Select Page

019 | Understanding Implicit Bias and Applying Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Improve Multicultural Competence in Mental Health Care

Preconference Workshops


D. Fredrica Brooks-Davis, Psy.D., and Fernando Garzon, Psy.D.



Approved For CE

Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, and Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU

Medical Doctors, Osteopathic Doctors, Physicians Assistants, Midwives, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners




Racism, prejudice, and discrimination are well documented in the literature as disparities experienced by marginalized groups. These disparities contribute to the lack of access to quality healthcare and mental healthcare services; housing; education, and employment (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001; Whaley, 2001; Gran-Ruaz et al., 2022). Different than overt racism and prejudice, implicit bias is connected to unconscious thoughts and beliefs that have the potential to lead to discriminatory actions and behaviors (Gran-Ruaz et al., 2022). During this workshop, a safe space will be created to explore the definitions of implicit bias, race-based trauma, prejudice, discrimination, etc. Case examples will be explored to foster experiential learning for psychologists, other licensed mental health professionals, medical professionals, and ministry leaders. In addition, this workshop will examine how to overcome prejudicial reactions when these are consciously recognized. Strategies applying acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) from a Christian worldview perspective will build mental health and medical professionals’ psychological flexibility to improve multicultural competence in these situations (Garzon et al., In Press; Lillis & Levin, 2014; Luoma, 2014). The neurobiological sequelae of racial trauma and their impact on processing biases and discrimination experiences will also be considered (Carter, 2007; Ford, 2020). This workshop explores implicit bias in an experiential manner that highlights its potential to lead to discriminatory actions. Further, the workshop addresses how to handle prejudicial reactions when these are recognized consciously using acceptance and commitment therapy from a Christian framework. Neurobiological aspects of racial trauma are also considered.

Learning Objectives

Define and provide examples of implicit bias, prejudice, race-based trauma, and race-based stress 
Identify examples of implicit bias, prejudices, and race-based trauma in the case examples provided or from a lived experience  
Apply ACT-based strategies when faced with intrapersonal prejudicial reactions so that client care is maintained and multicultural competency enhanced