Examining the Role of Culture in Psychotherapy

Despite the increased attention to the development of culturally sensitive clinical services, there continue to remain significant mental healthcare disparities in the U.S. We suggest that one explanation for these continuing healthcare disparities may be found in the difficulty the mental health field has had in conceptualizing how best to integrate cultural considerations into clinical work. Our approach conceptualizes cultural research into efforts that focus on therapist attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors; efforts that attempt to adapt existing interventions for different cultural groups; and efforts to develop culturally specific interventions de novo for particular cultural groups. We have written about each of these approaches.

Cultural competence and the working alliance in counseling
(PI: Sarmiento) [Recently completed]
This study is being conducted at seven different college counseling centers across the U.S. Its focus is the elucidation of the relationships among cultural competence, working alliance, and outcome in a sample of 120 cultural minority college students receiving college counseling services. We are currently writing up the results for publication.

The Family Coping Skills Program
(PI: Cardemil) [Recently Completed]
The FCSP is a novel depression prevention program that we developed for low-income Latina mothers. Because the FCSP was developed specifically for this population, we attend to issues of culture throughout the intervention. In particular, we integrate cultural factors into the structure of the program, the content of the program, and the delivery of the program. We have written up several papers from this work that describe our attention to cultural factors.