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African Americans, critical theory, culture, psychotherapy



  1. Kendall, Judy RN, PhD


Psychotherapy has been used by psychiatric nurses in advanced practice since the 1950s.The majority of research and clinical literature on the processes and outcomes of psychotherapy as an intervention in treating mental health difficulties have involved primarily Euro-American populations with little emphasis on ethnic, cultural, or class distinctions. If the epistemic origins of psychotherapy and its emphasis on the "interior self" of emotions, thoughts, and perceptions are a holdover from 19th-century individualism, where does this leave African Americans, whose social and cultural experience is more embedded in communal activities of church, neighborhood, and family than that of Euro-Americans? This article critically examines the role of psychotherapeutic mental health care as an emancipatory action, seeking to create a more culturally responsive psychotherapeutic environment for African American youths.