Most of us remember the pneumonic device Roy G. Biv and how it has painted the colors of the rainbow into our memories. But when it comes to the palette of your private practice, workplace or organization, have you forgotten the hues of diversity?
Last year Houston Group Psychotherapy Society (HGPS) started a long journey to examine what it can do to foster racial justice and improve outreach to the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and LGBTQ communities. This began with an unflinching look in the mirror. The Radical Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee or REDI, assessed the opinions of HGPS board members on racial justice on several fronts that included gauging HGPS’s process in the pursuit of becoming an anti-racist organization and Its readiness to make organization changes to fulfill racial equity goals. Nineteen of twenty-five board members answered questions with the results revealed in a September meeting.
Data shows HGPS falls between the stages of contemplation and preparation regarding its readiness to become more diverse. According to the research, “The findings of this baseline assessment will be significant in providing insight to the attitudes present within leadership, revealing barriers blocking racial equity, and encouraging reflection upon established policies and practices as HGPS moves toward becoming an anti-racist organization.”
A majority (68%) responded “no “regarding their views of the organization as one that sets criteria of identifying issues and developing campaigns that elevate racial Justice. About half of all participants (53%) responded that HGPS is “developing” in advocating and supporting the inclusion of racial Justice issues when working in coalitions. The majority (63%) of participants answered “no” regarding the presence of benchmarks and indicators for measuring organization success. Only a small percentage (10.5%) of participants indicated that metrics are in place to measure the success of DEI (Diversity, Equality, Inclusion) and racial Justice efforts in HGPS.
Some of the participant comments indicate:
- Desire and encouragement to make changes in HGPS leadership, membership, and programming to improve Racial Justice/DEI within HGPS and its surrounding communities
- Uncertainty as to how HGPS can actualize Racial Justice/DEI efforts
- Fear and ambivalence towards making changes
Committee recommendations include:
- Conducting a racial climate survey of HGPS members
- Having the racial justice assessment interpreted by an outside party
- Comparing surveys between BIPOC members vs. those that identify as white, white-presenting and European descent
- Analyze demographic metrics for recruitment, retention, and withdrawals of HGPS members
- Hire a consultant to help HGPS develop the tools and knowledge to improve DEI and Racial Justice in the organization.
- Create targets of recruitment for BIPOC clinicians for Board and membership
From here, HGPS President Valorie George says HGPS must ponder key questions that include:
- Is the organization ready to devote funds to make changes?
- How does HGPS discover what membership wants from the organization and can we partner with a university to help us conduct our membership research?
- What kind of organization do we want to be?
- What are our metrics to measure whether we’ve reached our goals?
The future of any organization can rely on scrutinizing the past and present while finding a new path into the future. Hopefully, the pot at the end of the rainbow will be diversity that is worth its weight in gold.