Effects of racial narratives in psychotherapists regarding Black Americans: A qualitative study

Glenn Damon Benson-Lewis (1998)

The effects of racial biases held by psychotherapists regarding their experiences with Black Americans were studied. The influences of family, community, peers, schools, media, and professional experiences were discussed with 20 Black and White doctoral level psychotherapists. Their perceptions of these influences were connected, by means of associations, to a review of their racial identity and interactions with Black Americans. The results indicate that the participants had racial biases that were significantly influenced by these variables. Participants' racial influences about Black Americans were not adequately addressed in their training or subsequent professional development. This void in their learning encourages racially biased interactions with Black American clients. These findings are consistent with psychotherapists' concerns about ethical and psychological impact of racially biased clinical relationships with Black Americans.