Cross-cultural therapeutic relationships: Entering the world of African Americans

Paula Allen-Meares, Sondra Burman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cross-cultural therapeutic relationships pose a challenge to practitioners trained in traditional modes of counseling. Because of the increasing numbers of minority groups requiring mental health services, professionals must adapt and alter their orientation to the engagement process. This article explores the therapeutic relationship with African Americans, from the perspective of helpers of similar and different racial backgrounds. A guiding theoretical framework, sociocultural dissonance, explains the difficulties encountered by minority individuals as they struggle to conform to the demands of a bicultural existence. The concept is also aptly applied to the varied relationships (African American client and practitioner; African American client/white practitioner), exhibiting the effects of social dissonance and potential mediating forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Drug guides


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