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Do therapists address differences in cross -cultural psychotherapy?

Aprile C Maxie, University of Massachusetts Amherst


There is evidence that cultural difference between client and therapist affects psychotherapy process variables and treatment outcome. However, little is known about what dialogues are taking place in psychotherapy dyads regarding therapist-client difference. The current study examined to what extent therapists engage in discussions of difference with clients who are ethnically and racially dissimilar. Seven hundred and seventy-four psychologists, who are members of the APA, responded to a mail survey on this topic. The results suggest that a majority of psychotherapists (85%) are having discussions about difference, and these discussions are taking place with less than half (43%) of their cross-cultural clients. In the survey, therapists reported they were more likely to initiate these dialogues than clients, although the gap is not particularly large. Several group differences were identified. Women therapists were more likely to participate in these dialogues than men therapists. Minority respondents were less likely to initiate discussions of differences than White and European American respondents. The less experience therapists had in working with diverse clients, the more likely they were to have these discussions. A majority of respondents reported finding these discussions facilitative to the therapeutic process and they also perceived themselves as being comfortable and skilled in this area. Several limitations of the current study are identified, and directions for future research are discussed.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Maxie, Aprile C, "Do therapists address differences in cross -cultural psychotherapy?" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3056258.