The Lived Experiences of Therapists Working With Racially-Inflicted Individuals & Groups, Research Paper Example
Words: 2747Research Paper
Counselors form a critical contact point in addressing the social issues individuals and groups face within the community. They offer services such as psychotherapy that are tailored to address the needs and disparities of different individuals in the community. Racism, in particular, is one of the most prevalent issues in the U.S., facing blacks, indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC). Therapists that deal with trauma-related racial events have gained massive experiences that inform their current practice. Finding out the lived experiences of these therapists is crucial and forms the topic of research. The research process is structured as a qualitative analysis. The research participants are the therapists working in minority neighborhoods such as black, indigenous, and Latino communities. They need to have at least a two-year track record of working with clients. An essential data collection instrument within the study is the use of interviews. Another essential instrument during the study is the informed consent form; it is used to gain permission from the therapists before including them in the study. Thematic data analysis is utilized to generate pertinent findings from the research process. The findings from the research generate relevant information on the lived experiences of therapists working with racially-inflicted groups.
Keywords: Racism, counselors, therapists, BIPOC, qualitative
Counseling is a psychological process in which a patient is guided depending on their case history and presenting problems, with the ultimate aim of resolving or alleviating their problems. Counseling requires forming relationships between counselors and their patients (Elliott et al., 2018). The counseling session can occur between the counselor and an individual or between the counselor and a group of people; the former is known as individual therapy, while the latter is group therapy (Coco et al., 2019). Counselors provide an essential service to society; they address social issues within the community, such as poverty, racism, discrimination, and brutality. Due to unique situations that people face within a community, counselors tend to become specialists in a particular area. For instance, a counselor offering psychotherapy in a Latino community is likely to encounter numerous issues involving immigration and family separation (Walsdorf et al., 2019). The insight gained by these ‘specialist’ therapists is of critical importance to addressing the societal issues facing the community. Racism is an important issue addressed by counselors during their psychotherapy sessions. Minorities in the U.S. still face discrimination, which leads to the experience of problems such as lack of opportunities, depression, poverty, and anxiety, among other issues (Shih et al., 2019). Counselors need to be versed in the appropriate skills to address the needs of these individuals. The study will focus on the lived experiences of counselors who deal with issues of racism with their clients. The findings from the research are expected to generate tremendous insights that will lead to the improvement of the counseling profession as a whole. The lived experiences of therapists dealing with racism issues is a contemporary topic that needs to be addressed.
Addressing cultural factors to treat racist experiences
Miller et al. (2018) discovered a lack of suitable guidance to therapists when dealing with minority people suffering from issues associated with racism. Many therapists were left to deal with their clients in a non-specific manner, which led to variable outcomes for the patients. The researchers unearthed eight recommendations that were suited to dealing with issues of racism. The first issue was psychoeducation, where individuals were expected to benefit from extensive psychotherapy. The second issue involved self-awareness, where the psychotherapists needed to create massive awareness among the involved people. The third issue was critical consciousness, where the therapists needed to be immersed in addressing the thought process of their clients. The fourth issue was validation, which entailed the clients getting external validation from the therapist about the existence of the racial issue. The fifth issue had to do with the efforts of the therapists to minimize self-blame by the clients. The sixth one was an outreach program where counselors were expected to seek out the people who suffer from racism with the aim of addressing their concerns. Seventh, therapists needed to provide culturally sensitive support to their clients’ specific needs and, lastly, encourage the clients to develop a positive identity about themselves.
Another research by Comas-Díaz et al. (2019) focused on the racial outcomes of people experiencing racism. The most affected individuals were the people of color and indigenous individuals (POCI). These people suffered from significant stress levels and presented their problems in varied ways. Some were prone to violence, while others had the tendency to embarrass themselves in public. There were some who threatened to harm or injure others and themselves. Psychotherapists dealing with such individuals need to develop vast skills to meet the needs of these clients. Further, their lived experienced are different due to the constant bombardment with racial issues. The researchers recommended that psychotherapists dealing with racial issues use culturally sensitive care that had the potential of increasing the quality of care. They were also urged to utilize the relevant public policy procedures to inform their treatment choice. This undertaking would elevate the quality of care offered to their clients.
The other research by Metzger et al. (2020) identified African Americans as the main victims of racism. It was their skin color that made them easily targeted. As a result, these individuals often suffered from inter-personal issues such as trauma and the recall of racist experiences. These individuals often have poor mental health outcomes that are difficult to improve. The problems faced by these individuals were increased by the fact that they could not access competent treatment for their condition. The phenomenon is because most therapists did not utilize a cultural approach to address the issues faced by their clients. The racial encounter coping appraisal merged with the socialization theory was determined to be suitable in understanding the needs of African Americans. Racial socialization was found to be essential in transmitting values and culture that allowed the African Americans to heal from their racist experiences.
Other healing modalities for racism
Adames et al. (2022) proposed that therapists need to utilize radical approaches when dealing with the issues of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) when dealing with racism. Despite recognizing the importance of cultural-sensitive care, the researchers proposed that therapists develop a critical consciousness of racism to interlock the various forms of oppression in society. The approach requires the therapists to exhibit radical hope when dealing with BIPOC people struggling with trauma-related racism. Proposing to them positive outcomes will ensure the improvement of these clients. The therapists also need to show collectivism by supporting their clients and recognizing their issues. Further, the therapists need to look to develop strength and resilience in their clients such that they are better equipped with any future experience with racism. Developing critical consciousness is essential for therapists dealing with racism.
Experiences of white therapists dealing with racism
Drustrup (2020) recognized the presence of white therapists who engaged in treating trauma-related racism. White therapists encountered a substantial ethical dilemma when dealing with racism, especially when race and racism enter their professions, such as in politics. It leads to massive challenges experienced by therapists working to address racism. They need to be strong enough to resist the temptation to revert their standard. The therapists are also encouraged to protect client autonomy while having much self-determination to protect the interests of their clients. These therapists also need to know how to relate with other therapists that hold racist views. The situation presents a complex learning environment for the therapists, which calls for radical approaches to addressing racism.
Nightingale et al. (2019) explored the cumulative experience of racism among African Americans that led to a massive strain in their relationships. The researchers made the findings that white therapists working with black clients need to develop empathy when addressing their issues. They also need to be aware of their privileged position and be careful not to offend their African American clients. Treating these patients is often a balancing act that needs a lot of cultural awareness from the white therapists. Issues such as gender-role expectations and norms within the black community need to be thoroughly understood by white therapists. As such, white therapists looking to address the racial needs of African Americans will need to invest more time learning about the culture and experiences of their clients. This outlook will enable them to provide appropriate and culturally-sensitive care.
Hypothesis or Predictions
The generation of relevant research questions is critical in guiding the topic in the right direction. The following research questions will be used for the study:
- What are the lived experiences of therapists working with issues to do with the racism against their clients?
- Can therapists offer competent care and treatment to clients suffering from racism?
The above questions will be exposed to the research process with the aim of finding suitable answers. The research questions have a corresponding set of research hypotheses for the study:
- Therapists working with racism have a dynamically different set of experiences from others.
- Therapists can offer competent care to their clients suffering from racial issues.
The rationale for conducting the study is to understand the experiences of therapists working with racial groups and communities. The insights will contribute to the current knowledge of the topic. Further, the findings will allow putting in place suitable interventions to promote the ability of therapists to address racial issues. The study will result in increased outcomes for the counseling profession.
The research participants need to be able to provide the researchers with the needed information about their experiences with racism. As such, therapists working in minority neighborhoods such as black, indigenous, and Latino communities will be included in the study. They need to have at least a two-year track record of working with clients that have been affected by racism. The therapists can be of any gender. Moreover, they can be of any race. The therapists are expected to offer a rich information base for the research.
Measures or Instruments
An essential instrument within the study is the use of interviews. It falls under the data collection instruments within the study. Interviews will be the sole method of gathering data from the research participants. The interviews will be organized one-on-one between the researchers and the therapists. Interviews are advantageous during the study since they allow the researchers to observe the verbal and non-verbal responses of the therapists (Barrett & Twycross, 2018). Interviews are also suitable since they allow the researchers to collect in-depth information about the research phenomena. However, interviews can be limiting since they are time-consuming. They are poised to lower the number of research participants that can be involved in the research process.
Another essential instrument during the study is the informed consent form. It will be used to gain permission from the therapists before including them in the study. The informed consent will be presented to the therapist in printed form. It will detail information about the study’s objectives, the risks involved, intended outcomes, benefits, and other details. The information will provide the participants with the needed depth of information about the study to make a decision about their involvement. The therapists will need to sign the informed consent to allow their participation in the study.
The research process will be structured as a qualitative analysis. The approach will involve the collection of data on the opinions and experiences of the therapists. It is ideal for the study since it examines the lived experiences of therapists working with racial groups. Further, a qualitative study will allow the collection of intimate data on the research topic. A quantitative study was not selected since no numerical data will be needed during the study, making it unsuitable. As such, selecting a qualitative study to collect data from the therapists was justified.
The sampling procedure will take on the purposive approach. In this context, there will be no randomization of data. Instead, the researchers will select the participants based on their ability to identify suitable candidates. The purposive method will rely on the skills of the researchers to make competent decisions on whom to include in the study. The method is suitable since therapists in the communities are sparse, providing little room for randomization.
Proposed Data Analysis
Since the research is a qualitative study, the data analysis needs to be tailored for qualitative data. Specifically, thematic data analysis will be utilized in the analysis process to generate pertinent findings from the research process. The first step of the thematic data analysis involves transcribing the interview information to make it available to the researchers (Castleberry & Nolen, 2018). No outside parties will be recruited to help with the transcription process. The second step is disassembling, where the data from the research is taken apart and put into meaningful groups (Castleberry & Nolen, 2018). It can be done through coding where raw data is assigned suitable themes and identifiers. The third step is reassembling, where the codes are put back into context to create themes through suitable processes such as hierarchies. The fourth process in data analysis is interpreting the data, where the researchers look at the data and describe the conclusions drawn. The interpretation process needs to be fair and unbiased. The last step in the data analysis involves concluding where the dominant themes and conclusions are summarized and the findings of the research process presented. The analysis of qualitative data will yield findings on the research process.
The lived experiences of therapists dealing with racism are a contemporary topic that needs to be addressed. Counselling requires the formation of relationships between counselors and their patients. The counseling session can occur between the counselor and an individual or between the counselor and a group of people. Racism is an important issue addressed by counselors during their psychotherapy sessions. The research process will be structured as a qualitative analysis. Therapists working in minority neighborhoods such as black, indigenous, and Latino communities will be included in the study. They need to have at least a two-year track record of working with clients. An essential instrument within the study is the use of interviews. Another essential instrument during the study is the informed consent form. It will be used to gain permission from the therapists before including them in the study. Thematic data analysis will be utilized in the analysis process to generate pertinent findings from the research process. The findings from the research will generate suitable findings on the lived experiences of therapists working with racially-inflicted groups.
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