Research and Representation: A Conundrum for Behavior Analysts

Madelon Y. Bolling


Historically, populations of color have been ignored in psychotherapy research. Fortunately with growing awareness of social justice issues, funding institutions require proportional ethnic diversity in research samples. However, psychotherapy itself is a highly culture-bound mainstream phenomenon that generally ignores and thereby perpetuates issues of power. Minority individuals likely to participate in psychotherapy tend to be a highly acculturated subset. Non-acculturated peoples often perceive their problems so differently that "psychotherapy" is a nonsensical solution. Funding agencies' requirements that researchers recruit representative numbers of minority subjects may inadvertently amount to a campaign for cultural colonization, which is clearly unethical. Can behavior analysts tease out the issues and ethics involved? Is behavior analysis itself irrevocably culture-bound?

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility