Much of the power of psychotherapy comes from helping people let go of distorted and ineffective thinking in favor of a more effective and balanced approach. However, when we pathologize cognitions, this can be perceived as invalidating. Focusing on “cognitions” can be especially problematic when individuals live in oppressive environments that reinforce their beliefs. In this workshop, Enrique Neblett explores adaptations of cognitive behavioral therapy that encourage us to treat perceptions as situated in people’s lived experience. Dr. Neblett will illustrate this with research on the experience of African American males and females coming of age in a culture that generates stress and vigilance, and degrades health and mental health. This has wider relevance, too, for how we conceptualize “disorder” in what may be a normative response to an oppressive condition.
Enrique W. Neblett, Jr., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and Lab Director of the African American Youth Wellness Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Neblett’s research examines the link between racism and health in African American youth, and seeks to lay the foundation for culturally-informed interventions that promote mental health of racial and ethnic minority youth. He has published and taught on these and related topics. He serves as Assistant Editor for Emerging Adulthood and is Co-Director of Diversity Initiatives in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. He has been won numerous awards for excellence in teaching and mentoring.