Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Social stigma is consistently mentioned in the literature as one of the barriers
preventing Latinos from seeking, accessing and remaining in mental health care. This
study focuses specifically on social stigma as a barrier to remain in psychotherapy.
Social stigma is understood as the internalized fear of severe social disapproval for
behaving against acceptable cultural meaning systems. With intersubjective theory as
the analytical framework, this study primarily explores, through a series of focus groups
with Latino mental health service providers of Latino clients, the perceptions those
practitioners have regarding the influence of social stigma on the therapeutic
relationship and the ways they address this issue in their practice. The constant
comparison method from a grounded theory perspective and the software NVivo, as an
auxiliary, were used for data analysis. It was found that social stigma is perceived by
participants as inextricably linked to the engagement process. It is not seen as playing a
significant role in the dropout of clients from therapy. Participants see themselves as
responsible for engaging their clients and eventually addressing any barriers they may
bring to the therapeutic encounter, including social stigma. The most common
strategies reported by participants to fulfill these responsibilities are the use of flexible
boundaries when interacting with clients, and the use of psychoeducation to inform
them about the meaning and implications of the therapeutic process. Participants strongly recommend the use of groups as a therapy modality for effectively engaging
clients and addressing the issue of social stigma.
Cifuentes, Mauricio Jose, "The Impact of Social Stigma on the Therapeutic Relationship for Latino Clinicians: The Elephant in the Room?" (2010). Dissertations. 259.
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Copyright © 2010 Mauricio Jose Cifuentes