162. APA Guidelines on Race and Ethnicity in Psychology with Karen Suyemoto

In this episode, Diana interviews Dr. Karen Suyemoto, the chair of the APA Guidelines on Race and Ethnicity in Psychology. Race and culture are present in all of our interactions. As mental health professionals, it is our ethical responsibility to understand the ways in which race and ethnicity impact us personally, our interactions with clients, and the communities we serve. Everyone is also caught in the system of racism and oppression. It is our responsibility as mental health providers to strive towards understanding the complexities of this system and how we can contribute to systemic change.

Listen and Learn

  • How do race and ethnicity interact, and how are they defined
  • Why understanding the influences of race and ethnicity is so central to psychology
  • The role personal inquiry plays in the guidelines
  • Why practicing cultural humility and understanding positionality is important in the work of a psychologist
  • How racism and privilege has impacted the field of psychology
  • How the therapy room can be a reenactment of racial trauma
  • What it means to be an activist in psychology
  • How we can carry out a deep commitment to change
  • How to hold both race and the individual authentic relationship in our inter-racial interactions

About Karen Suyemoto 

Karen Suyemoto has a joint appointment with the Psychology Department and the Asian American Studies Program and Critical Ethnic and Community Studies graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Their research interests focus generally on Asian American psychology and issues related to social justice and anti-racist therapy/ practice/education. Their research addresses fostering awareness and advocacy for social justice through examining relations of race and racism to mental health; investigating effects of resistance and coping with racism, and exploring the complexity of relative and ascribed power and intersectional discrimination. Additional research addresses how cultural responsiveness and racial social justice can be developed through and integrated into education, training, research methods, and practice. Their current research projects include a quantitative study examining the effects of racism for people of color and how taking action to challenge racism may moderate negative psychological effects and a two-book project focused on transformative teaming and learning about oppression and privilege (with Grace Kim and Roxanne Donovan).   Professor Suyemoto was the Chair of the recently released Guidelines for Race and Ethnicity for the American Psychological Association. They served as the past president of the Asian American Psychological Association and as the AAPA delegate to the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives. In 2013, they were recognized as a White House Champion of Change: Asian American Pacific Islander Woman Leader and also awarded the Asian American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Contributions Award.


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Episode 162