Bilingual, Bicultural Latino(a) Therapists: The Necessity of Adapted Cultural Competence Trainings in Professional Settings

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Fernand Lubuguin, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Audrey Boggs, Psy.D.

Second Committee Member

Marcela Bonafina, Ph.D.


Bilingual Therapy, Bicultural Therapy, Latino, Latina


Generally, outcome studies that examined the effects of ethnic matching between therapists and clients have shown that mental health services provided by bilingual, bicultural Latino(a) therapists (BBLTs) have not consistently resulted in increased positive outcomes for Latino(a) clients when compared to those services provided by non-Latino therapists. In order to propose plausible reasons for this finding, the relationship characteristics and dynamics between BBLTs and their Latino(a) clients are examined. Specifically, the skills, attributes and unique challenges that BBLTs face are explored, as well as how these factors likely affect cultural competence and treatment outcomes. Based on this theoretical analysis, the author proposes adapting the implementation of cultural competence trainings in professional settings in ways that specifically address the distinct characteristics and deficits of BBLTs. By doing so, this paper concludes that the cultural competence of BBLTs will be enhanced, which in tum will increase the effectiveness of services and improve the treatment outcomes for Latino(a) clients.


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