How Do Stereotypes Play Out in the Therapy Room? A Qualitative Examination of Asian American Psychologists' Experiences of Being Stereotyped

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Fernand Lubuguin, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Jamie Shapiro, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Jessica Pae, Psy.D.


Stereotypes, Model minority myth, Cross-cultural therapeutic relationships

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


Cross-cultural therapeutic relationships in the United States are becoming increasingly common. However, while the existing literature has focused on White therapists and clients of color, there is limited research on therapists of color and their experiences with stereotypes, biases, racial prejudice, and microaggressions in the therapy room. The purpose of this study was to understand how stereotypes affect Asian American psychologists and their therapeutic work and in doing so, understand how stereotypes and biases may affect therapeutic relationships for therapists of color in general. This study utilized a phenomenological qualitative approach consisting of semi-structured interviews with six Asian or Asian American licensed psychologists. Results indicated six major themes related to the experience of Asian psychologists in working with clients of various social identities: (a) an increased awareness of multicultural issues; (b) clients’ assumptions about an “expert” status; (c) a shared understanding with minority groups; (d) questions of competence by clients; (e) difficult interactions with colleagues and supervisors; and (f) uncertainty about their clients’ biases, stereotypes, and prejudices.


34 pgs

Paper Method

Empirical - Qualitative

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