Do Diversity & Intersecting Identities Matter in Mentoring Relationships?

I had the privilege today to be involved in a conversation hour sponsored by APAGS CARED (Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity) titled “Intersecting Identities in Academic and Clinical Settings.” The program was focused on engaging in conversations around mentoring approaches across diverDSC02080sity dimensions (e.g., age, ethnicity) and intersecting social identities (e.g., sexual orientation, socioeconomic status). According to Jamin Llamas, PhD, (one of the co-chairs of the session), the goal of the session was to provide a space for students and professionals to discuss “ways to introduce discussions around multiple identities and how they impact our clinical work and mentoring relationships.”

The session as well attended and I enjoyed the lively discussion. Using a world café style model (Brown & Issacs, 2005), participants discussed multiple topics, such as how to start conversations around multiple identities, what are key factors of mentoring that honor diversity, and what are ways to seek out culturally sensitive mentorship.

As an early career psychologist, I have had the opportunity to mentor students and supervise clinical trainees from diverse backgrounds. Being a part of this session allowed me to share my experience, as well as learn from others about ways to avoid  pitfalls. We can choose to admit it or not, but diversity and intersecting identities do impact our interactions. Some of the major themes highlighted at the end of the session included: an environment of mutual respect; openness and reciprocal vulnerability; safety; taking advantage of multiple mentors; and awareness of diversity. Given the needs of diverse students and the limited availability of mentors from diverse backgrounds in academic and clinical settings, having conversations about intersecting identities is highly relevant.



Brown, J., & Issac, D. (2005). The world café: Shaping our future through conversations that matter. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

This entry was posted in Diversity, Early Career, Grad Students by Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D.

I am a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown. I have been licensed as a psychologist in Maryland and Virginia. In addition to my clinial work, my research focuses on access to child mental health services, ethnic minority mental health, and cultural competency in clinical practice. You can learn more at

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