School for Social Work
This study is intended to deepen and expand upon existing literature on cultural competence by offering a look at the views of White clinicians in the field who are working with communities of color, but who might not otherwise have thought about how they were engaging their clients and accounting for racial and cultural differences in their work. The project poses challenging questions and invites White clinicians to think honestly about salient issues around race, racism, culture, and ethnicity. One of its objectives is for the participants themselves, other clinicians, and readers of the thesis to think about how these issues might affect their work. For instance, whether or not taking an active stance around cross-cultural and racial matters has the potential to improve clinical practice and open dialogue as opposed to denying the presence of tensions which are considered by many to still be a very real impediment to cross-cultural and racial relationships in the US both in and out of the therapeutic context. The project is also meant to promote the notion that the responsibility for anti-racism and anti-oppression work lies with the oppressor or those who benefit from unearned privileges, and argues that this begins with building internal awareness as a step toward ameliorating these endemic problems. It is rare that readers and students of cross-cultural practice get an opportunity to hear the anecdotal and raw stories and thoughts of those who the field entrusts to practice cross-culturally. Through revealing the real practices of real clinicians we can understand how to build on and improve curriculum and research to better serve clients of color. This particular study focuses in on these issues as they pertain to the Latino community and therefore folds in a host of other issues such as the impact of language difference and immigration experience. Significant increases in the Latino population in the US are reflected in the mental health client population. Yet, currently there is not a sufficient number of Latino/a therapists to accommodate the number of Latino/a clients in need of services and these clients are frequently being paired with non-Latino/a therapists. The implications of this are that cross-cultural and racial therapy is inevitable.
Amato, Lisa C., "How white non-Latino/a therapists perceive and address racial and cultural differences when working with Latino/a clients" (2007). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.