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Interpretative phenomenological study of the counselling/therapy experiences of Hispanic/Latino clients with English-speaking therapists

Padilla-Leon, Maria Amparo (2017). Interpretative phenomenological study of the counselling/therapy experiences of Hispanic/Latino clients with English-speaking therapists. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The underutilization of mental health services by ethnic minorities has been a growing concern in research and clinical practice. This is of increasing importance for Hispanic/Latinos in the United Kingdom due to the rapid growth of this population. Further, there seems to be a paucity of research about the mental health needs and service utilization among Hispanic/Latinos in the U.K. In response to the dearth of literature for naturalistic studies of counselling/therapy with this population, this research adopted a qualitative approach using semistructured interviews with 10 Hispanic/Latino, Spanish-speaking participants, exploring their individual counselling experiences with English-speaking therapists. Interviews were analysed using the guiding theoretical framework of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). Four master themes emerged: a) “Emotional Expressiveness”, b) “Cultural Competence or Encapsulation”, c) “The Healing Presence”, d) “Cultural Liberation or Formulation”. Each master theme yielded super-ordinate themes illuminating different aspects of the participants’ experiences. The findings were discussed in relation to participants’ ability to communicate and emotionally express and overall experiences of their therapists’ attitudes towards them, their problems and cultural differences, particularly, cultural awareness and sensitivity. The findings provided insight into how participants’ cultural values impacted the development of rapport and overall counselling experiences with their English-speaking therapists. It is hoped that the findings will be considered within both counselling/therapy settings and potentially more broadly in educational contexts, to enhance awareness and practice of a culturally sensitive approach for these clients. Efforts to reach the Latino population, implications for clinical practice and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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