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Dr. Sharp: [00:00:00] Hello everyone. Welcome to the Testing Psychologist Podcast, the podcast where we talk all about the business and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, licensed psychologist, group practice owner, and private practice coach.

This podcast is brought to you by PAR.

Conduct a broad-based assessment of personality and psychopathology with the Gold Standard Personality Assessment Inventory or PAI. The new PAI Spanish Revised Translation retains semantic equivalence while using clearer and more inclusive language. Learn more at parinc.com\pai.

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the Testing Psychologist podcast. Glad to be here with you as always, and so glad to be here with my guests today. You will recognize one of these names. Dr. Linda McGHee is back for her third appearance on the podcast. [00:01:00] Always grateful to have Linda here. And this time she has brought friends. So, I have Linda, I have Dr. Shalena Heard, and I have Dr. Tanisha Drummond. Let me tell you a little bit about them and then we’ll get into the episode.

Linda McGhee is one of the nation’s foremost experts on culturally sensitive testing for diverse populations. She taught assessment at both George Washington University and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Linda has addressed national organizations, school associations, psychology practices, and school psychologist groups on diversity In assessment. She has formed the Multicultural Assessment Community to facilitate these important conversations as well.

Like I said, Linda has been on the podcast here where she presented on unconscious bias and creating culturally sensitive assessments. She is also a chapter author of a book on bipolar disorder,  addressing the assessment of diverse populations and bipolar disorder.

[00:02:00] Dr. Shalena Heard is the owner of Purposeful ACTS, LLC. She is a licensed psychologist in the state of Maryland and certified as a national health service psychologist and approved clinical supervisor. She’s a native of Philadelphia and a proud first-generation college student. Dr. Heard has extensive experience providing therapy and psychological assessment services to children, adolescents, and adults within inpatient, residential, outpatient, and school settings. In addition to her therapy and assessment practice, she is an affiliate faculty member at Loyola University in Maryland.

Last but not least, Dr. Tanisha Drummond is a board-certified child and adolescent psychologist specializing in psychological assessment in Baltimore, Maryland. She’s worked in various settings as well, which have helped her develop knowledge and expertise of multicultural issues often encountered. She owns ES Consulting and Assessment LLC, a private practice that focuses on testing and consulting. [00:03:00] Dr. Drummond also supervises psychology doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows and provides consultative services to schools, agencies, and other professionals.

This was a great episode with these three fantastic women. We talk about assessment as advocacy. What does that mean? How do we use the assessment process and use ourselves as clinicians to advocate for our clients as they go through the testing?

So, we talk about the different phases of testing and how advocacy comes up at each of those phases: pre-appointment, interview, testing, and report writing. We also talk about using yourself as an advocate and developing your skills as an advocate and doing your own work in this area in order to do good work for our clients. We conclude by talking about the upcoming multicultural assessment conference which these 3 women are [00:04:00] hosting for the second year in a row. Last year it got rave reviews. I was a speaker. It was an amazing experience and they have just further iterated on the fantastic experience last year to put together another great conference. Links will be in the show notes to check that out and register if you would like. It’s coming up in October.

All right. Without further ado, let’s get to my episode on assessment as advocacy.

Hey everyone, welcome to the podcast. We’ve got Linda and Tanisha and Shalena here. Welcome y’all.

Dr. Linda: Thank you. Hey, Linda.

Dr. Tanisha: Hey, I’m [00:05:00] Tanisha.

Dr. Shalena: Hey, it’s Shalena.

Dr. Sharp: I know that I did a lengthy introduction for y’all at the beginning of the episode, which people definitely heard. I think it is nice to put voices to names. And so maybe we could just do a very brief, just, Hey, this is me, this is who I am, just to orient people a little bit. Linda, would you be willing to start us off with that?

Dr. Linda: Yeah. I am Linda McGhee and I’m a clinical psychologist in Chevy Chase, Maryland. And this is my, I think third appearance on The Testing Psychologist.

Dr. Sharp: Mm-hmm. You’re in the club. You get the jacket.

Dr. Linda: There you go. Stop there.

Dr. Sharp: Nice. Tanisha, what about you?

Dr. Tanisha: Sure. I’m Tanisha Drummond. I’m a board-certified child adolescent psychologist in Baltimore. I think [00:06:00] that’s all I was supposed to say. No fun facts yet.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, not yet. We’ll save that.

Dr. Tanisha: Okay.

Dr. Sharp: All right. Shalena.

Dr. Shalena: I’m Shalena Heard. I’m a counseling psychologist by training, but practice as a clinical psychologist all up and through the State of Maryland. I’m from the top to the bottom, so I’m not based in one city all the time. I try to say I’m a woman of the people. I go where the people need the services.

Dr. Sharp: I love that. I’m excited to have y’all here. I had the privilege of speaking at y’all’s conference last year, the Multicultural Assessment Conference, which is coming up again. That’s crazy. I think it’s been a year, but that conference was so well received, and just getting to interact with y’all as a speaker was awesome. I’m grateful to have you here to be able to talk about advocacy in assessment and how we can roll that into the work that we do.

I always ask, I always start off just by asking why this is important. I mean, y’all [00:07:00] have so many things going on and could do and focus on many different things. Why is this important right now?

Dr. Linda: I’ll start. This is Linda. I’m older than Tanisha and Shalena. I started thinking about what did I want to leave this field with? And the thing that came to my mind is, I wanted to leave it better than I found it. And I also wanted to help other clinicians who were willing and able to make themselves more competent to open their minds a bit and to just understand and make assessment more accessible, that’s a lot of alliteration, in terms of both being physically and financially accessible, but also being accessible in that we all have clinicians who are competent and who are multiculturally aware, for lack of [00:08:00] a better term.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. That’s a great start. What about the others? The rest of you?

Dr. Tanisha: Very similar. This whole idea of being gatekeepers and really creating a community of support. There’s so much to learn in our field and just having a safe space to come and talk about it and always know that we’re working towards providing the best and most accurate information.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Shalena, anything you want to add?

Dr. Shalena: Yeah. When I heard Linda said, kind of thinking about how she wants to leave, it took me back to where I started. And I think when I was a senior in high school and decided to even major in psychology in college, I had no idea what therapy or assessment, or clinical psychology was. What I was motivated to do was to use psychology to change communities and to make sure that people in all types of communities, no matter where you were from, no matter what your cultural background was, that you had [00:09:00] access to the services that you needed. That’s why it’s important to me because it’s a way to serve communities and make things accessible.

Dr. Sharp: Right. It’s so important. And there’s so much to unpack on this topic. I know that we’ve got a lot to talk about, so I want to jump right into it. This idea of assessment as a form of advocacy, I love this. Let’s start with just why… Well, I’ll turn it over to y’all instead of trying to pretend I know where to start. Where should we start? When we say assessment as a form of advocacy, what does that even mean?

Dr. Linda: Shalena, why don’t you start and I’ll jump in?

Dr. Shalena: Okay. I’m just thinking about all the things that we talk about and even as we were talking through and planning our multicultural assessment conference, I don’t know that [00:10:00] we viewed it as a form of advocacy, but I think it’s so embedded in what we do and that we use our assessment to help our clients access resources.

We use it to empower them. We use it to give them a framework for understanding what they need and then also what they’re really good at and what they can do well and how they’ve navigated a really tough world despite challenges. I view it like a way to champion our clients. I think that assessment sometimes can be really scary and folks think of it as a way to identify deficits and differences and to label them, but I think it also can be a great way to create a story and help someone understand their unique profile and a way that’ll just help them with navigating the world.

Dr. Linda: And you know, Jeremy, when we think about assessment, generally we think about this more detached version of therapy. We’re not with the client. We’re only with them through 3-4 [00:11:00] sessions.

We wanted to expand that view and to make people aware of the fact that even though we might view it in a more detached, equidistant way, the client is not viewing it as such, and their parents are not viewing it as such. They are looking to us to help guide them, to help channel them. I do a lot of work around not just the advocacy piece, but helping people allocate resources. I call it triage.

A lot of my assessment is triage, and that in itself is a form of advocacy. And to help people allocate their resources in terms of dollars. Like this can wait. You can get this for a cheaper than me. And I try to help them in a way that looks at the whole picture of where the family that’s calling me being expansive about how we think about assessment. Advocacy is one of the ways that, Shalena, Tanisha, and I are thinking [00:12:00] about assessment going on. It’s not just a snapshot in time.

To truly help your clients, you should give a complete picture as possible and you should help the child, the adult be able to take that report and advocate for themselves. And then we are the interface between the person who got the report and the school, and the community, and we should help them advocate for themselves wherever the report is going to.

Dr. Sharp: There are a lot of layers there that I hope we can look into as we go along here in this conversation. I wanted to go back to something that you said though that jumped out, which is this concept of triaging and helping folks figure out how to allocate resources. Can you say more about how that fits in?

[00:13:00]Dr. Linda: I reject the notion that a report is a static object that just gets handed to someone, and that’s all we’re supposed to be doing. Even though my practice is growing, I still talk to every person that comes in and I try to give them 15 to 20 minutes to hear what they need, and don’t just sign them up for assessments. In fact, I don’t sign up half the people because once I hear what they have to say, then a lot of times

For people that do not have unlimited resources, I try to help them prioritize what’s first. You just need therapy now. You don’t need to wait until you get your assessment. I try to point them to resources that might fit within their insurance if they can’t afford the fee. And I ask them in a polite way, you, and I’ve talked about that on some of the other shows about whether they would need to add into their insurance. That’s a [00:14:00] benign way of asking them about finances.

Sometimes they have more exigent things that they need other than an assessment. Or they just need to go to a psychiatrist or their primary care or other things other than an assessment. So, I try to be as honest of a broker as I can be because, in the long run, I think it serves everyone. But I also think it serves psychologists for us really try to help the person coming in with what they need the most. And if that’s an assessment, we work in the most ethical way that we can in terms of multicultural and other aspects to give them the best assessment. But I also think a huge part of this advocacy piece is to help direct mentors where they need to go.

Dr. Sharp: I like how [00:15:00] you framed that. I think of our assessment process. We have the pre-appointment time- whatever you call that, maybe it’s triaging or just connecting with the client. And then we have our intake and our testing and our feedback. And there are ways that you can advocate at each step in this process, right? And so we’re talking about the pre-appointment, I suppose right now.

Dr. Linda: Well, it’s all a part though of this process. It’s not just before they, even this idea of advocacy combined with multiculturalism, it’s all a part of the process before the person steps foot in your office: the awareness of your advocacy role, the awareness of your role in terms of being a competent and ethical multicultural practitioner also. It’s just have some awareness about who you talking to, and what their circumstances are. That’s why I give those people 15 minutes to 30 [00:16:00] minutes before we even sign up for the assessment.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. That’s super important. I’m glad that we stumbled into this because I think a lot of clinicians do meet-and-greet or pre-appointment phone calls in some form or fashion. But to really put this fine point on it, hey, this is a time that you can really start advocating for someone. Even if they don’t even end up in your office for an assessment, you can help connect them to the right resources and make sure they’re not getting into something they don’t need. That’s huge.

Dr. Linda: Shalena and I all work with schools and we meet with schools and so we know people at these schools and sometimes we’re interacting with the school even as part of the signup process. So, the advocacy role and the role where we are looking out for the best interest of the client, whether you use the word advocacy or not, starts well before they get into the [00:17:00] door.

Dr. Sharp: Yes. Well, before we dive deep into the other parts of the assessment process, I think it is important to highlight, like y’all pointed out, that advocacy is not something that is optional at this point, right? It is making its way into the APA competencies. I think that’s worth talking about a little bit if you could speak to that.

Dr. Shalena: For sure. I love that the multicultural guidelines when they were updated had this more ecological approach. So they were not just being trained in this one way to work as practitioners, but how cultural competence should be interwoven through everything we do with psychologists; research, consultation, supervision, and teaching.

For me, it’s been awesome to even see training programs start to make this shift. I was fortunate to be a part of Loyola University in Maryland, their clinical [00:18:00] psychology doctoral program just within the last year decided to require an advanced diversity course that’s focused on social justice advocacy that I have the pleasure of teaching and was able to create the syllabus for their first class.

But that was not always the case. That wasn’t elective when I was in training and I wasn’t in training too long ago. There was a required introduction to diversity, so really specifically focus on advocacy was something I elected to do over the summer, whereas now it’s starting to be required in programs or now when I get requests to adjunct, they’re like, we want you to talk about assessment, but specifically how it for culturally diverse folks, how it can be used to advocate for folk. I’m like, folks are using the language. Like you said, it’s becoming slowly a requirement across the board which I’m excited and I think we’re all excited to see.

Dr. Linda: And as much as there is excitement, we would be remiss if we wouldn’t point out the fact that there is resistance.

Dr. Shalena: Oh yeah.

[00:19:00] Dr. Sharp: Of course.

Dr. Linda: I hear this. I just served as president of Maryland Psychological Association and so I got the opportunity to meet lots of people in that role and lots of psychologists. While I’m not speaking as an officer, I will say that you do hear people say, “Well, I don’t have any multiculturalism in my practice and that doesn’t really pertain to me.” The fact of the matter is that you don’t really know that.

When I taught assessment, in every case that we talked about in class, I taught the integration class that they took at the end of the first year at George Washington and the Chicago School of Psychology, and one of the things that I did in every case was like, what are some of the factors about the person’s Sociobiological background that are pertinent? And instead of having a class like what I had when I was in training, that [00:20:00] was an awkward set-aside class on diversity, I think the approach that we are all beginning to use now that embeds this into every topic is a good idea.

But going back to the example, you think that you’re sitting across from someone that doesn’t have any multicultural factors, but you don’t know who they’re married to, what family of origin they have, and whom they work with, where their sensitivities and friendships are, who was an influencer in their life.

And so, we just have to be aware of the fact that our blind spots are our blind spots. And that we need to be aware of and stay open to the fact that people come from various ethnicities that aren’t even appearing to the naked eye because we know the [00:21:00] race, for example, is not a biological construct. It’s a social construct. When you look at Americans’ DNA, White and black Americans have just almost equal amounts of both DNA. So we know that you just don’t know who’s in your office.

But the bigger point which Shalena started us off on and trying to keep me on track with is that the bigger picture is this, it’s not a request anymore. It’s embedded in all of our APA, all of the State cultures that we are to be ethical, culturally competent practitioners are psychology. That is the standard. And it’s not if you want to. It is not if it’s convenient or comfortable.

I talk a lot about it not being comfortable. Jeremy and I have had many on and off-the-record conversations about [00:22:00] comfort and mistakes. Those two things just need to be normalized but it’s something that we are still reckoning with as an organization, and as a body of practitioners. And we all wish we were further along, but we still have ways to go. But that’s the ideal. And that is in fact the requirement.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I think we got the quote for the episode in there. This is not optional. Advocacy is not optional. I know that there are initiatives. In the neuropsychology world, there is a… I of course, forget the name of it now when I need it, but there’s whatever it is, neuropsychology 2050 or something like that where there’s a big push to embed these ideas and just continued work, like you said, not optional.

[00:23:00] I would love to talk about more of our assessment process and how y’all see advocacy coming up at these different stages and different points. If we could maybe use that framework, but we’re starting to lay out in terms of the appointments. We had talked about the pre-appointment time. I wonder if there is more to be said there, or maybe we’re segueing into when folks actually come into our office. You made this point about needing to be aware of just the client’s perceptions of us as clinicians given the history of psychology. I wonder if we might talk a little bit about that?

Dr. Linda: Tanisha, you want to give it a go and I’ll join?

Dr. Tanisha: Sure. There are so many layers when it comes to this because when we think about people’s perceptions of the mental health field, it hasn’t always been positive, especially for communities of color. And now we’re adding something that’s not really [00:24:00] known to people- assessment. A lot of times, your first encounter with assessment was off due to the school system. People take how the school system may have treated their child and they already assume that we’re going to do the same thing.

As you mentioned before, there’s just been so much misuse with testing starting as early as the 1900s and determining mental capacity when it comes to families of people of color, and parents are really aware of their overrepresentation of students of color in special education and underrepresentation and gifted programs. They come in with these predispositions and these assumptions that this is just going to be another label.

There are other things to consider, even if they have been able to gain trust because trust is just one component. There’s is a power difference. There’s some intimidation about the big words and the [00:25:00] decisions that are going to come from these reports. And then the other things that we have to take into consideration is like what are their life circumstances at the moment and how that may impact the assessment process in their openness to assessment.

Those are pretty much some of the trends that come up when you look at the literature on perceptions of mental health services, especially when you’re looking at families’ acceptance of special education services in that classification.

I think one of the things that we struggle with is we have our own perceptions of families before they get in the door. We have two things working against each other- how they perceive us and then how we perceive them.

When I spoke on this last year, I purposely said, let’s go back to the basics and discuss the cognitive triangle and how your thoughts and feelings and behaviors affect it. At some point in graduate school, we all learned that. [00:26:00] And just taking it to a case of, I think my example was, you’re meeting with the family and the parent skips a lot of items on the questionnaire. That happens a lot. And our first thought is, Oh my gosh, they’re not taking this seriously, or do I have to go back and ask them these questions again? And then a lot of times, even research shows that parents are mistaking it as like not being invested- the lack of involvement equals not being invested. And that’s not necessarily true.

So really trying to change a narrative for that specific case is that maybe the parents skipped a lot of items because they’re nervous. Maybe we didn’t do the best job we could with explaining this assessment process. And that’s all the things to consider before they get to us. They have their biases against us, we have ours, and we just need to acknowledge that we’re human. And sometimes this going to affect the assessment process.

Dr. Sharp: Can I jump it real quick? I wanted to follow up on [00:27:00] that piece that you mentioned about us having our own perceptions about the family before we even meet with them. Can you say more about that? Or maybe it’s not before we meet with them, but even just as they start the process, whatever it may be. Can you say more about that, and how that influences our performance?

Dr. Tanisha: Well, I think the assessment process starts with the first interaction regardless of whether or not they are going to proceed with the assessment. And some of the perceptions I believe is that sometimes we misunderstand the family’s intentions. If they’re coming in and saying, Oh, I need all these things, and that’s not necessarily what they mean, It’s like, Oh, they don’t really understand what’s going on.

Or just basic things like a lack of communication. We’re playing phone tag with the person and we’re normal and we’re human. Sometimes we get annoyed in that process. So being aware of that before they come to the door, like whoever you spoke with before, they may not be the same person that you’re speaking with now. And the [00:28:00] other thing is just, and it may be too early to bring this up, but our perceptions and our expectations on how people are going to perform during testing is another big thing because unconsciously we could be suggesting certain answers or giving encouragement.

The early research you’re talking about, like what do you see when you see a black kid? What are the first things that come to your mind when you see a white kid? How you’re interpreting observations in the room could be very important as well.

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely.

Dr. Linda: Jeremy, we see ourselves as helpers and that perception and that thought stay with me regardless of what topic I’m talking about with regard to assessment and or even therapy. We see ourselves as helpers. And even though we are out there talking about unconscious bias, we still see ourselves as [00:29:00] somehow floating above that plane sometimes. And the fact of the matter is everybody has unconscious bias. You and I have talked about this.

This sorting system that we have takes in all these sociological factors and the things that we’ve been fed and it comes out to Tanisha’s scenario where someone comes in and the typical matchup in a special education assessment will be an African American male and a white female. We’ve talked about the numbers too, Jeremy, which is an interest of mine, but you have those perceptions and you have a kid who’s used to being judged as Tanisha just said, and not being judged well. That is already there.

If you look this child in the eye and [00:30:00] even if you’re not using your words, the way you’re speeding along, the way you don’t establish eye contact, you don’t try to establish a rapport. You can convey in many ways that you don’t think people perform well or that you don’t particularly care about them. Those two things underlie I think why a lot of us are, including Tanisha and Shalena and I, not just us three, but other people are out there trying to effect change in this area and in a way that helps people that want to change. And in a way that is where we’re saying, come train, come think with us, come read with us, and giving people the grace to change.

Dr. Sharp: Yes. Well, that’s something that I really appreciate about y’all [00:31:00] is that you mentioned it two times now the openness and the permission to make mistakes and the grace that folks need because I think, just being honest, that’s a big hurdle for a lot of folks. Like, I’m going to do this wrong. I’m going to mess this up. I’m going to say the wrong thing. I’m going to offend someone. And that keeps people stuck. So, I appreciate this philosophy.

I am curious about the ways that you might combat some of these biases that you mentioned. Are there tools or are there things that we can do at that early stage of assessment to strengthen the relationship with our clients or be more of an advocate?

Dr. Tanisha: I think we have to start changing a narrative and just assume [00:32:00] that every family wants to be informed, every family wants to be included, and every family wants the best for their kid. We talk a lot about changing the narrative and just rethinking how we engage in general. Let’s start clean, whatever we may have learned, it can work, but what else do we need to take into consideration when we’re trying to engage and establish rapport? And that requires us to change our narrative and also change our vocabulary.

Dr. Sharp: Yes. Let’s talk about, maybe we move to, not sure if we could start with the interview or if we just jump to the testing process. But I am curious. How does this really come into the room when you’re with someone?

Dr. Tanisha: There are so many ways to engage kids and adults. We’re creative people, so we have to be very creative. And then one of the things that Linda spoke on, and she wrote an [00:33:00] article a few years ago about addressing the needs in the room. And we sometimes forget that maybe that kid hasn’t had anything to eat- they are hungry; basic things like that we take advantage of. We just don’t think of those things.

If you assume that the kid is hungry and even if their family had the opportunity to feed them, maybe they did not eat because they’re anxious about the testing and things like that. So offering snacks and just making sure that the environment itself is welcoming, very warm, and cozy and you walk in and just being very open about it.

And then I think even before they get, there’s also including as many family members as you can and just basically letting them know that I understand that you operate as a system and I want to include all these people from the system. And really taking the opportunity to include the grandparents or include the great aunt or whoever is helping raise a child because that [00:34:00] sometimes that is usually a good indication of the things that you really need to talk to them about.

Just yesterday, I picked a kid. He’s like, “What’s the purpose of this interview? You’re getting in my business.” And I was like, my goal is to get in your business. And he looked to his mom and he’s like, she’s in our business. She was like, yeah, can you give him permission for me to be in your business? So that whole idea of like, I had that connection with the mom of like, yes, you understand that I want to be in your business, but can you now give him permission? And sometimes they can have that conversation with them before they come in the room. That can help you establish rapport.

Dr. Linda: And Tanisha knows that by her work with various cultures that they’re secrets within communities and collectives. In the African-American community, for example, you keep that business in the house. And so, as a clinician who may not be African American or an African American clinician who’s not aware and in touch with [00:35:00] those traditions might come at the kid and they just might shut down. I want to go back to what Tanisha, but just to outline that, it’s just an awareness of how cultures might operate in an insular way to keep outsiders out. And there are reasons for that. Societal reasons why you do keep your business to yourself. But Tanisha, I’m sorry, I interrupted you, but you were talking about the room. And I want you to, I’m taking over for Jeremy, but I want you…

Dr. Shalena: Can I even add something? It happens in the room, but it even happens before when they get in the room. One of my favorite parts of this process is educating people on what assessment even is. How many of us have received a call from someone saying they want testing because someone told them they needed testing, but they have no idea what the testing is going to do? What it entails?

[00:36:00] I think even going back to what Linda started out with, that initial phone call, I’m the same, I’ll do like a 15, 30-minute screening. There’s a little education there. Once they feel like, okay, I need to schedule with this person, they get in the room, I think you still educate them and make them feel comfortable by helping them understand the assessment process-what the purpose is.

That fit is arming in itself just like eliminating the mystery of what this day is about to entail, what we’re going to use this information for. Especially with kids, they’re usually in our office because a parent or a teacher or someone outside of them recommended this. So, I’m really intentional with kids. Like, I know what your mom and your dad want out of this, but what do you want to learn about yourself because I want to answer your questions too.

I think there are ways to build rapport through education and then it also eliminates that stigma around them being here and like Tanisha spoke about being labeled and not trusting. I think a lot of that can be [00:37:00] disarmed by just being upfront about what we’re here to do and what I want you to get out of it and ask your questions. I always start with what questions you have for me. And I do that throughout because we want them to really fully understand the process and be a part of the process.

Dr. Sharp: Yes. Very well said. I think we forget about this stuff sometimes. It’s second nature. We do this every day. We’ve given 50,000 WISCs over the court. We’ve done hundreds of these phone calls, but I got reminded that it’s actually just yesterday. I sat down to do an interview with two parents, and luckily the mom, of course, is very on top of it, and she’s like, ready to go, but then the dad sits down and he’s like, what is this? Why am I here? What is even happening? Are you going to do a blood test?

Dr. Shalena: I always appreciate that person.

Dr. Sharp: No. Let’s talk for a little while, just make sure we’re on the same page.

[00:38:00] What about in the testing room? You’ve mentioned two things, but I love these very concrete ideas that we can take away. So, I’m excited to talk about testing and especially the report as a point of advocacy, but let’s talk about testing. What else are you doing in the room with kids or adults I suppose to be more of an advocate?

Let’s take a break to hear from our featured partner.

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[00:39:00] All right, let’s get back to the podcast.

Dr. Linda: It’s really a family approach. I typically don’t try to do much at first. I try to do an hour and a half of testing and a half an hour of getting to know what the lay of the land is. I want to put myself in that child or adult’s shoes in that first half an hour. But I also am aware of my environment, like just the physical plan. Is it open to people of different cultures? Is it welcoming?

There’s a presenter in this local area that presents about environmental microaggressions where she talks about having an office. One of the examples is that this kid was telling me about an office that he had to go through security to get into, and how he found that to be off-putting. So just for us as clinicians to be aware of our environment: is the [00:40:00] artwork welcoming? Do we have magazines or games that are welcoming to all and that is just eurocentric games?

So, just being aware of that. That’s one of the things that before, I think Tanisha’s probably a good expert on the report, but I really want the scene to be where I can get the most out of the kid. And I always laugh and use humor to say just what Shelene and Tanisha already said, why do you think you’re here? I talked to your mom, I talked to your dad, I talked to your school and why do you think you’re here? And you can get a laugh out of that because sometimes is, “I don’t know.” And you have to talk to them about the process of testing. Sometimes they think that they can never change an answer or [00:41:00] whatever, to get them just relaxed so that I can get what they know and what they can produce- I can get to that.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. Can I go back to something you said and ask a really dumb question and put you on the spot at the same time? Can you give me examples of non-Eurocentric games?

Dr. Linda: I will start with the fact that somebody was telling me that they were completely in the Dungeons & Dragons. I’m not saying that that is completely Eurocentric. Shalena and Tanisha will know more about this than me because I’m too old. That they were just turned off by just this almost like what is it, cosplay of that D&D environment in the room. And also like using, as even it goes to instruments where it’s like the [00:42:00] instruments that you use that have. There are some tests that just use European-sounding names and there are tests that use all kinds of different names and some people say that they prefer to Roberts as opposed to the Thematic Perception Test because they have Hispanic, Caucasian, and African American type characters. It’s just an awareness of the fact that you don’t have a homogenous client base, whether they ostensibly look homogenous or not.

Dr. Sharp: Right. I like that. Thanks for indulging in that question. That really got me thinking about the games in our waiting area.

Now, you were saying something that I wanted to follow up on too, just as far as the way that you introduce testing to [00:43:00] kids. At least my understanding of stereotype threat and things like that is like the words that we say and the way that we describe and orient someone to the task makes a huge difference. So, even like the laughing and the joking and the like, Hey, this could be fun and I bet you’re going to do great, and things like that, those little things can go a long way versus just moving straight into the clinical aspects and things will be hard. Some things will be easy.

Dr. Linda: One small thing that I’ll just add in and we can move on, is sometimes like, just being sensitive in that first session to who the kid is across from you. If you know, like they’re turning the page like slow, like they weren’t sure. And you could just say, why did you hesitate? Or you could look at it again if you want. Just giving [00:44:00] that child who might be shy, who might have fear for judgment, the opportunity to be expansive.

Dr. Sharp: Ooh, I like that. The opportunity to be expansive.

Dr. Tanisha: And there are so many kids that don’t want to tell you the wrong answers, so they don’t want… It’s that hesitation. They don’t want to guess, but they also don’t want to tell you that they don’t know. Just reminding them that there are going to be things on here that you’re not supposed to know and they’re going to be things that come very easy.

I find this a lot with anxious kids who want to please you. Just that whole idea of even something as simple as taking a break, like just suggesting, Hey, you look a little tired, would you like to take a break? I know sometimes I need to stretch my legs to normalize this whole idea of, Hey, I’m not the only one feeling uncomfortable. I may need a break. Suggesting some things that they may need opens the door like, Oh, I can speak up for myself in here. They are going to listen to me.

[00:45:00] And I think sometimes we don’t necessarily honor the silence that we have in testing because it’s so interactive. So you say one thing, they say one thing back, and then just honoring that silence and just looking at those nonverbal cues can give you so much information on how to proceed with that kid. And I think you mentioned joking when you’re coming in the room- sometimes people overdo it. You have to find a balance of like…

Dr. Linda: be careful with that too.

Dr. Tanisha: Yeah, exactly. You overdo it and you don’t want to seem like you’re just too woke. I guess that’s the best way because kids read into that like, yeah, you don’t have to prove it. They’ll figure it out. When you take it too far, it doesn’t feel genuine. And like, how do I trust someone who doesn’t feel genuine in a room and you’re stuck in the room with these people for hours? So from a client’s perspective, it’s like, can we try this again in a week? And they may not speak up and say that, but that’s [00:46:00] really where the nonverbals and paying attention to those things are very important.

Dr. Sharp: That’s great. We had a one-off. A clinician one time got told, the kid luckily was just super straightforward and he was like, “You’re like a clown kindergarten teacher. Can you stop?” And she was like, “Okay”.

Dr. Linda: That is not a compliment.

Dr. Sharp: She was overdoing it.

Let’s talk about the report a little bit or a lot. I love this idea. How does the report become a tool for advocacy as well?

Dr. Shalena: The report is one of my favorite parts too, Jeremy, because that’s our product. That’s what all of this is for. I know one of the reasons I was drawn to assessment is because I really enjoy writing. I used to love creative writing when I was in graduate school. And to me, I get to channel that and like creating like [00:47:00] a story for someone.

One of the best compliments I received from families, something that makes me feel like, okay, I do what I came to do was when they are like, “This sounds exactly like who we are. This sounds exactly like my kid.” And that’s not just reporting out numbers, because numbers can be anyone, but I think it’s the story and how we make sense of that data especially when there’s a kid who’s coming in or an adult that’s coming in that is so used to talking about their challenges and their deficits to be able to create a balanced report that analyses all aspects of them and they can walk away from that feeling empowered and feeling like they can use it to access what they need.

I think that’s the ultimate testament to this being a form of advocacy: that product and what they can do with it and it representing who they are and being something that I think even too just changes the narrative in their relationship to mental health. I’ve had some people who had bad experiences with therapists and then coming [00:48:00] to assessment changed their view and made them more open to going back to therapy or they felt like they had more direction for their therapy because of the assessment process in the report. So, I think there are just so many ways to use the report as a form of advocacy. Those are just a few that come to mind so far.

Dr. Tanisha: And we’re giving them the language. I think most families when I ask them what type of things they’re hoping to gain from assessment, they say, I want to know what’s wrong with my kid and how to best help them. And for me, best help them means I want to know how to advocate for my kid. Now we’re giving them a report that has the correct language for them to be able to say, well, my kid needs this because of that.

Some parents will come in, it’s like, well, I was told that they’re processing speed is low, but what does that really mean? So, giving them the right language to have the conversations outside of our office, so many parents [00:49:00] say, they’re just very happy and pleased with that outcome. And I feel like also using the report, sometimes we’re the first group of people that are really digging into and asking them a lot of questions. And sometimes it’s just great to have all the information in one place, even helps parents understand the timeline of what’s going on and what could have led up to these things and just having all the information in one big place.

I know we go back and forth about not having reports that are too long or using too much jargon, but sometimes just having that in one place is helpful for the parents, and then they can determine like, Okay, when we did this two years ago, this is how, and that they can continue to advocate for their kid through the report.

And then also the one thing that comes up a lot is really the type of recommendations that we make because not all recommendations are great for every family. Prime example. The one thing that came up, I was talking [00:50:00] to a family, and the recommendation was something like, Oh, get them extracurricular activities. And the therapist specifically recommended and it was documented like, Oh, we recommend Girl Scouts. Well, Girl Scouts is tough because this family doesn’t have the money to favor Girl Scouts. Something simple as that can be off-putting to a parent because now they feel like, well, the specialist recommended this, and I can’t provide it.

Just making sure you’re giving recommendations that are actually feasible for the family and we can help like, Oh yeah, your kid has a special skill in this area. This is how we can use it, and this is the type of activity they can do. But just making sure it’s something that’s actually obtainable so they don’t feel defeated and as if they can’t best advocate for their kid.

Dr. Linda: I was going to say that when I’m in there with them, I do a lot of teenagers and young adult testing, the ones that are trying to individuate and go to college and stay away and not boomerang [00:51:00] as I call it.

One of the things that I’m trying to do in the testing process is to have the child and the teenager to see what their strengths and weaknesses are because if I buy in, that’s one thing. Getting my 19-year-old to buy in or my 23-year-old, my actual 23-year-old to buy in is a whole other thing. So, I’m trying to get them to see their strengths and their challenges. Jeremy, I’m trying to build them up because a lot of times they’re coming into the environment as someone with the identified problem, the identified “lazy person” in the family, which I absolutely hate as the terminology, but they’re identified.

To get them to understand that, they’ll say that they’re getting a C in math, but then I’ll do all of the math-related nonverbal tests and I’m like, what’s happening [00:52:00] here is that you do have the underlying cognitive skills to do well at math. Now we have to just figure out why you’re not doing well at math because then it’s an executive functioning issue. But to try to get them to understand the inner workings of their own minds and also start to build them up. And then as Shalena just talked about, set the foundation for the next help if I’m sending them off to therapy to give them the foundation for that.

I have to say one thing about recommendations. Yes, absolutely be aware of the fact that everybody can’t afford a $150 executive functioning Coach. Jeremy and I have had this joke. It’s like we conversely afford the services that we recommend ourselves as a profession. But also I had this theory that if your child is in a setting, mostly there are 3 or 4 [00:53:00] points that you’re going to get from a teacher or the administration of a school. And if you have 6,000 recommendations, then you are burying the lead of what you’re really trying to say.

I always tell the parents, and I always try to have 3 or 4 things to ask the work with the teacher on. Avid help as a Tanisha, such an expert in, and having the parents go in the first day of school and talking to the teachers about those 3 or 4 things every year. You understand your kid, if you keep him busy, he’ll do his work. If you check his planner, he’ll be good. To really hone in and narrow down.

The other thing that I really don’t like in reports is [00:54:00] when the clinicians say, read a book. I mean, you could say one book, but if there’s like six book suggestions, to me it’s like you’re not done your job to lay out what the parents should be doing. Reading books is just a proxy for that.

Dr. Sharp: That’s such a good point. It’s something that I’ve been guilty of too. I’m like, look at all these resources. I am giving you so many resources.

Dr. Linda: We’ve learned this by trial And error Jeremy, but we’re not seeing this from on high. This is all from me doing this and Tanisha, and Shalena doing this for decades combined and having those reports and then learning from your next supervisor. Why do you have six reports here? I remember six books. I remember a supervisor saying to me, I had “Repeat the grade” and she was like, “For what?” Repeating the grade should always have a [00:55:00] purpose other than just repeating.

Dr. Sharp: Sure.

Dr. Shalena: Sometimes the parents don’t know why the kid was held back.

Dr. Linda: Yeah. But I’m just saying, just saying repeat the grade, unless you’re going to do something different, unless you’re going to add in a whole bunch of reading support, what’s going to happen in second 5th grade- the second time they go to 5th grade. So just the idea of being cognizant of your recommendations, who they’re going to, the school system that they’re going to.

A lot of us in this part of the country and you’re part too, I’m sure we’re testing public school kids with 30-something kids in the class and we’re testing private school kids with 12 kids in the class. And those are very big differences.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Well, I like that we’re talking about this. It’s just a good time to circle back to, I think something that’s come up on the podcast before, which is that [00:56:00] we get lured into this trap of providing a lot of recommendations thinking it’s going to be more helpful, but I think the research is people will implement maybe 2 to 3 recommendations from our report, if that. And so, you got to be really deliberate in choosing what fits the family, both economically, time-wise, and effort-wise, and hope that that aligns with what the kid actually needs. You do have to be deliberate about it.

Dr. Linda: And thinking about what services can people get on their insurance? What can they get from that retired teacher who lives next door? We just have to be creative. I try to give people different things at different price points. You need SAT tutoring. The local community college has it for $300 whereas unfortunately, I pay the SAT [00:57:00] coach $150 an hour.

Dr. Sharp: Yes.

Dr. Linda: I don’t how many hours. But everybody can’t afford that.

Dr. Sharp: That’s such a good point.

Dr. Shalena: But that’s why I think it’s so important like we’ve been saying to have those conversations up front to know the family, the person that you’re working with, so that you can give those very intentional, individualized recommendations.

I don’t know if we’ll have time to cover like I give feedback sessions. I don’t just give a report, but I schedule a time to go through my report with the family. So if there is a recommendation where they’re like, Oh, we tried, that didn’t work, or I don’t know where to find that, then in the moment, I’m giving an alternative so that if you do list something that doesn’t fit, there is an opportunity. And even if you can’t have a formal feedback session and talk to them directly, leave that line of communication open so they can reach out and ask follow-up questions about what you’ve suggested so that you can make more appropriate recommendations if you [00:58:00] missed a step because there are tons of things. We won’t hit the mark every time. There are tons of things out here. I think we want to give as many options as possible. Not all of it will land, but I think as long as we’re open to doing extra work and being responsive, we can figure out what works and what fits.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Good point. Well, I want to talk a little bit about the conference, of course, which is coming up. And before we do that, I think it’s important to highlight, we talked about the idea of doing your own work in order to be a good advocate. And I would love to spend a little bit of time there. Linda, do you want to start us off in terms of what this means and where would we even start to try to do our own work?

Dr. Linda: First of all, I want to just say to you, thanks because when I started, you taught me this. When you first started doing The Testing Psychologist, you encouraged me to go deeper and farther. And so I want to say thanks for that. But [00:59:00] my thinking has evolved around this issue since we’ve even been talking. And it gets us to this point of we’re all humans and we’re all in various phases of development. And to be a good clinician is to know that. And to know that there are various areas.

I shared with some people the other day. I grew up in a religious home. And so, I’ve had to be very aware and very deliberate in my training on LGTBQ issues because I grew up in a very fundamentalist home. And to be aware and cognizant of what I brought to the table vis-à-vis those issues and vis-à-vis those clients, whether they be therapy or assessment.

To know and do some assessment, Jeremy, there are tools in place, there are self-assessment tools where you can test yourself multiculturally. I will make those available to you so you could attach to the [01:00:00] podcast, but just do an assessment about where you are. If you get feedback, take that feedback seriously. Listen to what the person is saying to you. Think about the courage that it takes for someone to give you feedback when the pie differential is so different in a therapy setting.

You have to do your own reading, you have to do your own thinking, you have to do your own podcast listening. I have learned so much about this profession from just listening to others and I think about culture. A good supervisor.

Someone was asking, “What books can you read?” I’m like, they’re great and useful, but I think that a lot of times even reading the book, we still are reading it from the fact, Oh, they’re talking about Jeremy. They’re not really talking about me. And so, if you have a case that you’re struggling with and you have Dr. Drummond as your consultant, [01:01:00] then you could like say, Linda, I had somebody, can I consult with you about the case?

People know that I know about parents high-powered parents in racial, ethnic, and conflictual situations in high academic environments. And so, with the clinician, we walk through the meetings with the parents and we walk through the advocacy in the schools. And I think that it worked out very well. The case turned out well, but I commend a therapist for seeking some supervisory help and some consultation.

One of the things I like about, your Facebook page, The Testing Psychologist, is that people offer their consultation services. And then I don’t mean the ones that they talk about online. I’m talking about I need a consult on this. [01:02:00] Can someone help me? I think that that’s one of the more useful things because we got a lot of people on that listserv that know a lot about various different things. But I think seeking supervisory help and always being open to the fact that you can learn, you can grow, and then there is no substitute for actually being around populations. And you’re interacting with them. 

So, training plus your own growth process, learning process, and knowing, and I don’t want to be negative, but I want to say this, you have to sometimes know if a case is not for you. If in the best interest of the client, because of your own internal processes, this may be a case that you need to refer. The client’s interest should come first and not our own. And [01:03:00] I’ve made that call on two cases where I did not think that I would be the best person. And it was hard.

Dr. Sharp: It’s a tough call to me.

Dr. Linda: That’s what I mean when I do the self-work, it has to be a continual process and we need to just admit that. And I think that we’re at the admitting stage, in our profession still. There are people that are beyond that. If you’re listening to me, I’m not condemning everyone but we do need to understand that. Again, cultural competency is the ethical standard.

Dr. Sharp: Right. It’s not optional. I keep coming back to that. Well, you said something I want to drill down on just a little bit, which is being open to feedback, which is challenging in many cases. [01:04:00] Do you have any thoughts around how to navigate that a little easier? Maybe giving and receiving feedback. Receiving’s hard, but maybe there’s some guidance in giving feedback as well.

Dr. Linda: I think when you psycho-educate yourself a little bit about the nature of the defense, and then a bias is that the need for us to appear in our own minds to be perfect and good is what drives a lot of the defense.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Linda: And if you can say as this one book that I read says, if you could accept yourself as not perfect and all good, but good-ish, then you can see yourself in a little bit of a different way and more of a growth mindset.

When someone gives you feedback, I use this example of where this young woman [01:05:00] said to me, I’m really upset with my friends because they want to use the she, I told people to use she and their pronouns and they’re always using she. What she wanted from me was to say that oh, yeah, defining yourself in this world is really difficult and I see that you’re trying to. She wanted me to affirm the fact that she was having difficulties. And I said, Well, why would you give them the she option which was the completely wrong interpretation for that moment even though it seems logical when you come from a dynamic perspective. So she checked me immediately. She said to me, Dr. I’m not trying to hear that. I was really taking it back. I suppressed [01:06:00] the urge to be defensive. And I said, “Okay. You weren’t trying to hear that. What were you trying to hear?” I wanted you to be empathetic.

To just understand the process that our clients, whether they be testing or therapy are going through, and that they want affirmation sometimes and they want acceptance from you helps with taking the critique. Sometimes if you’re not in a position where you can hear, then you may need to take a break. Some discussions can’t be had on that day. And so you say, well, Jeremy, I heard what you said. I want to think about it, but let’s set a date that we can talk again. That way, you can let some time pass, and the heat can settle and strike when the iron is cold a little bit and you can think about it. [01:07:00] Think about the processes that I just took you through with my client. It took me a day or so, and by the next session, I was to have that conversation with her.

Dr. Sharp: I like that. I don’t know many folks who can respond perfectly to that thing right at the moment.

Dr. Tanisha: Linda mentioned dialogue and sometimes we are not even at the place sometimes where there’s a dialogue about what’s going on. I think part of normalizing the process is talking about it. And I think a lot of times, like sometimes we’re at conferences and things, clinicians are really hard on each other. Like, how dare you drop the ball?

Let’s kinder to each other because in that space, whatever you’re saying to me, it could be really great feedback, but I know how you typically provide feedback and you’re not going to be really receptive to it. So let’s start by being kind to each other so when we do provide the feedback, then [01:08:00] it’s received a lot better. And sometimes it’s still probably not going to be received well. But I think really confronting people in a way where it’s saying like, this is not okay. And I can’t speak for all clinicians of color but I’m tired.

So we can’t educate everyone. We can’t be an example for everyone. We ask for help from everyone. So this is not an issue just for clinicians of color. Everyone needs to help out. And I think people tip-toe around the idea of don’t misperceive the idea. Like if you’re correcting someone, that does not mean you’re calling them racist. And I think sometimes those two are correlated. Like, that person corrected me, and now they’re thinking I’m racist. That’s not what we’re saying. We’re just saying, Hey, maybe you should use a different term. Maybe you should rethink the way you approach this.

I think that’s what everyone’s fear is being called racist. And so we tiptoe around the subject. [01:09:00] We don’t want to have the dialogue, we don’t confront people, we don’t correct people. And then we’re like, Oh, well then somebody else will handle it. And then instead of correcting them at the moment, they have gone out and then committed another microaggression to a client and now affecting their perception of what that service may consist of and what it may look like. So, I plea for help. Just help us.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I think that’s awesome. And maybe that’s a nice segue too to this whole conference idea- bringing people together to do this work so that the word is spread and at least I think that’s maybe part of what we’re trying.

Dr. Linda: Doing this work is a double-edged sword. Tanisha highlighted it perfectly. I definitely wanted to, particularly in the aftermath of George Floyd, I wanted to really be a part of a [01:10:00] solution as opposed to the person who’s just at home or complaining. And I wanted to open a dialogue in a way where people felt that they could come in and listen and change and grow. It is true that it is not entirely people of color or the people that are in the minoritized culture to do the work, but by the same token, we want others to feel that they can have an environment where they can listen, learn, and grow.

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about this, and I just don’t think that this shame cycle, this angry cycle is working. We have to have ways where people can come and learn and grow. And so, this is the idea behind the Multicultural Assessment Conference. We want a more equitable and just [01:11:00] treatment of all people who are seeking services in psychology. We firmly stand for that. But we also want to do it in a way that promotes growth.

And so, the way that, and I’m going to let Shalena talk to you more about this, the way that we curate this conference is that we try to come together around certain themes and we were trying to hear from as many aspects of culture as we can. So this is for not just people that test and diagnose. You can have an interest in a population and just be doing the treatment. We try to curate the conference around this idea of, among these many multi-cultures, there is a need to promote understanding. And we are just getting started. We’re figuring out, this is our second conference. We’re likely going to do some training this year.

[01:12:00] We’re going to try to figure out how we can best utilize these skills. But as we told you before, Jeremy, it’s a huge undertaking. The conference is from October 13th through the 15th. We have on the 14th a social component where we’re going to be at this local place around the district of Maryland, Virginia, called Bus Boys and poets. We’re having free photo headshots. So, it’s a funky place. We’re trying to bring people together. We don’t know what the future’s going to bring. Covid is still there but the conference this year is from October 13th through the 15th, and I am so excited. We just locked in our last speakers yesterday.

Shalena is going to tell us all about that.

Dr. Sharp: I love it.

Dr. Shalena: Yeah. I think one of my favorite [01:13:00] parts of the planning process, which is very exhausting and time-consuming, it’s so worth it, is us putting our heads together about what are some of the topics that other professionals that we want to hear more about. What are some of those areas. We just talked about doing your own work personally and professionally should not be an option. Just like if a new assessment came out, we would read up on it and teach ourselves how to administer and score it correctly, we need to always be honing our skills and expanding our knowledge.

Thursday is the first day of our conference, October 13th. So that’s just our welcome and just painting the landscape. We’re going to have a panel of some amazing folks to just talk about trends in multicultural assessment. Everything is virtual. All of the sessions are virtual with the exception of our in-person networking, which is just for social purposes, but the panel will be streamed. We’ll have Linda moderating that. And I don’t know, Linda, if you wanted to share anything more about that, but that’s setting the tone for [01:14:00] our conference, how we’re kicking it all.

Dr. Linda: I will say, two words. We have a superstar panel. Dr. Monica Williams just came out with a racial trauma scale. Kevin Nadal who’s a huge giant in the area of microaggression. Ann Reyes is a giant, she’s still working on her doctoral, but a giant in the area of race.

Dr. Sharp: She’s amazing. She’s been on the show.

Dr. Linda: Yes. We have a huge panel. I can’t wait to show you that. We’re taping that, so it’ll be shown, but that’s the lead-off on Wednesday night. So go ahead and say Thursday night.

Dr. Shalena: Then Friday morning again the conferences for folks working in all clinical capacities. Our first session is actually on centering anti-racism and counseling with African American men, well, Dr. Joly Markowitz and Dr. Bill Johnson two amazing psychologists who I saw give a version of this training [01:15:00] for another organization and the way they walk you through a diagnostic evaluation, I was like, we got to get them for our conference. So, I’m really excited for them to be kicking off Friday.

Peter Isquith will be presenting on assessing deaf, or hard-of-hearing students in a mainstream setting. Really talking about unique cultural communication risk factors. Again, I think a population and a topic we don’t talk enough about. So excited to see that. Then we’re going to have like a little lunch and learn, so we’re going to ask people to bring their lunch and tune in.

We have Dr. Ben-Porath who’ll be talking about keeping up with changing demographics and the evolution of the MMPI normative samples. That is so huge. I think beyond the practical application of assessment, we want to talk about the measures and norming and how these scores and standardization happen. Then we have our very own Dr. Linda McGhee talking about the assessment of bipolar disorder within a multicultural context. Linda has published on this topic, so she’s [01:16:00] bringing it to, I think she’s going to give us the exclusive delivery of a continuing education workshop on this topic. We’re excited.

And then Jeremy, last year you blessed us with just talking about the business of assessment, so we wanted to keep that going. So we have two sessions that are going to run concurrently just based on where people are and what they need in terms of their business. One session will be focused on building an assessment in clinical practice with Dr. Stephanie Wolf and Dr. Devore Lucas. And then we’re going to have Michael Fulwiler who’s a marketing expert who’s going to talk about marketing 101 and just how to position your practice for success. Those will run together. So depending on if you’re someone who’s just starting out building a practice, you may want to go to one. If you’re far along and you’re like, I need to maximize on this marketing piece, you can join Michael’s session. I think there will be a little something for everyone. And the next Friday evening, we’re going to end with our networking event, as Linda mentioned.

Saturday we’re kicking off the morning with a psychological assessment of gender diverse [01:17:00] youth and their families. We have Becca Hofrichter and Dr. Jessica Rothstein will be leading that session. I think that’s our only two-hour session. They said they needed two hours, so that’s going to be a big one. I think it’s an important topic and of course, we always want to make sure we cover across the lifespan. So being able to talk about youth in particular that Saturday morning is important.

Tanisha will be leading a session moderating a panel on report dos and don’ts. So just having lots of professionals talk about report writing and then we’ll wrap up the day after Dr. Erin Andrews providing culturally competent testing and persons with disabilities, and a session on self-care from Dr. Bernasha Anderson, who’s going to talk about who heals the healers and talk about holistic practices in mental health for professionals. That’s our lineup.

Dr. Sharp: That is a stellar lineup. I am so sad to miss this conference this year.

Dr. Shalena: We going to miss you.

Dr. Sharp: You got to do a better plan. You got to plan that man-dead weekend of yours around not something [01:18:00] else.

Dr. Sharp: I know. I got to tell my guy friend. We got to reschedule this weekend in the coming years.

Dr. Linda: What I wanted to mention briefly is that Tanisha’s moderating a panel with a lot of professionals. We’ve even solicited and going to continue to solicit questions about what we want to cover from The Testing Psychologist Facebook page.

Dr. Sharp: Sure.

Dr. Linda: And Tanisha, someone suggested that we talk about the use of race and ethnicity within the testing report. My issue has come up a few times. Use of gender pronouns if the parents and the child disagree. But Tanisha’s moderating Dr. Marilyn Menteiro is on there from the MIDGAS. And Tanisha you could say more because it’s your panel.

Dr. Tanisha: No, it’s fine. I was letting you finish up. We’re excited about this panel because this is a conversation that we’re frequently having in our different groups about [01:19:00] how to approach the report writing process. We have various people and then we’re hoping that people will come with questions, but we will have it pretty structured and have some questions that we were going to really focus on.

We also have Dr. Christine Merola and who is a clinical psychologist at Kennedy Krieger. And she’s going to be talking about different things. She’s doing the assessment reporting process. And then also we wanted to give time for each individual to talk about something that they feel is very important for their particular population. It’ll be question and answer, but also giving them the opportunity to discuss something that we may overlook because we’re not as educated on that population. That’s one thing I’m like, what else can I learn that I may overlook when I’m writing reports?

Dr. Sharp: That sounds like an incredible panel. I think there’s so much discussion about how to write [01:20:00] good reports and looking specifically through this multicultural lens is going to be so helpful.

Dr. Tanisha: You mentioned that you’re not able to attend it live, but we will be offering after the conference again, the opportunity to purchase. I think we’re trying to change it to a home study. If you’re unable to join us live, there will be opportunities for you to still learn and earn credit. But the first thing we want to say is to register for our conference, you can find us on Eventbrite. Right now the price is $250. The early bird rate is, I think at beginning of September. So that has expired. So for the rest of the duration up until the conference, the price will be $250.

If you look us up on Eventbrite, you can find how to register. You can also go to our website, themaccommunity.com. There’s a link there to register. There’s information about the various [01:21:00] things that we’re going to be doing and things we’ve also done in the past. You can find us on our Facebook page, The Mac Community, with the multicultural session community. We have a private page, we have a public page, and we’re always jumping into conversations on the other pages on Facebook.

I’m sorry, Shalena, do we have a final count of the number of CEs or? I know that’s been coming up.

Dr. Shalena: I don’t have a final count, but around 10 to 12 CEs.

Dr. Tanisha: Yeah, so there will be CEs offered. I know this is a question that’s come up in our various chats. You will be able to earn some credits for that.

Dr. Sharp: That’s great. And just to be super clear, for folks who are listening and are interested, which I’m guessing is going to be a lot of people, is it virtual or is there an in-person option or is it all just meant to be virtual and live streamed?

Dr. Tanisha: It’s all virtual. And the only in-person option is the networking event On Friday night. It’s all virtual. 

Dr. Linda: I’m [01:22:00] not sure if you’re asking… So it’s all virtual. We have two taped sessions but the rest of it will be live somewhere. Some of the people will be live somewhere, but it’s virtual this year. And then we’ll just see.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. That’s how things have been going the past two years. We just got to roll with it. Well, this has been awesome. Y’all are such amazing people and clinicians. The conference last year got such rave reviews. There was a lot of discussion in the Facebook groups afterward and during. I know people loved it. I’m so glad that y’all were willing to come on and not just talk about the conference, but these important aspects of assessment. I think people take a lot away from it. I wholeheartedly recommend that folks go out and register for this conference here and well at the time of recording, about a month. So you got a little bit of time. But yeah, [01:23:00] do it. It’s great.

Thank you all so much for coming on and chatting with me. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Tanisha: Thank you for having us.

Dr. Shalena: Thank you. This is awesome.

Dr. Sharp: Hey, thanks as always for listening to y’all. I really appreciate it. I hope that you enjoyed this episode and we’ll check out the Multicultural Assessment Conference. Like I said, the links are in the show notes. It was a really cool experience last year and super bummed that I can’t attend this year, but hopefully, some of y’all can. So check that out and show notes and I will catch you next time.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website is intended for informational and [01:24:00] educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here, and similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.

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