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Addressing Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions in Therapy

Owen, Jesse ; Tao, Karen W. ; Imel, Zac E. ; Wampold, Bruce E. ; Rodolfa, Emil

Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2014, Vol.45(4), pp.283-290 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Addressing Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions in Therapy
  • Author/Creator: Owen, Jesse ; Tao, Karen W. ; Imel, Zac E. ; Wampold, Bruce E. ; Rodolfa, Emil
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: Alliance ; Cultural Competence ; Microaggression ; Psychotherapy ; Rupture
  • Is Part Of: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2014, Vol.45(4), pp.283-290
  • Description: Racial and ethnic microaggressions in everyday life can negatively impact the well-being of racial and ethnic minorities (REM). When microaggressions are perceived in therapy they can interfere with therapeutic progress. However, little is known about whether microaggressions are addressed in therapy and if so, does addressing them impact the therapeutic relationship. REM clients from a university counseling center ( n = 120) reported on their therapy experience. Approximately 53% of clients reported experiencing a microaggression from their therapist. Clients’ perceptions of microaggressions were negatively related to the working alliance, even after controlling for their current psychological well-being, number of sessions, and therapist racial and ethnic status. Of those clients who reported a microaggression, nearly 76% reported that the microaggression was not discussed. For those clients who experienced a microaggression and did not discuss it, alliance ratings were lower as compared with clients who did not experience a microaggression or who experienced a microaggression but discussed it.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0735-7028 ; E-ISSN: 1939-1323 ; DOI: 10.1037/a0037420