Clinical Toolkit: Providing Psychotherapy in a Contemporary Social Context

  • Kali D. CyrusEmail author
  • Asale A. Hubbard
Part of the Current Clinical Psychiatry book series (CCPSY)


How best is the mental health professional to provide psychotherapy that appropriately considers how the sociopolitical context outside the room influences the interpersonal dynamics between a provider and a patient of an underrepresented race? Psychotherapy stands out as one of the traditional forms of treatment for emotional distress, yet the extent to which its practice has adapted to fit the needs of minorities in a contemporary context is occasionally inadequate. Through the use of adapted case material, this chapter outlines the challenges posed when a history of institutional, interpersonal, and internal racism permeates treatment provided in the present by an individual who may or may not represent those systems of oppression. The current sociopolitical landscape characterized by disparities in access to care, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness is discussed. An explanation of the psychological theories that describe how racial identity develops, or fails to develop, within an environment of race-based inequity is provided. A case is made for the importance of racial identity development among mental health providers, with strategies to change attitudes, gain knowledge, and apply skills to effectively treat patients in a psychotherapeutic context.


Psychotherapy Identity development Self-concept Cultural formulation interview 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryYale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Vaden Health Center, Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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