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Am Psychol. 1998 Apr;53(4):440-8.

In search of cultural competence in psychotherapy and counseling.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis 95616-8686, USA.


The characteristics involved in cultural competency in psychotherapy and counseling have been difficult to specify. This article describes attempts to study factors associated with cultural competency and addresses 3 questions. First, is ethnic match between therapists and clients associated with treatment outcomes? Second, do clients who use ethnic-specific services exhibit more favorable outcomes than those who use mainstream services? Third, is cognitive match between therapists and clients a predictor of outcomes? The research suggests that match is important in psychotherapy. The cultural competency research has also generated some controversy, and lessons learned from the controversy are discussed. Finally, it is suggested that important and orthogonal ingredients in cultural competency are therapists' scientific mindedness, dynamic-sizing skills, and culture-specific expertise.

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