live / 2021

Free Clinical Training for Psyhotherapists of Color

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by LOVS

Psychotherapists of color (PsyOC) have been historically, and are presently underrepresented in the fields of psychology and social work. This underrepresentation means there are not enough PsyOC to fulfill the mental health needs of clients of color. PsyOC also tend to have less post-graduate clinical training than their white counterparts. This is where LOVS steps in. LOVS will create a pilot program that provides free, trauma-focused clinical training to associate and licensed PsyOC, as well as practicum students.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Research reveals that racial minorities experience mental health issues at the same rate as whites, but they access mental health therapy at a much lower rate. Barriers to treatment, such as distrust in the mental health system in the US and scarcity of same-race therapists, are attributed to this disparity. The National Association of Black Social Workers support this notion, finding that Black/African Americans experience better treatment outcomes when paired with PsyOC. The problem of access to same-race therapists can be credited to the lack of trauma-focused trained PsyOC. In our recent hiring process at LOVS we received 100+ applicants but only 10 were PsyOC. Of those PsyOC, only 1 had post-graduate clinical training. On paper, white applicants often have more clinical training and are frequently chosen for jobs over PsyOC with little or no post-graduate training. This leads to less PsyOC in the field. This is the problem we seek to address by clinically training PsyOC.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

The problem identified in question 7 is directly related to the fact that these training interventions are expensive, and in fact are often cost prohibitive to new PsyOC. This cost as is illustrated in the budget section of this application. Having the worry of cost eliminated, we will be able to produce trauma-trained PsyOC. The pilot program LOVS is proposing is quite innovative and quite simple in nature. We want to train 16 PsyOC in at least 3 different mental health treatment interventions. The three that we have chosen are Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). The reason we have chosen these 3 interventions is because they are centered around treating trauma. At LOVS, we are trauma-informed and provide therapy through a trauma-focused lens and these three interventions are the top trainings as it pertains to trauma treatment. We believe that we can not only successfully provide this training, but we can continue the training for years to come utilizing the expertise and partnering with those who became certified in the year of the grant and thereafter. What is unique about our program is that we will provide this training for free, and require participants to give back to the community by volunteering at LOVS throughout the year and once certified in the above interventions, agree to provide one training to our next year’s round of PsyOC.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

LA County will be better when our work is successful because during the grant year we will provide training to 16 PsyOC. Without this training, many PsyOC candidates might be looked over for employment, but by receiving the training they will be much more competitive in the job market. The impact of training 16 PsyOC goes beyond the knowledge and experience gained by the PsyOC. Clients of color often prefer to be seen by a PsyOC, but there is a shortage of PsyOC in LA County. By training these 16 PsyOC, we are increasing the amount of PsyOC, thus allowing for more clients of color to be seen by someone that looks like them. The benefits of this grant will not end with the completion of this grant. We propose that once our 16 PsyOC are certified in the interventions, in years to come they will be committed to doing at least one training for free to future candidates of the program. We believe that what we invest with these 16 therapist will sustain the program for many years to come.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

This is a simple part of the application for us to write. We will measure success by the amount of PsyOC that will receive and complete training through LOVS. If all 16 PsyOC that are chosen to participate in this pilot program complete all 3 trainings, then we’ll have 100% success. All trainings will occur virtually. We have reached out to trainers from each of the 3 interventions and found out what they charge, which you’ll see in the budget section of this application. It’s our hope that we may be able to work out a deal with these trainers since we will have so many PsyOC being trained.If we are able to provide these trainings at a lower cost, then we will be able to increase the amount of PsyOC trained, which would give us over 100% success. We will also be able to measure the success of the pilot program for years to come because we know that the PsyOC trained will be able to fill the void allowing more clients of color to be seen by PsyOC. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Which of the live metrics will you impact?​

  • Social and emotional support
  • Mental illness
  • Access to mental health services

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT