White Psychodynamic Therapists’ Experiences of Intersectionality With Patients of Color: A Phenomenological Inquiry
White psychodynamic psychotherapists repeatedly find themselves working in cross-racial dyads with patients of color (POC) who navigate intersectional realities that can significantly impact their mental health. However, White psychotherapists often struggle with initiating intersectional and racial dialogues with POC. The present phenomenological qualitative study explored how White psychodynamic psychotherapists experienced and approached intersectionality with POC engaged in psychotherapeutic treatment. Using a hybrid recruitment plan, a total of 15 White, primarily New York-based, licensed psychotherapists, participated in this study. Participants engaged in an in-depth, semi-structured interview conducted via a virtual platform. Qualitative findings yielded six primary themes that influenced participants’ approach and understanding of intersectionality with POC. These included: (a) academic background, (b) clinical context, (c) psychotherapists’ insight into own social locations, (d) identity-based conversations with POC, (e) therapeutic self-disclosure with POC, and (f) external ecological factors. Implications for educational and clinical training and for clinical practice are provided, including raising intersectional and intersubjective awareness among White psychodynamic therapists. Specifically, findings can serve to challenge psychotherapeutic barriers affecting POC in cross-racial dyads and the intersectional experiences leading to their presenting mental health distress.
Psychology|Clinical psychology|Counseling Psychology|Mental health
Martinez, Belkis Yajaira, "White Psychodynamic Therapists’ Experiences of Intersectionality With Patients of Color: A Phenomenological Inquiry" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30567668.