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Examining pipeline issues in counseling psychology for Native trainees

Azarani, Michael C.

As scholars continue to advocate for more culturally commensurate approaches to psychotherapy (i.e., therapy that integrates or centralizes Indigenous healing) for Native people, questions arise as to whether or not White therapists should take part in administering such psychotherapies. One solution may lie in Native people providing psychotherapy to their own communities; however, many documented systemic barriers prevent Native students from entering graduate education and, thus, entrance into professional psychology. Given the emphasis on social justice, counseling psychology may provide Native students with culturally affirmative training that promotes the recruitment, retention, and graduation of Native students into the health service psychology pipeline. However, little research currently exists examining Native student's experiences in counseling psychology training programs. Therefore, the present study sought to fill this gap by exploring Native trainees' and Native early career psychologists' experience in their counseling psychology training by exploring the following question: What are the training experiences of Native counseling psychology trainees and Native early career psychologists? Additionally, the present study sought to answer two main sub-themes which included 1) What are the barriers to recruitment, retention, and graduation of Native counseling psychologists within counseling psychology? And 2) What strategies have Native students developed to manage and persist through such barriers within their program?