Conversations about controversial topics can be difficult, painful, and emotionally charged. This user-friendly guide will help you engage in effective, compassionate discussions with family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers about race, immigration, gender, marriage equality, sexism, marginalization, and more.
We talk every day—and we often do it without thinking. But, as you well know, there are some things that are harder to talk about—especially issues pertaining to politics, culture, lifestyle, and diversity. If you’ve ever struggled in a conversation about a “controversial” topic with a loved one, work colleague, or even a stranger, you know exactly how uncomfortable and heated the discussion can become. And even if you are one of the lucky few that expresses themselves eloquently, how do you move beyond mere “lip service” and turn words into actionable change?
This groundbreaking book will show you how to get to that important next level in difficult conversations, to talk in an authentic and straightforward way about culture and diversity, and to speak from the heart with tools from the head. Using a simple eight-step approach, you’ll learn communication strategies that are supported by research and have been practiced in classrooms, work meetings, therapy sessions, and more.
We constantly hear about friends and colleagues whose family members are not speaking to each other because of different political opinions, who’ve exchanged words that have mutually offended one another. If silence is one end of the continuum and verbal conflict anchors the other, how do we reach a middle ground? How do we take part in the “in between” spaces where both parties can speak and listen?
With this book as your guide, you’ll learn to navigate these difficult conversations, and take what you’ve learned beyond the conversation and out into the world—whether it’s through politics, social justice movements, or simply expanding the minds of those around you.
Reviews and Endorsements:
“We are confronted with a historic choice between falling backwards into nationalism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia; or moving forward as a multicultural society built on mutual respect, equality, and the widest possible participation in shaping better social arrangements. Kim and del Prado, in a gentle, loving tone that encourages honesty, empathy, and risk-taking, provide much-needed counsel as well as attainable steps that will greatly help us transcend what divides us, grow fulfilling personal relationships, and advance the struggle for social justice. It’s Time to Talk (and Listen) is extremely wise and entirely timely.”
—Terry A. Kupers, MD, MSP, professor emeritus in the department of psychology at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA, and author of Solitary
“It’s Time to Talk (and Listen) deals with clashes in cultural values, incivility, interpersonal conflicts, and communication difficulties. The authors, Anatasia Kim and Alicia del Prado, have written an impressive guide to overcoming the dilemmas experienced by people in an increasingly diverse and varied environment. Through personal examples, case studies, and cognitive behavioral notions, they outline tools to enhance one’s well-being and functioning. Step-by-step exercises and lessons are presented that clearly outline a systematic way to help oneself. The book is straightforward, engaging, and sensible. It has the potential for improving the lives of those who want to more effectively function in our diverse society.”
—Stanley Sue, PhD, distinguished professor emeritus at Palo Alto University, and distinguished professor emeritus at University of California, Davis
“At a time when our country is more polarized than ever, with deeply felt traumas, fears, and pain preventing us from empathizing with opposing viewpoints, Anatasia Kim and Alicia del Prado’s intentional approach to bridging these divides is vital. In It’s Time to Talk (and Listen), the authors rightly emphasize the need to attend to one’s own emotional reactions, to allow for an openness to another’s truth. With this, they bring hope for a more just, less divided, and more authentically connected society.”
—Monika Parikh, MA, MPA, BS, cofounder and board president of Partnerships for Trauma Recovery
“This is a must-read for anyone wanting to have productive conversations about culture and diversity. Kim and del Prado provide a step-by-step approach to engaging in ‘constructive conversations,’ using the Kim Constructive Conversations Model. This book is perfect for anyone who has struggled to manage awkward, possibly offensive comments at the dinner table, on the airplane, or in the office. A superb and timely contribution given the current sociopolitical climate.”
—Claytie Davis III, PhD, ABPP, director of training at the University of California, Berkeley, and chair-elect of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC)
“It was a pleasure to read this timely book, in which Kim and del Prado provide a thoughtful and practical framework for respectful, value-driven, and compassionate conversations about culture, diversity, oppression, and privilege. Blending theory, research, and engaging vignettes, the authors delineate a concrete and self-reflective approach for constructive dialogue that empowers us to participate in an authentic manner with diverse others about salient yet divisive topics. Doing so will deepen our understanding of other people, encourage us to embrace differences, facilitate individual and collective healing, foster genuine and close relationships, and lay the groundwork for greater equity and inclusivity.”
—Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD, ABPP, professor and chief psychologist at Emory University School of Medicine, and past president of the American Psychological Association
“Kim and del Prado are to be commended for their book, which represents the best of George Miller’s call to ‘give psychology away.’ They have provided a practical, step-by-step guide to difficult conversations regarding culture, race, and ethnicity. Using key principles derived from multicultural psychology, they have created a highly accessible guide grounded in the exploration of each user’s values, motives, and needs. This book should be studied by anyone who is interested in promoting constructive dialogues with coworkers, friends, acquaintances, and neighbors on potentially divisive topics. It is a very timely contribution given the current schisms within our society.”
—Frederick Leong, PhD, professor in the department of psychology and psychiatry, and director of the consortium for multicultural psychology research at Michigan State University
“Bravo to Kim and del Prado for clearly laying out pragmatic steps to navigate difficult conversations. This is a very timely book given the current sociopolitical context.… Their model gives us hope that we can cross multiple divides to see the humanity in others.”
—Steven R. Lopez, PhD, professor in the department of psychology and social work at the University of Southern California
“I admire and respect the intentions behind Anatasia Kim and Alicia del Prado’s It’s Time to Talk (and Listen). Constructive conversations about difficult topics are, by definition, very hard to have. Kim and del Prado, in my opinion, treat the ability to have such conversations as a skill that can be learned. The Kim Constructive Conversation Model revolves around the topics of culture and diversity, but the actual model can also be applied broadly to other challenging topics—subjects that we often avoid. Perhaps the most important takeaway for me, after reading this text, was the authors’ heartfelt belief that we can make difficult and painful situations better, especially surrounding diverging views on culture and diversity. And we can do this by following a model of sorts, one that is grounded in our own values and integrity. Thank you Anatasia and Alicia, for sharing your thoughts, suggested instruction, and explicit bias that we can all improve the way we deal with difficult topics.”
—David M. Lechuga, PhD, UCLA-trained clinical psychologist, former president of the California Psychological Association (CPA) and the Hispanic Neuropsychological Society, and current chair of the CPA’s Division of Neuropsychology
“For too long, dialogues on multicultural issues turn to debates, trying to prove why each person is right in their respective positions. What I love most about Kim and del Prado’s book is the use of their own lives to illustrate their eight-step approach, while situating ALL readers to examine our own ‘stuff’ as we attempt to honor ourselves while listening to others. The book is practical, with case examples and reflective exercises that can be used by anyone. I love the book’s capacity to serve as a model for constructive conversations both within and outside academia. It is accessible, and while an easy read, they challenge us to look beyond simple solutions and Band-Aid approaches to difficult dialogues. Not an easy task, but a necessary one if we are to truly affirm the humanity in others.”
—Miguel E. Gallardo, PsyD, professor in the department of psychology; and program director of Aliento, The Center for Latina/o Communities at Pepperdine University
“Kim and Prado create a safe space to examine one’s authentic self without first having to apologize for gender, ethnicity, identity, cultural norms, or economic status. In doing so, the reader is invited to journey inward, and peel away layers of self by identifying intentions, exposing obstacles, and clarifying principles that inform how we act on or react to conversations that may make us uncomfortable. It is through the examination of the nuanced self, that the authors are then able to guide the reader on a path to constructive communication with others.”
—Irene St. Roseman, EdD, cofounder/head of school, Oxford Day Academy
About the Authors:
Anatasia S. Kim, PhD, is tenured associate professor at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. She received her BA in psychology from UC Berkeley, and her PhD in clinical psychology from UCLA. She is a National Ronald McNair Scholar and the recipient of number of awards, including an American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship, Okura Mental Health Fellowship, and APAGS Guardian of Psychology Award. In addition to teaching, she has a private practice in Berkeley, CA, specializing in treating adolescents/young adults with anxiety disorders, depression, and neurocognitive deficits using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In recent years, she served as president of the Alameda County Psychological Association, chair of the California Psychological Association Immigration Task Force, and diversity delegate of the California Psychological Association. She has presented and published in the areas of cultural competence and training, pipeline for historically underrepresented students, immigration,advocacy and leadership, and women of color in academia.
Alicia del Prado, PhD, is tenured associate professor in the clinical psychology doctoral program at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. del Prado is also a licensed counseling psychologist and has a private practice in Danville, CA. She has published numerous journal articles and chapters on cross-cultural psychology, personality, acculturation, and ethnic identity, including the first enculturation scale for Filipino Americans. Due to her expertise in these areas, del Prado also provides consultation and trainings on multicultural issues to companies and colleges. del Prado is chair and co-founder of the Asian American Psychology Association’s (AAPA) Division on Asian Americans with Multiple Heritages, former co-chair of the Asian American Psychology Association’s Division on Filipino Americans, and past chair of the Women’s Issues Committee for the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology. In 2017, del Prado was awarded two leadership awards:the Alameda County Psychological Association’s Janet Hurwich Award and the AAPA Okura Community Leadership Award.