LACPA's 2015 Presidential Theme

Complexities of Culture
Gitu Bhatia, Psy.D.  

Photo of Dr. Gitu BhatiaAs the incoming president, it is my honor and privilege to lead this organization in the year ahead. LACPA has been a place for me to connect with a wide network of passionate and compassionate psychologists, students and other mental health and affiliated professionals. Through its many committees, special interest groups (SIGs), clubs, continuing education programs, and networking events, I have been able to share and learn from a vast knowledge base. This past year, at the State Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., I was impressed by the strength of our organization relative to many state organizations. Our strength is not only due to the large membership but also to the many benefits that support the varied interests and diverse needs of its members. 

Choosing a theme for this year was not a difficult task for me.

“Complexities of Culture” emerges organically from the many conversations I have had around the issue of diversity. I have taught cross-cultural psychology for several years and have Co-Chaired LACPA’s Diversity Committee. As a mono-ethnic, bi-cultural, and multi-faceted person with many personal and professional roles, I am reminded of the complexities inherent in the word “culture.”  The narrative around culture tends to get simplified to “ethnicity” and “race.” Clearly these are significant aspects of culture but complexities of culture encompasses each one of us and highlights the need for all of us to be culturally aware, sensitive and competent. I recently watched a TED talk titled “Danger of a Single Story.” Novelist Chimamanda Adichie states with great humility, Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. She tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. As psychologists, we have our own stories that may limit or prevent us from hearing the stories of others. It is my hope that we will share the complexity surrounding our increasingly diverse community of psychologists and the people who entrust us with the narrative of their lives.  It is my hope that we will share our stories to examine the complexity surrounding our increasingly diverse community of psychologists and the people who entrust us with their stories. 

I know that I have benefitted both professionally and personally from my active involvement in LACPA.  Over the past decade, I have observed and been inspired by very effective and passionate leaders and a competent and caring Board of Directors, interested in the organization evolving with the times. I would like to invite you, as the members of this dynamic organization, to help it in its evolution in ways that meet your personal and professional needs.  

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