White Therapist-Trainee Racial Identity Development, Self-Reported Broaching Styles, and Observed Broaching

Jason Feinberg

Major Professor: Lauren B Cattaneo, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Christianne Esposito-Smythers, Leah Adams

Online Location, Online
July 14, 2022, 01:00 PM to 03:00 PM


In order to provide culturally competent and responsive care, therapists must demonstrate the ability to initiate conversations about race and ethnicity with clients. However, White therapists often report that they do not broach race with clients of color. White Racial Identity Development (WRID) offers a theoretical framework for understanding how White therapist-trainees vary in their broaching behaviors, potentially offering targets for training, but the relationships among WRID, reported broaching styles, and observed broaching behaviors have not yet been examined empirically. This study tested the hypotheses that more advanced WRID would be associated with more advanced self-reported broaching styles and more observed broaching. We also explored the relationship between self-reported broaching styles and observed broaching. The sample consisted of 46 White-identifying therapist-trainees currently or recently enrolled in graduate school. Participants completed self-report measures and submitted audio-recorded responses for one “easier” and one “harder” video of a Black mock therapy client describing experiences of racism. Responses were transcribed and coded for broaching - explicit references to race, ethnicity, or culture. In line with our hypothesis, more advanced WRID was associated with more advanced self-reported broaching. Contrary to our hypothesis, more advanced WRID was not associated with more observed broaching. Participants who did not broach in response to the “easier” video believed that broaching was less necessary. In response to the “harder” video, participants who did not broach reported higher anxiety about broaching. Implications include greater focus on training White therapist-trainees to tolerate anxiety by gaining practice in gradually more difficult broaching contexts.