Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Asian American therapists, Asian Americans-Psychology, Asian Americans-Ethnic identity, Asian Americans-Race identity, Cross-cultural counseling, Psychotherapists-Attitudes, Ethnicity-Psychological aspects, Race-Psychological aspects, Psychiatry, Transcultural, Ethnopsychology, Race, Ethnicity, Asian American psychotherapists-Attitudes


This qualitative study explores the perspectives of Asian therapists on how issues of race and ethnicity impact their clinical work with Asian clients and other clients of color. Ten Asian therapists from varying educational and professional backgrounds were interviewed about how the elements of racial similarity, racial difference, ethnic similarity, and ethnic difference may have influence on the relationships between them and their clients. Findings from this study confirmed previous studies regarding the positive impacts of racial and ethnic match on the therapeutic relationship between Asian therapists and Asian clients. As a small number of previous studies had indicated, this study's findings also revealed an increased use of self-disclosure by Asian therapists with Asian clients as well as the challenge of maintaining professional boundaries. Other significant findings included therapists' feelings of difference with ethnically similar clients, therapists' recognition of their own knowledge gaps regarding their Asian clients of different ethnicities, and the role of cultural and historical contexts in therapy relationships with ethnically different and racially different clients. This study's findings also pointed to other differences that remain salient in the context of racial difference. Finally, findings from this study revealed a feeling of isolation among Asian therapists as well as a desire for increased resources for both therapists and clients.




iii, 77 p. : ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 64-68)