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[00:00:00] Dr. Sharp: 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.

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Hey, welcome back everybody. Glad to be here with my guest, who is a return guest to the podcast. Always honored when that happens. Dr. Geremy Grant is now an assistant professor of school psychology at Alfred University, formerly with Riverside Publishing. [00:01:00] He completed his master’s and doctoral degrees at Teachers College, Columbia University, and he has a passion for social justice and desires to bridge racial, ethnic, and cultural gaps in education.

You might recognize Geremy’s name from a previous podcast episode when he came on and talked about self-care, self-compassion, and burnout among school psychologists and psychologists in general.

Geremy is back today to chat with me about applications of stereotype threat in the work that we do in assessment. So we dive into a brief review of the background of stereotype threat as a theory and where it came from, what it is, definitions, and so forth. And then we get to some of the more applied components of how it shows up in the work that we do, [00:02:00] and more importantly, some strategies to combat stereotype threat, address it, and hopefully lessen the impact as we work with our clients.

Before we get to the episode, as always, you are invited to check out The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups. The next cohort is ramping up both, not both, it’s all three. Its intermediate, advanced, and beginner groups will be launching the last week of February or the first week of March. I think each of those groups may have 1 or 2 spots left. So if you’re interested and you’ve been holding out, or maybe you have a New Year’s resolution to get more support and have more accountability to put those big ideas into practice for your business, it could be a good option for you. You can book a pre-group call at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting, and I will jump on the phone with you and figure out [00:03:00] if a group could be a good fit.

All right, let’s get to my conversation with Dr. Geremy Grant.

Hey, Geremy, welcome back.

[00:03:22] Dr. Geremy: Hi, Jeremy. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you again. 

[00:03:30] Dr. Sharp: Yeah. I’m super grateful to be talking to you again. It’s always an honor when folks want to come back.

Let me see. You’ve changed things since the last time we talked, right? You’re at a university now instead of Riverside, huh? 

[00:03:44] Dr. Geremy:  Yeah, that’s correct. I was working at Riverside as one of their clinical assessment support experts. And since the last time we spoke, I secured an appointment with Alfred University in upstate New York as an assistant professor of school psychology.

[00:04:00] Dr. Sharp: Okay. Was that a big transition to go from corporate to university? It seems like those are pretty different roles. I don’t know. How’s that been? 

[00:04:08] Dr. Geremy: Yeah. The role I had previously was more so I was like the in-house psychologist. I always joke, it wasn’t for the staff that worked for Riverside, it was more so for the customers calling in who were psychologists and special education teachers. They were using a lot of the tests and evaluations that Riverside published, and they often would have questions about how to interpret data or administer tests. And I was there for that sort of support.

Coming here, I was fortunate enough to be able to teach the foundational testing course in the fall semester. So that translated really well with what I had already been doing at Riverside- training people in assessment. And then I got to do some cultural diversity courses as well in therapy. So things that I’m familiar with and I’ve always wanted to teach, so, I definitely [00:05:00] am honored to have this opportunity.

[00:05:02] Dr. Sharp: That’s great. Gosh, when I think about even the times that I’ve taught adjunct, that is such a large amount of work to develop a course the first time. I was thinking about you and what that might be like. It’s quite a leap.

[00:05:23] Dr. Geremy: It is a bear. We started the semester on the 17th of this month. And that’s only two weeks and I’m still in the throws of prepping. It’s a lot but I think knowing what the end game is and knowing that I’m supporting the future of the field, I think that that gives me enough meaning to push through when you get bogged down with other things.

[00:05:46] Dr. Sharp: That’s a good way to look at it. The higher purpose, the higher meaning.

[00:05:50] Dr. Geremy: Exactly. 

[00:05:51] Dr. Sharp: Nice. Well, we’re talking about stereotype threat today. I’ll lead with a question that I always lead with [00:06:00] which is, why spend your time on this? Why care about this out of all the things that you could do in our field?

[00:06:08] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, sure. I think I’ll answer this a little twofold. Thinking about both personal experience and more of the on-paper why this should matter. I’ll start with the personal experience piece. Being a black male in psychology, I am somewhat of a double minority. We know that for the most part, psychology is pretty female depending on the subfield, and it’s mostly white.

Going through my training, I would often have experiences where I might be the only person of my background to represent the group. And during presentations and other skills-based evaluations, I would feel this sort of pressure- not the pressure where you normally feel like, oh, I have to do a presentation, I’m nervous, not that kind of pressure. More so, I’m worried that if I make a mistake, I [00:07:00] might reinforce somebody’s thoughts about black people, for example. I might reinforce a stereotype that someone might have about black people. I might confirm that it’s true.


Throughout undergrad, which is when I really first started to experience some of that, it was tough because I didn’t have really a vernacular to understand what that experience was. I was fortunate in undergrad, my undergrad research advisor was a school psychologist. She was an African American woman and she did a lot of work in stereotypes, and this came up and it was almost like that aha moment of, oh, it’s not something wrong with me. This is actually a phenomenon that is researched quite often.

And that helped me to realize, this isn’t just me. This is something that happens to a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons. So it definitely normalized things for me, but that personal experience definitely played a big role in why I’m so invested in this topic.

[00:07:59] Dr. Sharp: I think that’s true for a lot of the work that many of us do. There’s that joke that we get into the field to heal ourselves and that kind of thing. There’s a little, maybe a similar facet of that same phenomenon. I was thinking, I’m curious if you’re willing to talk about it a little bit more, how that landed with you? You said that it was validating. I could also see having any number of other reactions, I don’t even know, what other reactions may have come up. I’m curious if there was more to that and if it felt heavier if there’s weight to carry with that if you’re willing to dive into it a little bit. 

[00:08:44] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, of course. I think always with the relief aspect of something, you also have, like you said, that weight, almost that frustration of man, that also is pretty terrible that this is something that people do [00:09:00] experience.

I think for me, I was also frustrated at the fact that why does this even occur, to begin with? I went to that point, like, there has to be a way we can keep this from happening. So that way this experience isn’t something people feel.

And I think that frustration also is what spurs me to focus on this area so much. Knowing that I personally experienced it, I know what it feels like and that pushes me to want to make sure people know about it. And hopefully, at least see the utility and understand what it is. So when you’re testing students and maybe you might say something inadvertently that might make them feel threatened, for example, you can understand what the implications of that are.

I know for most people, if you don’t know about a certain concept or variable that can affect your assessment, that’s not going to be something you’re going to look for because you don’t know what you don’t know. 

[00:10:00] Dr. Sharp: Yeah. That makes sense to me. I think that was my reaction. Hearing you tell that story, I was like, I would be so mad that this is even a thing that I have to worry about.  I’ll let you go. You called it frustrating, right? Go ahead. 

[00:10:17] Dr. Geremy: I was just going to share, I think aside from personal experience, I always think back, sometimes people will say if it doesn’t personally affect me, why should it matter to me? There’ll always be people like that. And I always go back to the idea of, well, if you haven’t personally experienced it, also thinking about your role as a psychologist and how we’re supposed to be able to work effectively with all people regardless of what their cultural background is.

So thinking about APA, thinking about NASP for school psychologists, they’ve indicated numerous times that cultural competence is extremely [00:11:00] important. I think now even more so than ever with a lot of the ways in which we’re starting to be more open about talking about privilege and oppression and things like that, I think now is a really good time to make up even further push to encourage cultural competence because the more culturally competent we are, the more we understand about these variables, the more we can make sure our assessment is as, how would I put this, is as not just comprehensive, but also considerate as possible.

I know we do comprehensive assessments, but are those assessments considerate of the diversity that this client is bringing into the room when you’re working with them? And if your assessment isn’t, is the data you’re getting from that assessment really going to be that accurate? Is it really going to be the most valid? Maybe not if you’re not considering the full context of who that student is or that client is. 

[00:11:53] Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. You’ve hit on two really important components of like, basically [00:12:00] there’s, why is this important? Like you said, why should we care? Some people don’t care, but I think we should care.

Well, and for a long time, I think we have relied on, gosh, there are so many layers here. We’ve relied more heavily on the data than we should, right? It is just like, this is testing, this is the data that we get, and that’s what drives our conclusions and recommendations and so forth. But I think over time there’s been some really good work on context and these factors that we’re going to talk about today. I think there’s a long way to go, but I think we’re getting better. We will see. You’ll probably tell me. I don’t know if we’re getting better or not.

[00:12:47] Dr. Geremy: I would say so. I think that I definitely have seen, at least even in the last almost decade or so, I’ve seen a bit more of a push in terms of just DEI [00:13:00] initiatives workshops that are available, how accessible a lot of this content is, even just to lay people.

One of the things I’ll talk about towards the end is how when we’re dealing with some of these cultural variables and we’re dealing with marginalized groups, yes, we can affect change working one-to-one with that individual, but at the end of the day, this is a systematic issue. And systematic issues really can’t be solved unless you work as a collective. And that collective isn’t just psychologists, it’s teachers, parents community leaders, whoever it might be. We all have to come together as a group to effect that change.

So I think within the field, yes, we’re seeing that push, but just as much as we’re seeing that push for change in our field, we need to advocate for change within the public space as well, not just within our, our field.

[00:13:49] Dr. Sharp: Yeah, that’s such a good point. Maybe we’re jumping the gun a little bit, but I’m just curious. You’ve had experience in [00:14:00] these other domains, right? I mean, either through school psychology or now even being a professor in a university, do you have a sense, and if you don’t, that’s totally fine, but do you have a sense of what these other fields are doing to become aware of some of this stereotype threat and like you said, push forward to do better?

[00:14:24] Dr. Geremy: Yeah. Speaking from the test publisher side, I know that test publishers, I can only really speak for Riverside because that’s where I’ve worked, but Riverside really did an excellent job at doing their best to help people understand the whole child. Obviously, that goes back to that point of, let’s not just focus on the instrument and the data it gives us, but what can we do with that data to make sense of that child in the context that they exist in and the context of who they are. I think that that’s incredibly important and that that is an initiative that Riverside has been [00:15:00] focused on.

So I think test publishers are trying to be a bit more mindful about our test is valid, we say that it’s reliable, but is it actually affecting meaningful change for these students in the way that we would hope? They’re being more mindful about that.

And then on the university side, Alfred University has a common ground program, which I think is really great. That’s for all first-year students for their first semester when they come in. They participate in a common, it’s called a common ground experience where they interface with peers trying to better understand how they fit within society based on their social identity and background, and how can they better then relate to others who might be dissimilar from them because especially in the context that we are in here, we’re very rural. Some people have lived up here their whole life. They may not have engaged with people of certain backgrounds or certain creeds before. So we want to make sure people feel comfortable and don’t inadvertently engage in some of these things like [00:16:00] serotype threat, for example.

[00:16:01] Dr. Sharp: Sure. That’s great to hear. Well, I know that we have a lot of good content to dig into, so we should probably get to it. I’ll say too, I’ve done I think one episode on Stereotype Threat. It was, gosh, it feels like a long time ago. And so, revisiting some of the background will be great, definitions, things like that, being able to take it to more of an applied place is something that I’m excited about. So, let’s dig in and do some background maybe. 

[00:16:38] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, sure. Just going back to that idea of people who may think, why do stereotypes matter? Why is this concept matter? I think if we think about how prevalent stereotypes are, even if you think about just the definition of a stereotype, they’re widely held beliefs. Usually, they’re [00:17:00] overgeneralizations about a certain person or population or object, whatever it might be, but the point is that because they’re so widely held, they’re prevalent and because they’re prevalent, you can almost expect them to somewhat shape the way that we view ourselves and the way that we view other people. Part of that, the way that we view others and the way they view us, ties directly into that stereotype threat.

And just to define what that is, that’s when you’re in a situation where you’re aware that you might confirm a negative stereotype about a group you belong to. The example I gave before about myself where I’m presenting in front of a group, I’m the only African American male. For me, the stereotype then was I was in fear of confirming the stereotype that black males can be illiterate or they’re not eloquent when they speak. 

That awareness [00:18:00] then hijacks my thinking if you will. It interferes with my thinking because as I’m talking, I’m also having to compete with that now-aware stereotype of, I can’t say anything that might be misconstrued or might be misconstrued as not eloquent because then I might confirm that stereotype. So I’m not just focused on the task at hand, I’m also now focused on suppressing that thought, and that puts me at a handicap. It doesn’t really allow me to converse the way I probably would if I was fully comfortable.

That’s one of the main ways that stereotype threat has been found to impact thinking and performance; that interference that it causes while you’re trying to do something. 

[00:18:46] Dr. Sharp: Yeah. So you’re saying that being highly aware and possibly critical of your own performance while trying to do that thing isn’t helpful for your performance. Is that what you’re saying?

[00:18:58] Dr. Geremy: Yes, I am [00:19:00] saying that. You’re right. It’s just at the source of the anxiety though, isn’t necessarily like, say, a high-functioning, anxious person who might be perfectionistic, that that person might just have difficulty with perceived failure, but that’s really more of an internal piece. What I’m seeing is there’s a, in Claude Steele, one of the co-originators of stereotype threat, he describes it as a threat in the air.

So rather than it being something internal to me that is originating from within myself, it’s because I know that within society there is this stereotype, there is this preconceived notion that’s in the air, and if I behave in a particular way, depending on the situation, that threat is now no longer in the air. It’s tangible, it’s palpable, it’s now going to get reinforced. 

[00:19:50] Dr. Sharp: Sure. Which seems bigger. It feels a lot bigger than just not just an internal script, but it feels [00:20:00] larger. 

[00:20:01] Dr. Geremy: It definitely feels heavier for sure. I want to make clear that not everyone experiences stereotype threat in the same way. I don’t want to make too much of a generalization because just because I’m African American and a male, that doesn’t mean that the next African American male will also be affected the same way by stereotypes. It depends on a few different things.

For example, the person has to be aware of the stigma that’s related to their social group. You have to be aware of some of these stereotypes for it to really start to affect you if that makes sense.

An interesting piece that the literature tends to look at as well is how closely you identify with that group. If I’m perceived by others to be black, but to me being black doesn’t really matter that much to my identity, there is some literature to suggest that the stereotype may [00:21:00] not affect me as much if being black isn’t really that core to who I am as a person.

Some other pieces just to think about also, it’s just like if you have low self-esteem or if you’re already predisposed to being hard on yourself, you talked about some of that as well. Like if you already are hard on yourself and you are put under pressure, you’re likely going to perform worse than someone that has a more sound or integrated concept of who they are. It’s kind of getting back to that. If you have low self-esteem or over place blame on yourself when things really aren’t your fault, a lot of those elements can make you more susceptible to that threat. 

[00:21:42] Dr. Sharp: Sure. That makes sense. When I think of stereotype threat and a lot of the research, to my understanding anyway, deals with marginalized groups, [00:22:00] like ethnic minority, and diversity in that regard. Do we have research that you know of anyway on stereotype threat for the, maybe like, what’s the term, invisible minority as far as physical ability or SES, things like that, that may not be completely overt? 

[00:22:25] Dr. Geremy: Yeah. Aside from race and ethnicity, I know there’s research out there on gender in STEM. So there’s a lot there. There’s some research on sexuality as well. When I say sexuality, those who don’t identify as heterosexual. There’s some interesting research for people that are interested in gerontology. So if you’re thinking about older folks, there’s some research looking at stereotype threat, particularly related to memory functioning because as we know, there’s a lot of [00:23:00] different debilitating diseases that can occur once you’re a bit older, such as like Alzheimer’s or dementia that can affect your memory. So, there are some preconceived notions about that group as well. So there is some literature related to those groups. 

You do make an interesting point. I don’t know offhand if there’s any literature related to poverty and stereotype threat. I would imagine, if you think about what stereotype threat posits, is really saying, if you belong to a group that has a negative stereotype that’s associated with it, and particularly if that group is a marginalized one like you were saying, that’s when you could be put at risk for a threat.

So I’m sure there are certain situations where people that are low SES might feel that they might confirm something negative about their group, especially if they’re amongst others “who might be of a higher SES” [00:24:00] because you don’t really know until you look at someone’s assets and bank statements- you can’t assume that kind of thing.

[00:24:07] Dr. Sharp: Of course. Sure. I think I have this on the brain. I just finished the book called Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, and it’s all about, I think at its core it’s about the opioid epidemic in rural, kinda like Appalachia; that’s a theme in the book as well is trying to come up out of that poverty basically, the substance abuse cycle, and how it’s hard. So anyway, maybe I’m primed for this. I literally just finished that yesterday morning, so I have it on my brain. 

[00:24:43] Dr. Geremy: No, I think that that’s a very important point. There is an argument against the whole culture of poverty kind of thing. There there’s a line of literature where some people say poverty is based on the individual’s fault [00:25:00] versus poverty is based on a societal oppressive piece. And when you think about it that way, and again, some of the preconceived notions that we might have about people that are lower SES within our society, I wouldn’t doubt that stereotype threat could be something that a lower SES person could experience. Again, I think that everyone could experience it. It just goes again, back to what the situation is and personally, what their characteristics are. 

[00:25:31] Dr. Sharp: Sure. That makes sense. Well, I know that we want to talk about some of the situations where it actually comes up and what it looks like, and hold up assessment specifically. Before we totally move to that, are there any other factors, any other background that would be important to put out there for context in this discussion as far as why this is happening, who’s at risk, risk factors, that [00:26:00] sort of thing?

[00:26:00] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, sure. I think, if people are not aware of the concept and this is the first time they’re hearing about it, I would definitely think about reviewing Clarke Steele and Joshua Aaronson, their first paper on Serotype threat. It was published back in 1995. And that paper is interesting because it used the GRE, which is a standardized test to really see if just by changing the way you describe a task, if just changing the task description, reframing that task, would be enough to affect a minority student’s performance on GRE items, for example.

What they ended up finding was reframing that task, as a diagnostic saying, yes, this is a measure of your intellectual ability, your true ability, reframing it was enough to depress their performance in comparison to white peers. So white peers are not affected by that when the task was reframed in that way. [00:27:00] And those same black students also did worse than black students who were told it was just a problem-solving task.

So when we think about what serotype threat is, again, because it’s that situational predicament, the way that we frame things in our assessment and I’m jumping ahead a little bit, but the way that we can frame things in our assessment can really impact how the person perceives what you’re asking them to do. And depending on how that perception changes, that could then elicit a stereotype threat. That study is an example of how just reframing something like that could elicit a threat in certain populations.

[00:27:36] Dr. Sharp: Yeah, that’s a great example. I think we should be able to link to that study in the show notes for folks to go and check out. And that’s a nice shout-out. Josh was my guest on the first episode about stereotype threat. And so folks can go back and listen to that too. We go into a lot of the background, and some of his work over the years. Just cool.

[00:28:00] Dr. Geremy: Well, that’s great.

[00:28:01] Dr. Sharp: Yeah.

[00:28:01] Dr. Geremy: All right. I guess some of the other things I don’t want to forget to mention especially if any listeners do work with school populations, I know we talked a lot about how this threat can occur within a given situation, but I don’t want to make it seem like the threat occurs and then you deal with it and you go on with your life. I don’t want to make it seem like it’s an isolated event. There’s some research out there that talks about chronic exposure to this threat that can actually lead you to separate from the area that you feel threatened in.

I’ll give you an example of that. Think about, say, an African-American male who consistently experiences stereotypes, microaggressions, and these challenging experiences, say in a literacy course, right? [00:29:00] This African-American male over time may start to separate his self-esteem- how he views himself, from literacy as a means to protect who he is as a person. Because if you think about it, we want to preserve ourselves and how we view ourselves. We want to preserve that, and usually, we will try our best to separate from things that we are having a lot of challenges in, or at least we perceive that we’re having a lot of challenges in. It’s harder to persist when that happens.

And there’s some research, if listeners are interested in the area of domain dis-identification, that’s what the formal term is called, that really talks about that long-term exposure to stereotypes lead you to engage in that separation, so that way you’re protecting yourself from the effects that those stereotypes can have.

The main way that this has been tied in literature is thinking about the achievement gap between [00:30:00] certain racial ethnic groups and others where you can see over time that in certain groups, their self-esteem stays about the same, even though their GPA starts to go down in certain areas. And you might start to think about how’s your GPA going down, but you still feel just as good about yourself.

Well, that’s because I’m no longer concerned about really what’s happening in math or what’s happening in English because I’ve separated that from who I am. I view myself as a person separate from the evaluations that I’m getting in school. The problem with that though is if someone isn’t motivated in that area and they separate, you could imagine how hard it is to get them re-engaged in that area and to get them back on track in that area.

My ultimate point is, when we see students and we might think of them as lazy or unmotivated, let’s also just think about what are some of the challenges they might be facing, not even just academically, but culturally and [00:31:00] linguistically in that space that might be causing them to separate in that way because it might not be that they’re lazy. They may have just felt a lot of bias in that space before. They’re just separating to protect themselves. 

[00:31:11] Dr. Sharp: That makes sense. This might be a reach, and you have full permission to tell me that it makes no sense, but it seems like there are parallels with learned helplessness that over time if you learn that this is just not working for you and you’re going to continue to get beat down, so to speak, you disengage and you give up. 

[00:31:35] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, that’s a really great point that you’ve raised there. I don’t want to have listeners forget that a lot of what we’re talking about today, even stereotype threat, a lot of that comes from oppression at the larger level when we’re thinking about society and when you think about oppressed groups, one of the things that can happen over time, especially [00:32:00] if you try to advocate for change and you see that change isn’t happening, one of the things that can occur is learned helplessness, what you just referenced.

I don’t think it’s a reach at all. I think if we’re thinking about advocacy for change in the societal space and learned helplessness occurring, or even worse, people starting to buy into the kind of things that are said about their group and they perpetuate the same things as well, we see that happen too. I wouldn’t say that it’s a reach that it could also happen in an academic space because, at the end of the day, schools more or less, what’s the word I’m looking for, reproduce and replicate some of the larger societal issues that occur anyway. We see very similar power dynamics and things around privilege, so I don’t think that’s a reach at all. 

[00:32:52] Dr. Sharp: Got you. I think that’s a good time to segue to some of the [00:33:00] applied factors here, and how we might take some of this knowledge and put it to use in the work that we do. I’ll leave it up to you where might be a good place to start and we’ll go from there.

[00:33:12] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, sure. One of the things that I definitely like, there’s a paper and I’ll make sure that you get access to all of these so all the listeners can review, Jordan and Lovett back in 2007, they published a primer on stereotype threat, and they talk about how we can consider that specific concept and psychoeducational assessment.

Now, granted, that might be a specific type of assessment that school psychologists do, but you’ll see that these recommendations can be applied to basically any assessment that you do. I’ll go through some of the guidance that they suggest because I do think that it really provides you with a lot of good food for thought. [00:34:00] And hopefully, there’s something that I’ll speak to that listeners haven’t heard of before, because even that one thing can make a difference in your assessment process. And it might give you a kind of aha moment.

So, I think one thing that I found interesting was thinking about how we describe our tests. I talked about how in that 1995 study that simply framing something as a diagnostic versus framing something is just a problem-solving activity, that that’s simple reframing, and I keep saying it’s simple because it’s not a big change in vocabulary, that simple change had profound effects for certain groups.

So, I think this is super important for people who are just starting out, maybe trainees who might deviate from the standardized instructions that publishers put forth in the actual test that you’re administering or in the interviews that you’re using. Those are standardized for a particular [00:35:00] reason, right?

So they’re standardized in a way through development where hopefully that test publisher has weeded out any item bias, weeded out any bias language. And when we change the nature of a question or change the nature of an instruction, we might be framing it in a way that might end up being somewhat threatening for the person that we’re working with.

I know that might sound like a leap, but I’ve heard stories of people going completely off of the standardized directions when they’re engaged in assessment and when you’re just ad-libbing things, if I was giving an intelligence test and I said, I’m going to give this test to you and it’s going to give me an indication of your intelligence, if I just said that, you can imagine how triggering that might be for certain populations.

[00:35:56] Dr. Sharp: 100%.

[00:35:57] Dr. Geremy: Right. So just making sure that you don’t [00:36:00] describe the test in a diagnostic way. That’s I think one of the simplest things you can do. Keep following the standardized procedures. If you’re already doing it, great. If you’re not doing it, please start. 

[00:36:12] Dr. Sharp: Let me highlight that actually. We’re one item into the list and you’ve got me thinking about something, which is good. As someone who I would say is less formal in the assessment process, I tend to be a little more casual and whatever, I might go off script, historically, I’ve always done that in the name of building rapport, and not seeming like so much of a robot in the process. But this has really got me thinking to now be looking through this lens of, okay, you better be really careful how you’re going off script. It’s not just about rapport. I might inadvertently introduce some kind of threat that will make a big difference in the [00:37:00] process. So I appreciate that right off the bat. That’s got me thinking pretty hard. 

[00:37:04] Dr. Geremy: And that is a good segue to one of the second guidelines. During that rapport-building process, being careful in the way that you craft your questions. Being mindful of your client’s identity, being mindful of, usually when we assess clients, we might have some sort of history that we’ve gotten as well. So being mindful of things that they’ve experienced in their history as well that might be related to stigma or stereotypes and trying to not compound that.

One of my most simple examples is when we’re working with someone who’s gender nonconforming, that we’re using the appropriate pronouns when we’re addressing that person. I know that some people will say, well, of course I do that, but again, there might be times where you don’t. There might be times where you assume and there might be people that just choose not to, they don’t subscribe to doing [00:38:00] so.

Something that might seem as small as a pronoun to you can have a vast impact on that client that you’re working with.  And even a couple of slipups could require rectifying that rapport with them, figuring out how can I repair any damage that I may have done by misspeaking in terms of this person’s identity? Because it may be a pronoun to you, but is part of their identity, and you want to make sure that you have them feel comfortable because the more comfortable they are in that space, the less chance they’ll feel threatened in the ways that we’ve been talking about today. 

[00:38:36] Dr. Sharp: Yes. That makes sense. I could see that leading to a little bit of cognitive dissonance for some folks, because I’m sure a lot of us would say, Hey, I’m going to subscribe pretty heavily to belief in fidelity of the data.The data is going to give us what we need to know. And yet, if you’re [00:39:00] also not willing to take some of these things into account and honor pronouns or other personal factors, that puts us in a bit of a bind in terms of how we’re maybe compromising the work that we’re doing.

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

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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.

I’m just thinking out loud. 

[00:39:59] Dr. Geremy: No, [00:40:00] it’s segueing pretty well into everything else that I’m taught.

The third point is, is going back to thinking about the multiple dimensions of our clients. When we get a particular… I always talk about when we get certain scores, especially say for example, we’re giving an intelligence test, an academic test, and we get a raw score of zero, and the person is just totally unable to engage in that task, right? I like to think about what’s the person’s cultural background. What’s the person’s linguistic background?

So basically making a sense of is this an accurate representation of what this person can do or is it really more representative of a lack of cultural opportunity or a lack linguistic proficiency rather than just going by the data because when I hear that, I think the person gives the test, they do it in a standardized way, and then they interpret the results. They separate the data from the human, when the human is who gave them the data to begin with, which in that case, it almost doesn’t make sense to [00:41:00] separate the two, right?

[00:41:01] Dr. Sharp: Sure, that’s a good point.

[00:41:02] Dr. Geremy: The best example that I usually use is I talk about a lot of the comprehension knowledge tests that IQ or the comprehension knowledge questions that IQ tests will have. Some of them might ask about different names of instruments or what you might do if something happens to a relative or a friend.

And when I start to think about it, a lot of that is really embedded in our western society, embedded in the society that the test publisher designed the test for. And what if your client isn’t really as assimilated to that culture? Maybe they don’t subscribe to Western society as much as the next client you would work with? And then is the test giving you more about opportunity and their cultural assimilation or is it giving you more of their IQ?

And that’s where I think it’s important to think about all the dimensions of [00:42:00] the client. Is this score really their IQ or is it more reflective of a lack of opportunity or a lack of engagement within mainstream society, whatever it might be?

So then you can add that context in your report or to future practitioners who are working with that child so then they can understand what that data means in a greater way without it just seeming like it’s an AD IQ. I think you see the point that I’m trying to make.  

[00:42:31] Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. Well, and it bears belaboring, I think is super important. We got to emphasize these things. Context matters. 

[00:42:42] Dr. Geremy: Right. Some of the other things that they did talk about really is, so just to circle back to stereotype threat, when we’re thinking about that concept in particular, and you’re wanting to get a sense of, is this something that may have [00:43:00] happened as a part of my evaluation, for example?

Jordan and Lovett do talk about the idea of investigating those variables. So whether that be giving tasks or questionnaires looking at anxiety, looking at any issues related to cognitive interference, even giving some informal interview questions. One of the simple strategies I always use with students is, how was that for you after I gave a particular task?

It’s a very simple way of finding out. I was extremely anxious. Okay, well can you tell me more? And they might explain, in that case, I was anxious because I know, and then you might hear, I know that I’m expected to do well in this because of my cultural background, or I’m not expected to do well because of my cultural background. That could happen, but you wouldn’t know that until you take the time to investigate.

So, it’s not just enough to analyze the data in the context of culture, but [00:44:00] you also need to have some sort of measure to base your hypothesis on. So that way you’re not making an assumption that, oh, this person’s IQ is low because of their culture. Well, how do you know that that’s the case? Did you talk to the student? Did you get any background information? Did you look at the specific items to see if some of them were pretty culturally loaded? Really trying to investigate that. So that way you can really understand whether or not culture impacted them and then how culture impacted them. 

[00:44:35] Dr. Sharp: Do you have any examples of, like you said, measures ways to really gauge that?

[00:44:44] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, I think it’s a little tricky because I do have, and I’ll say an unfair advantage being a black male. Usually, if I’m working with students that are of the racial-ethnic minority, I will talk to them a little bit more [00:45:00] about their experiences within general society, see if they’ve ever experienced stress like this before within academic spaces, if they’ve experienced it with me as I’m working with them and how those experiences have affected them.

So I might engage more in an informal kind of interview with them around what implications you feel your culture has on your schooling, on your relationships, things along those lines. And I said an unfair advantage because me asking the question as a black male may be a little less threatening than if someone of the majority asks that question, for example.

Now, there are some multicultural interviews that can be used with students to get a sense of how they perceive their culture. And they can be used with clients as well. I have no problem forwarding some of those resources to you so listeners can review them. [00:46:00] But I think just having that discussion, as long as you’ve built rapport and you have a pretty safe space, having that discussion with that person I think is a really good start because it also shows that you care. It also shows that you care to know how that might be affecting them.

I might have that conversation after I’ve gone through some of my testing. I might not want to prime them to think about how their race might affect them or their gender might affect them before I give them a task. But I still would incorporate that in my assessment just so their voice is included in the process. 

[00:46:37] Dr. Sharp: Yeah. That gets at a question that I was thinking about that again, might be getting ahead of us, but we’ll see, but this idea of, okay, so if we know somehow in retrospect that some stereotype threat has been created, is there a way to go back and ameliorate that effect [00:47:00] on that day, the week after, is there anything that we could do if we could somehow identify that it’s necessary?

[00:47:08] Dr. Geremy: Yeah. I’m trying to think of how to phrase this because I think depending on if you’re doing an evaluation with specific testing measures versus if this person is a therapeutic case you’re working on, I think that the avenues might look a little different.

I’m thinking, and I’ll start with therapeutic. I think if you’re working with a therapy client and you realize that you inadvertently had induced a threat for them, and the individual, after you speak with them, talks about how they were feeling. Maybe they don’t know the exact language of the term itself, but they give you enough information where you’re like, okay, I induced a threat. Going back, and this is one of the strategies as well, going back and explaining to that person what [00:48:00] stereotype threat is?

As I mentioned at the beginning, yes, it was frustrating, but it was also validating when I found out what stereotype threat was. And it provided me with a language and understanding of what that concept actually is. And it gave me something to attribute the feelings that I had to that instance that occurred. So that helped me at least to not feel like there was something wrong with me. More so that this is a phenomena that happens and I can put the onus on it, not on myself, per se.

So I think in part for a therapy client, I might do some of that. I help them to see that this isn’t necessarily something wrong with you. This is a phenomena that could happen to almost everyone and explain what the phenomena is, especially if they’re old enough to understand it. If they’re three years old, I don’t think we’re going to get into the literature with them, but if they’re an older client, I’m thinking maybe high [00:49:00] school, college, you can certainly talk to them about some of what it is so they can have the language for it. And then I’ll talk about some of the strategies that you can use as well- some things that you can engage in that can help to address some of that threat as well.

Now, if you’re testing, that’s where it gets a little fuzzy, at least in my opinion because if I were to ask that that client, do you feel like … how is that for you? And they start to give me some indication that threat may have been something they experienced, what I might want to do is I might want to really look back to see what exactly induced it for this person, whether they tell me or if I noticed, did I frame something improperly? Did I discuss with them certain aspects prior to testing that already had them thinking about some of this, kind of go back and [00:50:00] retrace my steps. And then from…

[00:50:02] Dr. Sharp: Can I interrupt you real quick? 

[00:50:03] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, sure.

[00:50:04] Dr. Sharp: I’m so sorry. I just want to ask about how might we know if someone has experienced a stereotype threat? I’m assuming maybe sometimes they’d be like, I feel stereotyped and threatened. It’ll be explicit somehow, but that’s maybe in the minority. And there might be other more covert signs or phrases or words they might share that could tip us off that might not be as explicit. Is that fair? 

[00:50:34] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, no, I see what you’re saying. Some of the things you can think about, because anxiety is one of the ways that, it’s a mediator that the literature does look at, we can look to see if the person does seem noticeably uncomfortable. And usually, then, we would hopefully ask the person once the task is completed, how was that for you to get a sense of [00:51:00] if they can start to talk about some of that nervousness.

So nervousness is usually one way. Because of that cognitive interference, you might notice on certain tasks, maybe the person is not able to convey their thoughts in the way that they might otherwise have been speaking to you. Maybe during an informal conversation, they were doing a little bit better in conveying their thoughts, but now that you gave them this particular task, maybe they’re struggling a bit more.

So then I might investigate some of that too to see, okay, clearly you were having some trouble. I wouldn’t say this exactly. I’m just thinking in my head. Clearly, you were having some trouble phrasing your thoughts. I want to then figure out what exactly was challenging about that process for you. Was it just the general, you were trying to figure out what words to use, or was it because you were thinking about something else in the process of doing this task?

And again, those covert cues, whether it be the verbal expression of that person depending on the tasks, especially if [00:52:00] it’s uncharacteristic based on the other tasks that you’ve already done, some nervousness, some fidgeting, and it can even be based on other informal conversations you’ve had getting a sense of the person’s worldview. So there are some people that you’ll speak to, and this is anecdotal, but in undergrad, I did a study looking at how people perceive their race and ethnicity and what they think about their race and ethnicity.

 And I did this with my advisor and even middle school students were, I would say, what does being black mean to you? How do you think being black impacts your day-to-day life? And a lot of the students would say, I like being black, but I think people will view me as not being smart. And if the person is coming into your space with that mindset, then stereotype threat is something I would just keep in the back burner of my mind, because if [00:53:00] they already have that outlook about a particular aspect of who they are, then certain tasks that you’re going to give them are going to be purely evaluative and if they’re already feeling a little bit lesser because of who they are, it’s going to be harder for them to perform.

So I think that worldview piece might also be a little bit more covert because it doesn’t directly tie into a task, but it is going to carry over to different things that they’re doing as you’re assessing them.

[00:53:31] Dr. Sharp: Sure. That makes sense.

[00:53:32] Dr. Geremy: Hopefully, that helps.

[00:53:33] Dr. Sharp:It does. No, I appreciate you elaborating, and giving some examples on that. 

[00:53:38] Dr. Geremy: Yes, of course. I have a few other examples if we still have some time to chat through them.

[00:53:46] Dr. Sharp: Absolutely.

[00:53:46] Dr. Geremy: Perfect. I think one of the things that I always try to keep in mind is, especially in working with marginalized populations that may be chronically stereotyped against, [00:54:00] the one thing I want to do is make sure that they understand that I’m here to not be the same way that everyone else may have been in their life. That I’m going to be a different representation of society. 

One simple way we can do this, and again, I say simple, but we can try to make an identity-safe space. And this is a very simple example, but even in our office, do we have things that might be perceived as threatening to certain groups? Whether that be political affiliation markers, whether that be certain symbols, whatever it might be, do we have things in our office that might trigger a threat for someone? I left this point out that the climate of an environment and the way in which that environment either welcomes us or pushes us away can leave us to be a [00:55:00] lot more susceptible to a threat.

 Obviously, if we feel like we’re unwanted in a space and we get that sense, we’re going to be a lot more vulnerable to a threat or two biased acts when they occur. So we want to make sure that our space is one. And simple things like having a safe space sticker on your door if you’re dealing with individuals or working with individuals that may not be heterosexual, having pride flags can also be helpful for individuals that don’t identify as heterosexual.

Some things that I’ve seen people do is they’ll have, especially working with children, they’ll have a vast array of text that show different cultural backgrounds. So it’s not just stories that feature all-white characters. They might have Black characters, Asian characters, Hispanic characters, things like that, that I’m saying are simple because you can probably go out and revamp your library in a [00:56:00] pretty short amount of time.

There are a lot of resources out there that talk about especially if you’re working with children, different literacy elements that you can incorporate within your space, whether it be your office, or if you’re a teacher in your classroom, that can help students feel more comfortable and help people feel more welcome. But that doesn’t just apply to children. You can do that with adults as well.

And again, that goes back to even having a Black Lives Matters sticker on your door, for example, knowing that you work with say, black clients. That may seem small to you, but that can make a big difference for the client who’s coming through that door, who, especially if they don’t know you yet. Seeing that sticker could have them say, okay, this person is in align with this movement, which means that they might value my identity and my existence. So, it seems small, but it can have a big, profound impact on a person. 

[00:56:58] Dr. Sharp: Yeah. It’s good to hear you [00:57:00] say that. I always wonder about little things like that. We see a lot of stickers and flags and different plaques and things like that. We have them all over our office doors in our practice. And there’s a part of my brain that’s like, does that even actually matter? I don’t know. Do people pay attention to that? So that’s good to hear that it does actually go noticed and make a difference.

[00:57:25] Dr. Geremy: I certainly think so. And I think even if not on a conscious level, even if the client is not directly stating to you, I’m so glad that you have this sticker or clock on your door, I think even in that split second where you knock on that psychologist door, you see that sticker and it triggers in your mind, okay, this is a safe space. Even if it is just for that split second, that could already help you build rapport with that individual that you’re going to be working with rather than having them come into the space and not know if this is a person that will reproduce [00:58:00] some of the oppression I’ve already felt in life, or if this person will help me alleviate some of it. So again, I think the stickers, the plaques, flags, I think all that, even if it does seem like a simple intervention, I think it does matter more than a lot of people think.

[00:58:17] Dr. Sharp: Great. Let’s see. I’m surprised I didn’t mention this before. So one of the things that literature has found to be helpful to address bias, stereotypes, some of the effects of some of that on it’s been done. I know a lot more of the research for children just because school psychologists work more with children. But I don’t see why this couldn’t work with adult clients as well. Thinking about engaging in self-affirmation activities with the clients that you work with, even as part of an as assessment process.

I can’t think of a more cool way to have someone start to [00:59:00] list things that they value about themselves, they value about their lives. Now that’s a strength that you have. That’s their voice that you have. And you can incorporate that right into your report. And that’s now giving that report more of a positive outlook.

I think this ties into my other point about how one of the ways in which we can alleviate stereotypes is the way that we’re writing up our reports and getting away from some of that deficit thinking that our field has. Our field really has us, we look for problems. People are referred because of a problem and we need to figure out why the problem’s occurring. That’s generally speaking…

[00:59:40] Dr. Sharp: That’s what we do.

[00:59:41] Dr. Geremy: That’s what we do. Right. So, the problem with that though is the person in question, they know what the problem is. They likely have been told for a long time what the problem is. It’s really tough to then see they’re struggling with this in a report, right? So I think something [01:00:00] like affirmation activity, interviewing them about what they’re really passionate about, what they really feel strong in, that can round out that person and help that report be a lot less oppressive of a document and be more of a whole individual document.

I always like to explain that we all have strengths and weaknesses. We all do. Like, I can’t swim, you throw me into a pool, you probably won’t talk to me the next day because I will drown in the shower. That’s one of my weaknesses, right? But I also have all of these strengths and if we just focused on my weaknesses, you lose a huge part of who that person is. And depending on the person that you’re writing about, like I said, they’ve already heard about their weaknesses, whether it be through the referral process from society. So why not change that narrative just a little bit and have them see in black and white from a professional who they likely respect a lot, that they have all [01:01:00] these strengths that can be capitalized on.

So I think that’s another way in our practices that we could address some of this even by simply twisting that deficit model and trying to focus just as much as we focused on the deficits, see how we can capitalize on the strengths. 

[01:01:18] Dr. Sharp: I love that. That is one place I can actually say with integrity that we try to do in our practice. We know we have a name, I suppose, for strengths-based testing and people seem to appreciate that. And it does go a long way. It’s validating. 

[01:01:37] Dr. Geremy: It certainly is. I just want to reiterate it, if you can just find even that one strength for that person and figure out a way to capitalize on it, that can make all the difference for that individual. I want to make it clear to listeners. I’m not saying you need to write a 20 page thesis on this person’s strengths, but I just don’t want [01:02:00] people to lose sight of those strengths. And the strength can even be how well they converse with you when you’re working with them.

I’ve heard of clients bringing the psychologist cards. If they’re getting tested over a holiday, they’ll bring them a holiday card. So talking about how compassionate or thoughtful that person might be. Even though again, it might seem like a small point that you’re mentioning, it probably feels really good to that client, especially if they aren’t acknowledged in that way, in other spaces for you to acknowledge them in that way. And then when that document goes to the next provider, they then get to see a fuller picture of who that person is and not just, again, those scores that might tell a somewhat different story. 

[01:02:46] Dr. Sharp: Sure. If I might add one more, just a little concrete strategy to this one, and I can’t take credit for this. One of my postdocs who’s now licensed, actually, she’s no longer a postdoc, but at that time [01:03:00] she got into the habit of looking at the BASC score report. And there’s that section on all of them that is easy to skip over where ask for strengths and challenges. And she would just pull direct quotes from the strengths section, particularly from the teacher, and throw that into the report.

It’s a very simple thing, but it makes a huge difference to be able to read that. And I think that’s really nice for parents and for kids to say, oh yeah, your teacher said you’re a really kind friend and you go out of your way to help people. Well that’s really cool. So that’s super easy.

[01:03:39] Dr. Geremy: I think that’s a really great strategy. I know there are a few other standardized rating scales that also offer the option to incorporate strengths, whether it be some sort of statement. And I think that that is really important because if you can encourage the respondent as many as you can, that are filling out those forms [01:04:00] to even just provide one statement, you could end up with a pretty nice paragraph from a vast amount of people that talk about this person’s strengths. And that can also help to push back against that narrative of if I’ve been stereotyped against or if I feel stigmatized, everyone feels this way about me. And that’s because you’re getting the messages from society left and right.

So, it really is so nice to then see my teacher feels this way, that’s positive, my friends do, the tutor I have does. Whoever it might be. It’s good to see that there are multiple people in your life that just as many people might uphold these stereotypes. You have a lot of people that also know that they’re not true and see you who for who you actually are. I think that’s the crux of what the interventions related to stereotypes are all about. Really helping the client to be seen for who they really are and not just as this not just numbers and also [01:05:00] not just this boiled down reduced stereotype that society may have them described as.

[01:05:08] Dr. Sharp: I like that. What else? Any other strategies here as we start to wrap up? 

[01:05:13] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, I think when we talk about stereotype threat, if we’re thinking about like the school-aged children, thinking about the classroom, I think one of the things that I really like is the idea of having a growth mindset.

Now, I know some listeners may not know about Carol Dweck. I imagine most people do. But for those who don’t, she’s a really big name in really reshaping the way that we think about abilities, really thinking about how abilities can be malleable. How this ties into stereotypes is stereotypes are pretty fixed. They’re pretty fixed about this is something that your group can’t do. [01:06:00] This is something that your group can do. And over time, if you start to subscribe to that, you’ll have a pretty fixed view about what you can and can’t do as well, right? If you start to really just subscribe to those stereotypes.

[01:06:13] Dr. Sharp: Yes.

[01:06:13] Dr. Geremy: I like the idea of, and I can provide you these resources, Aaronson, who you referenced earlier, Dweck, other researchers as well have done growth mindset workshops with children. And what these workshops really look at is how changing the way someone thinks about their functioning can help them in terms of their outlook about what they can do- what they’re capable of.

This doesn’t mean that changing someone to a growth mindset is going to make their IQ jump up 100 points. I’m not saying that. What it does do is it gives you an option when you face a setback, right? If I’m thinking about, I just hit a setback and I subscribe to the stereotype, well, now I’ve confirmed it and there’s nothing else I can [01:07:00] do. That’s a fixed way of thinking about things. But if I have this growth mindset, if I hit a setback, I can say, I hit this setback, but everybody hit setbacks. And what I can do is I can look at what support, what interventions, what strategies can I use to overcome this setback when it occurs the next time.

So it gives someone a different perspective. And I think that is another intervention that can be helpful because if you think differently about your functioning and you think differently about some of this, the stereotypes almost seem like moot points. They almost seem like they, okay, this is what someone thinks about my group, but this is what I think about my own functioning. And I know that I can overcome things with support and with practice. And I think that that’s really the important point; reframing your thinking from what other people think of you to what you think about yourself. 

[01:07:57] Dr. Sharp: That’s very powerful. [01:08:00] I just want to sit with that for a second. I like that a lot. And I hope that folks might check out some of that research on growth mindset. That’s, of course, run into it in different contexts and nice to have it highlighted again here as a strategy. 

[01:08:21] Dr. Geremy: Yeah, I think that it’s definitely helpful. I think that to recap a lot of this, a lot of what we’ve discussed isn’t really going to require an assessor to take months and months out of their existence to utilize some of this. Some of these strategies can be, like we talked about, as simple as having certain markers of diversity in your space, whether it be stickers and flags, doing some self-affirmation work with the person, like you had mentioned, incorporating some of the strength sections from measures you already are using.

[01:09:00] So, we see that we have all these avenues that we can use that aren’t too taxing. Now it’s just the part of are we going to actually use them. We know that that part can be a little harder. We might get stuck in our ways and how we’ve tested people before. 

[01:09:19] Dr. Sharp: Right. And then we’re dipping into the habit change research and how to establish new behaviors and all of that, which is a whole other can of worms, but it’s nice to have the springboard here. There are plenty of options to pursue- things that we can do that are very concrete. And I appreciate you articulating so many of those. At the end of the day, I think that’s what we want, right? Like, is there something we can do about this?

[01:09:46] Dr. Geremy: Certainly. I know that we’re coming up on time. There are just a couple of other thoughts that I didn’t want to forget to mention as well. I imagine some listeners [01:10:00] probably consult with teachers. I imagine they work with them in some capacity. So one of the things that Jordan and Lovett had spoken about in their paper was explicit criteria when you’re actually evaluating someone within the classroom- so the teacher themselves.

The idea with explicit criteria is, if the person knows exactly how they’re going to be graded, what elements are going to be graded, that helps them mentally to separate the idea that their culture, their background, that that’s going to be included in that grading process. If they can see the rubric, if they know these are the elements that I need to meet, that helps to demystify some of that grading process.

Before we came on, I spoke to some of my friends and some of them have said, in K through 12, I saw one syllabus and not syllabus our rubric, and some people said K through 12, they had rubrics [01:11:00] for everything. And that got me thinking about how not every teacher may use rubrics. Not every teacher may be very explicit in the way that they’re setting expectations, even if it’s for homework assignments.

Ideally, you would want to be very explicit with the way that you’re grading so that person understands that how they’re going to be evaluated is not based on their gender or their sexuality or their race or ethnicity. It’s based on these particular markers that we’re looking for. And that helps to frame that task. Again, going back to task framing, that helps to frame that task for that person so that way they know specifically what that task is looking for. And it helps to minimize some of that threat coming into the picture. 

[01:11:47] Dr. Sharp: I hear you. That seems to make intuitive sense and I can’t think of any rubric I ever saw in elementary or high school. [01:12:00] That doesn’t always happen. That’s for sure. 

[01:12:01] Dr. Geremy: No, that’s exactly true. The other piece that I think is important too is even on high stakes testing, I know we’re coming towards the end, but I started to think about how even on our test, some of the standardized tests we use will have gender or will have like race and ethnicity listed on it. And one of the things that Jordan and Lovett talk about is when you’re engaged in that high stakes testing, that the student has to be made aware, the client needs to be made aware that those elements are not going to be used by the evaluator to derive their scores, to determine…

It got me thinking about how a lot of the forms at least say, gender and I could at least think of two that just say male and female. So then if you think about individuals that don’t identify as male and female, you ask them about their [01:13:00] gender, especially if they could see the form itself, that might elicit some sort of reaction because you’re not being represented by either one of those categories based on how you identify.

So I think having that discussion as well explaining there are very specific criteria that go into this process. I know that we can’t explain the criteria when we’re engaging in our IQ test or academic test, but explaining that, yes, your cultural identity matters and it’s extremely important to me, but for these tasks, just like the introduction says, I just want to see you complete these tasks. Some of them are going to be easy, some of them might be challenging, and that’s the case for everybody. But really making it clear that some of these pieces that might be oppressed identities for them, that’s not going to be how you are “grading them” as a part of your evaluation.

[01:13:57] Dr. Sharp: Yeah. I like that you highlight that. It’s [01:14:00] one of those things I don’t know that I would necessarily think to make explicit, and it’s pretty important. 

[01:14:07] Dr. Geremy: It is. I definitely can say from, even in my training, I’m sure there were instances where I could have been more explicit, and then I realized after the fact either the student told me like, Hey, I wish you would’ve brought this up, or, I wish you wouldn’t have said this. I think that we’re going to make mistakes along the way when we try to incorporate some of this, but I think that it’s the attempt we have to start first and make those mistakes and learn from them.

It’s not enough to say I’m worried about making mistakes so I won’t make the change. That’s not going to cut it in my book. I think that we want to become as competent as we can, attend workshops, listen to podcasts, whatever it might be to learn about some of this, and then start to incorporate it [01:15:00] and learn from there. It’s not enough that we just learn and then don’t implement it because then we can’t enact any change.

[01:15:09] Dr. Sharp: Sure. What is it? Vision without execution is hallucination. 

[01:15:13] Dr. Geremy: I like that. I think that may have been one of the… I think that’s the first time I heard that actually. So thank you. 

[01:15:21] Dr. Sharp: Oh God. Hey, I’m so glad to hear that. It’s rare that I’m the first person to share a quote with anybody. But that’s a good one. I forget who said it, of course, but if you look it up, I’m sure we can attribute it appropriately. 

[01:15:33] Dr. Geremy: Well, thank you for that. One of the quotes that I can end off with one of my old colleagues at Riverside, he used to say, practice makes permanent. So just because we have been engaging in our assessments in a certain way, or engaging in therapy in a certain way, that doesn’t mean that it necessarily is the end all be all. That doesn’t mean that it is exactly correct. And [01:16:00] what he really gets at with that is, there always are ways in which we can incorporate new elements into our practice to then get our practice to be perfect, but just because we’ve been doing it for so long, that doesn’t inherently make the practice perfect. We just have to keep that in mind too. 

[01:16:19] Dr. Sharp: I like that. All right. That is a good note to end on.

Well, I really appreciate your time, your energy, thoughts, personal stories. Thanks for coming back and talking with me about such a hugely important topic here in our field, and hopefully folks will take a lot away, and just the emphasis on these concrete strategies will go a long way. So thanks. 

[01:16:47] Dr. Geremy: Well, thank you for having me, Jeremy. It’s always a pleasure to be a part of the podcast. I hope to be a part again soon. 

[01:16:53] Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. All right, take care.

[01:16:56] Dr. Geremy: You too.

[01:16:56] Dr. Sharp: All right, y’all, thank you so much for tuning into this [01:17:00] episode. Always grateful to have you here. I hope that you take away some information that you can implement in your practice and in your life. Any resources that we mentioned during the episode will be listed in the show notes, so make sure to check those out.

If you like what you hear on the podcast, I would be so grateful if you left a review on iTunes or Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcast.

And if you’re a practice owner or aspiring practice owner, I’d invite you to check out The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups. I have mastermind groups at every stage of practice development: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We have homework, we have accountability, we have support, we have resources. These groups are amazing. We do a lot of work and a lot of connecting. If that sounds interesting to you, you can check out the details at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. You can sign up for a pre-group phone call and we will chat and figure out [01:18:00] if a group could be a good fit for you. Thanks so much.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website is intended for informational and 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 [01:19:00] 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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