Cutting-edge Behavioral Healthcare is comprehensively diverse …

Although it is widely held that paying attention to characteristics of diversity within service populations has important impact on outcomes, the inclusion of tangible applications in practice are often lacking. Even as behavioral health systems-of-care have made progress in identifying and addressing ethnic and other cultural health disparities, other areas of diversity have gone largely under-identified and under-addressed. One area in which this is particularly the case is that of developmental status, particularly with regard to attachment1 (secure or insecure, anxious or avoidant) and interrupted or stunted personality formation (the result of which are various personality disordered traits). Also helpful, yet rarely assessed, is the naturally occurring diversity of personality type2 (Myers-Briggs, Enneagram) and neurodiverse differences regarding sensory processing (nervous system sensitivity/HSP3 level) & learning styles4 (visual, auditory, reading/writing, kinesthetic, logical/analytical). The straightforward practices of universal screening, followed by meaningful client education, can go a long way toward clarifying what is, in fact, range-of-normal (though likely benefitting from growth in management skills), versus what is disordered or pathological and best addressed with corrective or healing interventions. Particularly with clients whose goals include the resolution or improved management of the target symptoms of anxiety or depression, distinguishing between what is genetically predisposed or “hard-wired,” and what has been learned as “software” that can be reprogrammed is mission-critical to helping individuals improve their quality-of-life and level-of-functioning.

1 Becker-Weidman, A., & Shell, D., Eds. (2008). Creating Capacity for Attachment: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Trauma-attachment Disorders. NY: The Center for Family Development.


3 Aron, E. (2010). Psychotherapy and the Highly Sensitive Person: Improving Outcomes for That Minority of People Who Are the Majority of Clients. London: Routledge.

4 Barnier, C. (2009). The Big What now Book of Learning Styles: A Fresh and Demystifying Approach. Bend, OR: Emerald Books.