Title

The experiences of marriage and family therapists of Asian descent and their perception of the practice and profession

Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Marriage and Family Therapy

Advisor(s)

Linda Stone Fish

Second Advisor

Linda Stone Fish

Keywords

Asian, Diversity, Marriage and family therapy, Therapists, Multiculturalism

Subject Categories

Family, Life Course, and Society | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

Abstract

Research in the marriage and family therapy field has done little to highlight the experiences of racial minority therapists, especially therapists of Asian descent, including both Asian and Asian American therapists in the U.S. This exploratory study is designed to gain a preliminary understanding of the perception and experiences of marriage and family therapists of Asian descent in the areas of training, practice and within the broader professional field. Thirteen marriage and family therapists of Asian descent who have worked in the field for over 5 years post-degree were interviewed. A qualitative methodological approach, namely the tradition of phenomenology, was used for the purpose of this research inquiry, and to organize and analyze the data. Experiences with training, practice and the field as a whole were presented, as well as strategies and approach to therapy and training. Several assumptions were experienced by marriage and family therapists of Asian descent in the field. Results from this study indicated that contextual factors, such as culture, family upbringing and immigration history, influence therapists' professional identity and experiences. Within the theoretical underpinnings of social constructionism and the multicultural perspective, the findings of this study were discussed. Implications for the field, training, and future marriage and family therapists of Asian descent were offered. The findings of this dissertation contribute to the knowledge and visibility of Asian and Asian American participations in the field, as well as to multicultural studies in the marriage and family therapy profession.

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