On Wednesday, March 13, the Pro Bono Counseling Project (PBCP) hosted a workshop, “Cultural Competence and Working with Interpreters”, at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center in Columbia, MD. Kelly Macias, PhD, from Cross Cultural Communications, led the program for over 50 mental health clinicians. Attendees received 6 CE credits for attendance.   

Dr. Macias led attendees through topics ranging from the need of culturally responsive mental health to demonstrating effective skills for working with in-person, telephone, and video interpreters. The training included engaging hands on activities, opportunities for questions and discussion, and networking opportunities.

One participant observed that it was, “Helpful to connect language access with cultural competence as one cannot effectively exist without the other.” Another participant stated that, “Learning about working with interpreters helped me to gain a better understanding on how that process works. I feel more confident asking for an interpreter if needed.”

PBCP  received funding from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) through the Victims of Crime Act Grant Program to provide interpretation services to Limited English Proficient clients, and to present this workshop. PBCP is grateful that GOCCP has recognized language services and culturally appropriate counseling services as an important issue in Maryland. Through this grant, we are able to offer free, trained interpreters who can attend counseling appointments.

Over 10% of of PBCP clients speak a  primary language other than English, and clients come from a variety of racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds (45% of clients are Black or African-American, 35% are White, 5% are Asian, and 15% are multi-racial or another race; additionally, 20% are Latino of any race). It is extremely important that volunteer clinicians who provide free counseling through  Pro Bono Counseling are able to work with clients from diverse backgrounds. 

Throughout the year, the PBCP offers 6-8 continuing education workshops.  These workshops are free for active volunteers; other clinicians are able to participate for a fee.

To find out more about the Pro Bono Counseling Project’s upcoming events, visit our events page here.

Are you interested in enrolling with Pro Bono Counseling Project as a volunteer clinician? Click here.

Would you like to donate to the Pro Bono Counseling Project, to ensure we can continue to provide free counseling to Marylanders with limited resources? Click here!