Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Hispanic Americans-Mental health services, Cross-cultural counseling, Psychiatry, Transcultural, Bilingualism-Psychological aspects, Cultural competence, Spanish language-Study and teaching, Language services, Latino, Cross-cultural, Cross-linguistic, White


This study explored White mental health clinicians' provision of services in Spanish to Latino/a clients through exploratory interviews with thirteen clinicians. Participants were asked about their identities as White Spanish speakers and their motivations to provide services in Spanish. They were asked how clients, colleagues, and supervisors respond to them as White Spanish speakers. Challenging aspects of their work were explored, as were any instances in which they felt advantaged by their White identities. Finally, participants were asked about differences in the quality of care that they offer in English versus Spanish, and additional support or training that would help them improve the quality of the Spanish language services that they provide. The findings of this study suggest that White, Spanish-speaking clinicians see both opportunity and challenge in their work. They tend to find cross-linguistic, cross-cultural work challenging throughout their careers, with linguistic challenges being more central earlier in their professional development, and cultural challenges becoming more prevalent later on. Participants tended to receive appreciative and complimentary feedback from clients, peers, and supervisors. However, most indicated that the quality of services they provide in Spanish is lower than the quality of services they provide in English. Participants received most of their training specific to providing clinical services in Spanish independently of any formal clinical training or employer. They would benefit, as would the clients they serve, from increased opportunities for support and training specific to Spanish language work in their clinical training programs and in their agencies of employment.




iii, 177 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 155-158)