Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Maria Riva, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nick Cutforth

Third Advisor

Jesse Valdez

Fourth Advisor

Anne DePrince


Counselor competence, Cultural competence, Domestic violence, Hispanic, IPV, Latina


Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) formerly known as domestic violence, is a chronic public health crisis affecting millions of women. Significant research has been generated related to the prevention and treatment of IPV; however, despite these efforts, there continues to be discrepancies in screening, referrals, and treatment of IPV which are compounded for ethnic minorities. Latinos are the fasting growing minority population in the United States, yet there continues to be a lack of public awareness and research related to Latina survivors of IPV. There are currently no studies exploring the subjective experience for Latina survivors of IPV in therapy.

The objective of this study was to ascertain a culturally grounded understanding in Latina survivors of IPV perceptions of therapists' cultural and IPV competence using a qualitative methodology. For this study, 10 Latina women over the age of 18 were selected, who self-reported experiencing IPV and who had participated in therapy for their IPV experience. Participants were recruited using flyers distributed in various community agencies, domestic violence shelters, and by Snowball sampling method. Each participant was interviewed twice and using a phenomenological methodology, structural and textural descriptions were generated and clusters of themes were identified from interview transcriptions.

Findings in this study suggest that therapist characteristic's that allowed for a positive rapport was not necessarily related to their perceptions of their therapists' cultural competence or competence in providing IPV counseling. Additionally, an ethnic match alone did not seem to compensate for cultural or IPV competence as expected. Themes generated from participant interviews identify specific behaviors perceived as Accepting Behaviors and Rejecting Behaviors. These themes provide valuable information on how culturally relevant interventions can be further enriched and developed in working with Latina survivors of IPV.

In addition to themes generated from participant interviews, related to the proposed research questions, a number of contextual themes were identified. These themes provide a contextual framework for the cultural variables informing participant perceptions of therapy and the therapeutic alliance. They also provide valuable information on how cultural and socio-environmental factors deter Latina survivors of IPV from seeking treatment or disclosing IPV.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Dellena R. Aguilar


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

155 p.


Counseling psychology

Included in

Counseling Commons