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What is the Black Identity Development Model?

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What is the Black Identity Development Model and how does it relate to a real-world situation? How might that situation manifest itself in the therapeutic setting?

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This solution describes a Black Identity Development Model, and discusses how the model relates to real-life situations.

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1. What is the Black Identity Development Model and how does it relate to a real-world situation?

Research indicates that the Nigrescence model has been the primary means of investigating racial identity for people of colour in the counseling and psychotherapy profession (Vandiver, Cross, Worrell, & Fhagen-Smith (2002). Primarily, Black identity development models are based upon efforts to affirm Black racial identities. Regarding the Nigrescence model instead of viewing a Black identity in negative and social prescriptions that are rooted in racism and discrimination, the psychology of Nigrescence suggests that the Black person's identity is rooted in his or her blackness. As Ponterotto et al. (1995) note, the recognition of one's Black identity has the following focus: (a) significance to one's well-being, (b) his or her purpose in life, (c) sense of connection to other people of colour, (d) being accepted and appreciated, (e) respecting black culture, and (f) embracing the general black condition. The Nigrescence theory upon which the model is based was originally introduced into the literature (Cross's,1971), and later revised (Cross, 1991 as cited in Vandiver et al., 2002).

In the original Nigrescence theory (Cross, 1971) blackness was viewed as a part of a Black person's personal identity, and stated to affect the person's mental health functioning. For instance, if people of colour accepted being Black, they were assumed to be psychologically healthy and have high self-esteem. If, on the ...

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