came on this
    trip as a student, counselor, and woman, but
    those words have been redefined. I like the idea
    that we change out pieces of ourselves through
    our experiences in life, and I know I have taken
    something new with me and left a part of me

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Cultural Competence
  • It is important to recognize that there is an
    external locus of control in this disaster and
    that context of the culture. Their strong belief
    system was beneficial. Individuals might be
    reluctant to ask for help for fear of burdening
    others that are grieving.
  • I also liked that it was something that was
    Afrocentrically driven and allowed all of us to
    share in a new cultural experience to end what
    has been truly a culturally driven week.
  • When we arrived at the school, we were laid back
    and tried to fit in within their own system,
    instead of forcing them to adjust to our own.
  • It gives new meaning to being appreciative and
    thankful to know one is mindful of the context of
    the culture one is entering. Culture
    centered-community based counseling is not only
    one of the most well received approaches, I was
    surprised how brief it can be, and how beneficial
    it can be to counselors.

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Critical Consciousness
Culturally Competent Disaster Response
Meta-Knowledge constructed through dialectical
Group Cohesion
Transformation Self-Care
Reflection Self-Awareness
Pre-critical Consciousness
ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Further Investigation Is Needed To
  1. ascertain how outreach can be done across
    disciplines and with multidisciplinary teams,
  2. determine how to account for differences in
    disasters (national/international,
  3. determine how outcomes can be duplicated or
  4. develop more ways to assess for and increase
    cultural competence, and
  5. establish culturally competent disaster response

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
  • Group continues to meet and support one another
  • Individuals are engaging in leadership roles
  • An outreach to South Africa and Botswana was
  • Individuals are engaging in research

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Selected References
  • Cross, W. E. (1998). Black psychological
    functioning and the legacy of slavery. In Y.
    Danieli (Ed.), International handbook of
    multigenerational legacies of trauma (pp.
    387-400). New York Plenum Press.
  • Halpern, J., Tramontin, M. (2007). Disaster
    mental health Theory and practice. Belmont CA.
    Thompson Brooks/Cole.
  • Harrell, S. P. (2000). A multidimensional
    conceptualization of racism-related stress
    Implications for the well-being of people of
    color. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 70,
  • Kennedy, A. (2006, July). When disaster strikes.
    Counseling Today, , .
  • King, J. E. Mitchell, C. A. (1995). Black
    mothers to sons Juxtaposing African American
    literature with social practice. New York Peter
    Lang Publishing.
  • Pedersen, P. B., Ivey, A. (1993).
    Culture-centered counseling and interviewing
    skills A practical guide. Westport, CT Praeger.

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Selected References cont.
  • Roysircar, G. (2004). Child survivor of war A
    case study. Journal of Multicultural Counseling
    and Development, 32, 168-180.
  • Ruef, A. M., Litz, B. T., Schlenger, W. E.
    (2000). Hispanic ethnicity and risk for
    combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder.
    Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority
    Psychology, 6, 235-251.
  • Tillman, L. C. (2002). Culturally sensitive
    research approaches An African-American
    perspective. Educational Researcher, 319, 3-12
  • Walker, P., Wisner, B., Learning, J, Minear, L.
    (2005). Smoke and mirrors Deficiencies in
    disaster funding. British Medical Journal, 330,
  • Waugh, W. L. (2006). The political costs of
    failure in the Katrina and Rita disasters. The
    Annals of the American Academy of Political and
    Social Science, 604, 10-25.
  • Yule, W., Bolton, D., Udwin, O., Boyle, S.,
    ORyan, D., Nurrish, J. (2000). The long-term
    psychological effects of a disaster experienced
    in adolescence I The incidence and course of
    PTSD. The Journal of Child Psychology and
    Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 41, 503-511.

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit
Contact Information
  • Cirecie A. West-Olatunji, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Counselor Education
  • College of Education
  • University of Florida
  • 1204 Norman Hall
  • POBox 117046
  • Gainesville, FL  32611
  • (352) 392-0731 x-235
  • (352) 846-2697 (fax)

Rachael D. Goodman, Ed.S. Doctoral
Student Department of Counselor Education College
of Education University of Florida 1204 Norman
Hall, POBox 117046 Gainesville, FL  32611 (214)
282-4507 (352) 846-3011 (fax)

ACA 2007 Convention - Detroit