Does CBT Transcend Culture, Race, Gender, and Socioeconomic Status? Challenges We Face Working with People Who Identify with Multiple Marginalized Groups

Sue Bae, PhD Chair
CHicago, IL 
United States
Leah Horvath, PhD Presenter
Chicago, IL 
United States
Christopher Rector, PhD Presenter
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center
Chicago, IL 
United States
Sue Bae, PhD Presenter
CHicago, IL 
United States
Friday, March 29: 1:00 PM  - 2:00 PM 
Meeting Room Level 2 
Room: Mississippi 



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been the leading theoretical orientation in evidence-based treatments in clinical psychology. It has been used to treat various disorders including anxiety and depression not only in North America, but in other parts of the world and is widely believed to be an effective modality of treatment for most. However, people with multiple marginalized social identities present many treatment related challenges that may call some core aspects of CBT into question. For example, is CBT value neutral? Its emphasis on cognition, logic, rational thinking and verbal skills may favor the dominant culture. CBT proposes that one has the influential power on one's environment. One is in control of oneself and can choose to change. While this may be empowering for most clients, for those who are marginalized from the dominant culture on multiple levels may be a foreign concept that they cannot related to on a daily basis. Three panelists will discuss obstacles and barriers that clinicians who practice CBT face when working with people who identify with multiple marginalized groups and offer best practices strategies that may be helpful in providing culturally responsive CBT, especially when working with people who have been marginalized on multiple levels. The panelists will share successes and difficulties related to their clinical cases. The three cases are: a young Latina woman living in the US who presented with anxiety, depression, disordered eating, family issues, and questions about her sexuality and sexual orientation; an African American geriatric male who is in a Crisis/Integrated Health Care Milieu and receiving brief interventions of CBT for anxiety and depression. The focus of this case is on medical-units integrated health care practice which includes interventions of CBT techniques, Psychological First Aid, and rapidly marshaling psychosocial and health care resources to provide immediate hope and relief around marginalized patients including those who are isolated and/or residing in health care "deserts"; and a young transgender woman who is of Indian decent but has lived most of her life in the middle east before she started to attend college in the US who is currently going through her transition from male to female. Before her transition, she had identified as a gay man and she currently experiences a lot of anxiety about her identify. Utilizing these three unique clinical cases, the panelists will offer intervention strategies that may be important to consider when working with culturally diverse clients who have been marginalized on multiple levels. The audience who may be of all clinical experience level is encouraged to ask questions, share their experience with working with culturally diverse clients during the presentation.

Learning Objectives

1. Participants will learn how to identify problems in delivering CBT to clients with multiple marginalized identities.
2. Participants will learn how to overcome intervention challenges that may come up when treating people of color, transgender people, people of low socioeconomic status.
3. Participants will learn to apply and use culturally responsive CBT techniques and strategies when working with people who are marginalized. 

Audience Level





Diversity - Yes


60 minutes



Treatment Approach