Culture and Ethnicity in psychological practice: A Thematic analysis

Prof Doc Thesis

Pethe-Kulkarni, A. 2017. Culture and Ethnicity in psychological practice: A Thematic analysis. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsPethe-Kulkarni, A.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The literature on providing an evidence base for clinicians to deliver culturally appropriate services appears to be responding to the changing demographics in the United Kingdom (UK) but appears slow to respond to the gradually changing demographic of the profession. The research on ethnic minority status is largely focused on clients with the assumption that the therapist is White (Iwamasa, 1996). Literature exploring the experiences and issues of ethnic minority therapists emerged in the United States of America (US) before being explored in the UK. Even today, a large chunk of the literature is produced in the US and more so from the counselling and psychotherapy disciplines.
This qualitative study explores the practice of clinical psychologists who identify as British Asian, when working with ethnically similar and different clients. Ten clinical psychologists were interviewed about therapeutic interactions where they encountered ethnicity and culture. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the interviews of the participants who self-identified as British Asian. Three dominant themes emerged from the analysis: Addressing culture and ethnicity in therapy, challenges in the room and dilemmas in the profession.
Findings revealed that culture and ethnicity were not central to all therapeutic interactions. However, when ethnic and cultural differences were present, participants responded in various ways to the issues they faced in the therapy room and dilemmas they encountered in the profession. There were varying levels of comfort in having conversations about culture and ethnic differences in therapy as well as with colleagues, indicating a need for appropriate training of all clinical psychologists in working with culture and ethnicity. The role of supervision was also highlighted in helping clinical psychologists to enable reflecting on the impact of their own culture and ethnicity on practice.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Jan 2018
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