For clinicians, is important because this suggests that each person has a unique experience and interpretation of the stress and discrimination events happening in their lives. By extension, the impact of these events on an individual’s physical health and mental health will vary and depend on their identity and the resources they have to cope with these events.

This highlights the significance of understanding a client’s presenting concerns within the context of their lived experience.

Intersectionality is also important to consider because of the differences in lived experiences that can exist between a client and clinician. In fact, North America often sees significant differences in demographics between clinicians and their diverse client base. 

Indeed, this is one reason that the often encourages cultural competency training for psychologists. Click here for a list of resources provided by the CPA on working with refugee and immigrant people in Canada, following the Syrian refugee crisis.

In one example, a survey of counselling psychologists in Canada stated that, although clinicians often provide counselling from diverse theoretical perspectives (e.g. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy), an area of improvement includes engaging with on-going cultural competency training to gain knowledge around diverse identities, and to provide services to underserved minority groups.