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Statement on Diversity

The Counseling and Mental Health Center is committed to the promotion and affirmation of diversity in its broadest sense. Our mission requires that people of every background be able to use our services with an expectation of respectful treatment. The professional ethics and standards of the various mental health disciplines represented at CMHC place a high value on the dignity and worth of individuals regardless of their gender expression and identity, ethnicity, race, sexual/affectional orientation, age, physical and mental abilities, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic class. Therefore, as part of their professional functioning, all staff members are expected to respect the dignity and worth of the individual, and to strive for the preservation and protection of fundamental human rights.

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A major goal of our agency is to maintain an atmosphere of respect and trust in which we feel free to explore and discuss our attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors in relation to others who are similar to and different from ourselves. As part of our service and training mission, we require of ourselves a commitment to work toward the recognition and elimination of prejudice and discrimination, especially those kinds which have traditionally affected mental health practice. In particular, prejudice and discrimination on the basis of gender expression and identity, ethnicity, race, sexual/affectional orientation, age, physical and mental abilities, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic class run counter to our professional ethics as an agency. Such prejudice and discrimination are detrimental to the practice of psychotherapy, supervision, training, consultation, developmental programming, and research; and to the development of effective colleagueship among staff members. We further emphasize that all staff members and trainees will fulfill the agency's expectation and their ethical obligation to accept and support the right of colleagues and clients to affirm a gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation and/or transgender identity.

As we strive to educate ourselves and others about the mental health issues of a pluralistic society, we recognize that an examination of personal prejudice and discrimination and their impact on our professional work is best accomplished within a climate of safety and respect. Therefore, staff members are expected to support each other in exploring their individual prejudices, and in cultivating positive attitudinal and behavioral change in one another. We also recognize that the promotion of diversity has an inherent tendency toward clashes in values and perspectives. Thus, continual examination and discussion of such conflicts are crucial for their effective resolution.

Counseling & Mental Health Center
The University of Texas at Austin
Adopted December 5, 1991
Revised September 14, 2007

CMHC Diversity Plan

The Counseling and Mental Health Center's ("CMHC") mission and values along with its Statement on Diversity acknowledge that we live and work in a multicultural environment, and they commit CMHC to the promotion and affirmation of diversity in its broadest sense.

The Diversity Statement, adopted in 1991, reflects the importance of considering diversity issues as they relate both to the students we serve and to colleagues with whom we work, and charges the staff and trainees at CMHC with:

  • educating ourselves about diversity,
  • examining personal prejudice and discrimination and their impact on our professional work,
  • supporting each other in exploring individual prejudices,
  • cultivating positive attitudinal and behavioral change, and
  • having an ongoing examination and discussion about conflicts in values and perspectives.

Recognizing that the promotion and affirmation of diversity require continuing and consistent efforts to increase the cultural competency of CMHC, this Diversity Plan provides a framework for those efforts. As the work related to promoting and affirming diversity is on-going, the Diversity Plan is also a dynamic and evolving document that is expected to be re-evaluated and modified over time.

When the Diversity Statement was adopted, a Diversity Task Force was established to monitor the progress on meeting the diversity goals established in the Statement and to provide on-going diversity education activities. In 2009, the Diversity Task Force was renamed the Diversity Awareness and Education Committee (DAEC) to reflect its permanency, and it is charged with providing educational activities related to diversity for CMHC staff and trainees, insuring that the general ambiance of the Center is welcoming for all individuals, and making recommendations for implementing the goals of the Diversity Statement in practical ways. This Plan empowers the DAEC to continue to play a significant role in this regard and also recognizes that the responsibility for implementing the Plan lies with both CMHC administrators as well as all individuals who work at CMHC.

This Diversity Plan, as further detailed herein, provides three areas of focus: 1) providing continuing diversity education, 2) promoting staff and trainee diversity, and 3) maintaining an atmosphere that fosters continuing exploration and discussion of diversity. These core areas are viewed as the cornerstones of CMHC's efforts to expand its cultural competence and to provide a welcoming environment for students, trainees, and staff .

I. Provide Continuing Diversity Education

CMHC provides continuing education opportunities for all staff and trainees on diversity issues with the goal of continually improving the cultural competence of CMHC over time. CMHC will consistently provide educational activities based on the following guidelines:
  1. Educational activities insure that all staff and trainees understand the importance, value, and necessity of continually increasing knowledge, understanding and awareness of diversity.
  2. Educational activities assist staff and trainees in increasing their knowledge, understanding, and awareness of their own assumptions, values, and biases.
  3. Educational activities help staff and trainees increase their knowledge, understanding, and awareness of cultures and groups of people different from their own and promote interactions that foster mutual respect between individuals of differing backgrounds and abilities.
  4. Educational activities increase clinicians' ability to provide clinical services that are respectful of the culture and worldviews of all CMHC clients.
  5. Books and audiovisual materials related to diversity are added to the CMHC library for individual and group use.
  6. Information about outside educational activities, such as conferences and seminars, that relate to diversity issues should be disseminated to all staff and trainees as it becomes known.
  7. Diversity education activities are evaluated for effectiveness and satisfaction. Staff and trainees should be given a chance to provide individual suggestions and input regarding the educational activities to be presented.

II. Promotion of Diversity Within Staff and Trainees

As a mental health organization dedicated to meeting the needs of a diverse student population, it is important that our staff and trainees represent the type of diversity that exists within our student body. CMHC works to promote diversity within its staff and trainees, including administrative, clinical, program, and support staff in the following ways:
  1. In recruiting a pool of potential applicants, consideration will be given to the diversity of the CMHC staff and trainees, not only in the specific position being filled (administrative, clinical, program, or support staff) but in the overall diversity representation within CMHC.
  2. CMHC makes openings known and available to underrepresented populations.
  3. CMHC provides copies of the Diversity Statement to all applicants chosen for on-site interviews.
  4. CMHC orients all new staff and trainees regarding the expectations established for staff and trainees by the Diversity Statement, the Diversity Plan, and other policies and procedures related to diversity.

III. Creating an Atmosphere of Respect and Trust

CMHC creates an atmosphere of respect and trust through its policies, procedures, programs, and culture in which all individuals are free to explore and discuss diversity, multicultural, and cross cultural issues, and concerns within CMHC and in the UT community. This is done in the following ways:
  1. CMHC will continually work to improve its ambiance by maintaining and adding to CMHC's artwork that reflects various cultures, by providing reading materials that appeal to students from a variety of cultures, by creating inclusive website content, and by working to increase, in any other manner, the sense that all are welcome.
  2. CMHC provides an on-going way in which the students utilizing the Center are encouraged and able to provide input and suggestions for improvement of its ambiance.
  3. CMHC staff members and trainees who have concerns about the environment within CMHC as it relates to diversity are encouraged to share concerns with CMHC administrators or with the DAEC. Specific complaints about discrimination or prejudice should be handled in accordance with UT policies and procedures.
  4. CMHC actively incorporates feedback from its stakeholders (students, clients, staff, trainees, and others in the UT community) to improve the atmosphere and reputation of the Center with respect to diversity.
  5. CMHC collaborates with other departments and divisions of UT that work to promote and affirm diversity in the UT community.
  6. CMHC includes commitment to diversity as an element of annual employee performance evaluations.
  7. CMHC provides outreach to diverse and underserved groups.

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