Training mental health providers in cultural competence: A transformative learning process

Anita Pernell-Arnold, Laurene Finley, Roberta G. Sands, Joretha Bourjolly, Victoria Stanhope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cultural competence training is viewed as a strategy to reduce cultural disparities in mental health (Dougherty, 2004). The purpose of this article is to examine the process of becoming more culturally competent. This process evaluation study applied Bennett's Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity to logs written by four cohorts of mental health and psychiatric rehabilitation teams of administrators, mental health practitioners and peer providers who participated in intensive, multicultural, recovery-oriented, continuing education over a 10-month period. Participants submitted logs later coded using Bennett's categories. A nonlinear process of group transformation from ethnocentric to ethnorelative was demonstrated. During the initial and midpoints of the training, there was often a spike in ethnocentrism followed by acceleration in the movement toward ethnorelativism. Findings are discussed in relation to transformative learning theory and implications for design of multicultural training that promotes transformational, second order change are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-356
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Cultural competence training
  • Multicultural education
  • Multicultural training
  • Psychiatric rehabilitation
  • Transformational learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Training mental health providers in cultural competence: A transformative learning process'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this