Early-Career White Counselors’ Self-Reflections on Racial Socialization and Broaching Race and Racism in Therapy

Stephanie Lucia Gutkin, Fordham University


With increased cross-racial therapeutic dyads and evidence of clients of color terminating therapy early, it is necessary that counselors broach the topics of race and racism with their clients (Bahrampour, 2013; Barnes et al., 2014; Swift et al., 2012; Williams et al., 2021). Although research suggests White counselors avoid broaching (Day-Vines et al., 2021; King & Borders, 2019), there is limited understanding of counselors’ perceptions of broaching and what impacts counselors at different points in their career to engage in broaching. Given this gap in the literature, the present study explored White early-career counselors' perceptions of and experiences with broaching race and racism, personally and professionally. Using a narrative framework and social constructivist paradigm, the present study interviewed 12 early-career White women counselors (Creswell, 2013). Data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured individual interviews via Zoom (M = 58 minutes). Through an iterative thematic analysis, eleven themes emerged regarding participants’ racial socialization and experience broaching: (a) The influence of neighborhood context on racial socialization, (b) How to determine whether it's safe to talk about race, (c) Understanding one's own White identity and its influence, (d) How, when, and where White people learn about race/racism, (e) Counselors misconstrue the meaning of broaching, (f) Counselor's awareness while thinking about broaching, (g) Avoidant broaching attitudes and behaviors, (h) Isolating broaching attitudes and behaviors, (i) Continuing/congruent broaching attitudes and behaviors, (j) Integrated/congruent broaching attitudes and behaviors, and (k) Infusing broaching attitudes and behaviors (Creswell & Poth, 2016). Findings provide implications for counselor training and beyond.

Subject Area

Psychology|Therapy|Multicultural Education

Recommended Citation

Gutkin, Stephanie Lucia, "Early-Career White Counselors’ Self-Reflections on Racial Socialization and Broaching Race and Racism in Therapy" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30566434.