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ACA 2018 Conference & Expo Sessions

310 - Intersectionality: The Complexity of Identity in Counseling Across Cultures

Apr 28, 2018 2:00pm ‐ Apr 28, 2018 3:30pm


This session will examine the concept of intersectionality, the convergence of the multiple dimensions that comprise cultural identity and its importance to culturally competent counseling. First, the concept of intersectionality be will be introduced. Second, the implications of intersectionality for culturally competent counseling will be discussed. Third, guidelines for teaching intersectionality in cross-cultural counseling training will be offered.

The educational content for this presentation centers on the concept of intersectionality, which is just gaining prominence in the cross cultural counseling literature. Intersectionality is a concept that has its theoretical origins in feminist psychology (Collins & Bilge, 2016; Crenshaw, 1989) From this view, human lives cannot be explained by a single factor (e.g., gender). Minimizing an individual’s personality or experiences to a singular factor poses the risk of ignoring multiple aspects of identity which may be essential in understanding the individual’s overall reality. In other words, when considering personality, gender is indeed an important variable to recognize, however, it is essential to consider this variable along with additional dimensions such as race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. All of these dimensions impact an individual in both a unique as well as an interactive fashion.

Learning Objectives:

  • To be able to discuss the concept of intersectionality.
  • To be able to understand and apply the concept of intersectionality in culturally competent counseling.
  • To identify guidelines for teaching intersectionality as a concept in future cross cultural counseling training.


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