Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Melanie M. Domenech-Rodríguez


It is becoming increasingly important for clinical and counseling psychologists to have multicultural competence skills for treating an increasingly diverse client population. The psychology literature related to culturally competent treatment with persons of Middle Eastern descent is currently limited. In this study, qualitative methodology was utilized to explore the mental health attitudes and psychotherapy experiences of clients of Middle Eastern descent. Participants described culturally influenced mental health attitudes. Major themes included the severity of stigma associated with mental illness, the importance of family in responding to mental illness, and the process of grieving in Middle Eastern cultures. Study findings suggest that culture influenced the experience of counseling and psychotherapy for these participants. Cultural identity and family dynamics played an important role in the therapy experiences of study participants. The therapists‟ ability to understand cultural identity and family dynamics was related to treatment acceptance and efficacy for these clients. Recommendations for culturally competent therapy with persons of Middle Eastern descent are provided in terms of attitudes, knowledge, and skills.


This work made publicly available electronically on May 11, 2011.