Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

pp 1-9

Date: Latest Version

African Americans in Couple and Family Therapy

Name of Family Form

African Americans in Couple and Family Therapy

Synonyms

Black

Introduction

African Americans, unlike most ethnic groups who immigrated to America in search of freedom and equality, arrived involuntarily as slaves. Living in the shadow of slavery economically, politically, socially, and psychologically, African Americans often are misunderstood, stigmatized, and racially stereotyped as inferior. Due to a history of racism, discrimination, and lack of cultural understanding, African Americans are wary and underutilize mental health services. Also, disparate and inadequate treatment of African Americans has resulted in a culture of mistrust. As such, it is critically important that couple and family therapists develop knowledge of African American history and culture.

Failure to consider the historical trauma of slavery and the impact of race in African American clients’ experiences and presenting problems may cause couple and family therapists to conceptualize cases from th ...

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