School for Social Work
This study was undertaken to allow Latino immigrants who have lived undocumented in the U.S. and never received mental health services, describe their experiences in the U.S. and views of mental health services to an audience of mental health providers. Six men were interviewed individually. In addition to demographic questions, they were asked about their daily experience of being undocumented, how they related to non-Latinos, where they normally turned for emotional support, whether they would seek mental health services from a Latino or non-Latino clinician and what advice they would give the clinician regarding how to best help them. The findings were compared to guidelines for multi-cultural competency with Latinos, and the cultural concepts of familismo, personalismo and respeto emerged as important themes. The findings showed that the participants perceived life difficulties related to their immigration status, experienced both positive and negative relationships with non-Latinos, and tended to rely on community supports during difficult times. Most would seek counseling as a last resort and believed that a Spanish-speaking therapist, Latino or not, by virtue of being a trained professional, would be automatically helpful to them and interested in learning from them about their life circumstances as an immigrant.
McCoy, Maria Angelica., "Undocumented Latino immigrants' opinions on seeking counseling from non-Latino clinicians and their views of what would constitute culturally competent services" (2007). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.