Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Embracing Community Cultural Wealth
Hispanic Heritage Month, observed from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, is a time to honor Hispanic and Latino communities’ rich and diverse cultural contributions. This period was chosen because several Latino countries have their Independence Day Celebrations, including Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. Beyond traditional celebrations, this month also provides an opportunity to delve into the “Community Cultural Wealth” concept and how it uniquely enriches our society.
Community Cultural Wealth
Yosso (2005), an education scholar, introduced the concept of “Community Cultural Wealth” as a framework to recognize and value the cultural assets and strengths of marginalized communities. Cultural Wealth as defined by Yosso (2005, p. 77) is the “array of knowledge, skills, abilities, and contacts possessed and utilized by Communities of Color to survive and resist macro-and-micro forms of oppression.” This framework acknowledges that these communities possess not only economic but also social, aspirational, linguistic, familial, and navigational capital that enriches society. Yosso’s concept can help EMDR therapists to better serve marginalized communities by recognizing and acknowledging their strengths and resources (Levis, 2017).
- Social Capital: Hispanic communities often emphasize strong family bonds and tight-knit networks, which can provide valuable social support and connections.
- Aspirational Capital: A focus on education and aspiration for a better life is a common theme within Hispanic families, contributing to the community’s drive for success.
- Linguistic Capital: Bilingualism and multilingualism are assets that open doors to cross-cultural communication, enhancing opportunities for connection and understanding.
- Familial Capital: Family is central to Hispanic culture, serving as a source of emotional support and resilience in the face of challenges.
- Navigational Capital: Communities draw from their experiences and collective wisdom to navigate systems and institutions, making them more adaptable and resilient.
How can EMDR therapists celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
EMDR therapists can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by intentionally using the lens of Community Cultural Wealth to identify internal and external resources in their clients. EMDR therapists can do this by strengthening individual resources and broadening the focus to the community. “The acknowledgment and installation of the client’s visible and undervalued resources restores the client to a more empowered version of himself. This in turn strengthens the therapeutic alliance, creating a healthy foundation for the desensitization and reprocessing of trauma” (Levis, 2017).
Levis (2017) proposes some questions to reveal community cultural wealth, such as:
- During the most challenging times, how did you keep going? What made you so determined to survive such difficult circumstances?
- Are there people whose dreams depend on you continuing to walk this path or for whom you are a role model?
- When your familia would gather for happy occasions, who are some of the people you always looked forward to spending time with?
- If you could magically bring one person from your familia [or friends] to be here with you right now, who would that be?
- What are some ways to acknowledge and honor the resiliency that has allowed you to navigate your journey?
Hispanic Heritage Month is more than a cultural celebration. It is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the diverse forms of wealth that Hispanic and Latino communities bring to our society. By embracing the concept of Community Cultural Wealth, we not only honor the past and present contributions but create a more inclusive and enriched therapeutic experience.
Levis, R. V. (2017). Placing Culture at the Heart of EMDR Therapy. In Nickerson, M. I. (Ed.), Cultural Competence and Healing Culturally-Based Trauma with EMDR Therapy: Innovative Strategies and Protocols (pp. 97-112). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.
Levis, R. V., & Siniego, L. B. (2017). An Integrative Framework for EMDR Therapy as an Anti-Oppression Endeavor. In Nickerson, M. I. (Ed.), Cultural Competence and Healing Culturally Based Trauma with EMDR Therapy: Innovative Strategies and Protocols (pp. 79-96). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.
Yosso, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 8(1), 69-91. https://doi.org/10.1080/1361332052000341006
- Blas, Terry. You Say Latino: A Mini Comic. Vox. https://www.vox.com/2015/8/19/9173457/hispanic-latino-comic
- Blossom, P. It’s More Important Than Ever to Remove the Stigma Around Latinx Mental Health. Oprah Daily. https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/health/a29518665/latinos-mental-health-stigma/
- EMDRIA. (2021). What Should EMDR THerapists Know About Hispanic or Latinx Populations? Focal Point Blog. https://www.emdria.org/blog/what-should-emdr-therapists-know-about-hispanic-or-latinx-populations/
- EMDRIA. (2022). EMDRIA Members Respond: Identity and Heritage Representation for Hispanic Heritage Month. Focal Point Blog. https://www.emdria.org/blog/emdria-members-respond-identity-and-heritage-representation-for-hispanic-heritage-month/
- Flores, V., & Irias, E. Lifting Latinx: A Primer About Working Effectively with the Hispanic and Latino Population, Ep. 129. Clearly Clinical Podcast. https://clearlyclinical.com/podcast/ceu-therapy-hispanic-latin-community
- Garcia, K. Why Latinos can benefit from a culturally competent therapist, and how to find one. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2021-12-29/how-to-find-a-culturally-competent-mental-health-professional
- Gomez, Shirley. Bilingual Mental Health Resources for the Latinx Community. Hola! https://us.hola.com/lifestyle/20210917g2gerzsos3/bilingual-mental-health-resources-for-the-latinx-community/
- Harris, H., Urdaneta, V., Triana, V., Vo, C. S., Walden, D., & Myers, D. (2018). A pilot study with Spanish-speaking Latina survivors of domestic violence comparing EMDR & TF-CBT group interventions. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 6(11), 203-222. Open access: https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.2018.611015
- Health and Human Services. National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 Fact Sheet. Office of Minority Health. https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/hispanic-heritage-month/
- Hinojosa, Maria. From Invisible to Visible: TedxPennsylvaniaAvenue. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAucrEPi4sM
- Latino USA. Podcast. https://www.latinousa.org/
- Manrique, J. (2017). Therapy used for U.S. veterans finds success among traumatized immigrants. Center for Health Journalism. https://centerforhealthjournalism.org/fellowships/projects/therapy-used-us-veterans-finds-success-among-traumatized-immigrants
- Natural History Museum. Beyond Gender: Indigenous Perspectives, Mapuche. NHMLAC. https://nhm.org/stories/beyond-gender-indigenous-perspectives-mapuche
- Natural History Museum. Beyond Gender: Indigenous Perspectives, Muxe. NHMLAC. https://nhm.org/stories/beyond-gender-indigenous-perspectives-muxe
- Piech, E. Fuerza: LGBTQ Latinx Youth Speak Their Truth. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P5knjMj-64
- Rodriguez, N. Intersectionality & Latinx as Digital Disruptions of Identity. TEDx. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUqqgMkC2T8
- The Hispanic Star. Infographic on Latino Mental Health. https://hispanicstar.org/resources/
- Wylde, A. Elles: Being Non Binary and Latinx. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-ccuUFF-Ts
General Resources for Mental Health Therapists
If you are a therapist interested in the EMDR training, visit our EMDR Training & Education tab:
If you are EMDR trained:
- Learn more about EMDRIA membership
- Search for Continuing Education opportunities
- Check out the EMDRIA blog, Focal Point
If you are an EMDRIA Member: