Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Cross-cultural counseling, Intercultural communication, Multicultural education, Social work with minorities, Ethnopsychology, Cultural competence, Clinical practice, Cross-racial therapy


This study explores the construct of cultural competence through clients' perceptions of treatment issues encountered when working with clinicians of a differing racial background. Utilizing interviews with twelve clients of color who had worked psychotherapeutically within cross-racial dyads, this exploratory study examines clients' experiences of treatment issues in this treatment context, clients' understanding of cultural competence in psychotherapy, and their suggestions for cultivating it in clinical practice. Participants were recruited from the San Francisco Bay Area of California and sat for an hour-long audio-taped interview during which prompts designed to elicit information regarding their past treatment experiences were given. The findings lend support to the urgency with which the mental health field currently emphasizes the importance of cultural competence, and illuminates a wide range of clinical practices and processes through which cultural competence can take shape. Participants' narratives also suggest that providing what a client perceives as culturally competent care is entirely possible, and sometimes has little to do with race or with level of cultural competence training. The study offers implications for practicing clinicians and outlines areas for further study in the growing cultural competence movement.




iii, 75 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 66-70)