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Alternative Title

Bi-cultural subjectivity of therapists in clinical social work practice

Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School for Social Work


Asian American clinicians/therapists, Biculturalism, Interdependence, Emotions, Intersubjectivity


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the cultural subjectivity of Asian American clinicians and how their previous and current cultural experiences and worldviews enter into the intersubjective field in their work with clients. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 Asian American clinicians in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Thematic analysis provided a framework to identify patterns of meaning in the three constructs – immigration experiences and biculturalism, notion of self and others, and emotional life that were utilized as cultural elements to distill the cultural subjectivity of Asian American clinicians. Major findings reveal the variations in bicultural subjectivities and many participants’ struggles in feeling like one self in the spaces of their bicultural realities, the theme of an interdependent self (we-self) that is internalized, the social function of emotion in Asian culture and its contextual meaning, and the overall complexity of Asian American cultural identity. Implications for social work practice, education and research are discussed.


©2018 Rosie Yap. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




vi, 170 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 145-157)