Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Urban poor-Mental health services-Evaluation, Urban poor-Social conditions, Poverty-Psychological aspects, Affective neuroscience, Countertransference (Psychology), Social pain theory, Social pain overlap theory, Matthew effect, Treatment selection, Treatment allocation, Social class, Inequality, Cumulative advantage


This study is a theoretical look at the intersection of neurobiology and analytic theory as it impacts clinician's decisions about treatment selection. Historically, it has been proven that clients who are poor do not receive the same level of care, attention and service as clients from "upper classes." These poorer clients do not have the same ability to compete for resources, therefore the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. This phenomena has been coined the Matthew Effect. This study is an attempt to find new and different ways of explaining the Matthew Effect phenomenon. What exactly are the forces behind the gap in services across social class stratifications? One possibility set forth by this writing is that neurobiology as described by Social Pain Theory and countertransference intersect and overlap leading to implicit bias and nonconscious reactions that determine a clinician's decision-making process.




iii, 60 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 56-60)