Manny Casas, an emeritus professor in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at the Gevirtz School at UC Santa Barbara, delivered the presentation “From Theory to Practice: Seeking to Better Understand Latino Families and Youth in Santa Barbara” at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s Psychiatric Grand Rounds Series on September 23. This presentation was aimed at helping persons in the helping professions, especially mental health workers, become more competent in their efforts to understand and work with Latino/a clients.
In the first part of the presentation, a demographic overview of Latinos/as in the U.S. and Santa Barbara, in particular, was provided. Special attention was given to the diversity that exists in this population. Next an outline of a theoretical basis for understanding the challenges of working with Latinos/as was provided. Finally, a framework that mental health workers can use to direct and drive their work with Latino/a clients was presented.
The goals of the presentation were to have the participants be able to:
* Identify the specific demographic characteristics that differentiate the Latino/a population.
* Identify problems and conditions that contribute to the social and mental health problems that confront the Latino/a population.
* Demonstrate familiarity with a theoretical approach that unifies theories of person, environment, and the helping situation and that can result in more positive therapeutic outcomes for Latino/a clients.
* Describe a framework that helping professionals can use to direct and drive their work with Latino/a clients, including identifying likely sources of both friction and possibility.
J. Manuel Casas, Ph.D., a native of Mexico, received his doctorate from Stanford University with a specialization in counseling psychology. He recently retired, after 38 years as a professor in the Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology Department at UC Santa Barbara. He has published extensively (over 145 publications). He is the co-author of the Handbook of Racial/Ethnic Minority Counseling Research and is one of the editors of the three editions of the Handbook of Multicultural Counseling. He has served on numerous editorial boards including The Counseling Psychologist, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Applied Developmental Science, and Psychology of Men and Masculinity. His most recent research and publication endeavors have focused on Hispanic families and children who are at risk for experiencing educational and psychosocial problems, including drug and alcohol abuse. His research in this area gives special attention to the resiliency factors that can help Hispanic families avoid or overcome such problems. For the past 15 years, he has been the only Hispanic mental health commissioner on the Santa Barbara County Mental Health Commission.
Dr. Casas served as the first chairperson of APA’s Division 17 Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs and President of Division 45 Presently he is a member of the Committee on Children, Youth, and Families. He has been honored as a fellow of APA Division 17 (Counseling Psychology), Division 45 (Society for the Study of Ethnic Minority Issues), and of the Rockefeller Foundation. For all of these accomplishments, Dr. Casas was honored as a distinguished scholar in the field of Chicana/o Psychology by the Julian Samora Research Institute at the 1998 Innovations in Chicana/o Psychology conference at Michigan State University.
[Manny Casas is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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