Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Komarraju, Meera

Abstract

The phenomenon under investigation in this study was the experience of having an Asian identity while in a U.S. counseling psychology graduate/professional-training context. Using a qualitative methodology involving 12 participants, descriptive phenomenological analysis of in-depth interview data illuminated five structures which comprise the essence of the phenomenon. These essential structures include: Need to negotiate or cope with cultural value conflicts, Feeling subtle effects of marginalization, Navigating through unique dynamics in working with ethnically-similar clients, Understanding the strengths afforded by Asian identity, and Desire for increased assistance in the integration of cultural and professional identities. These findings suggest that Asian identity within the context of U.S. counseling psychology professional-training can, at times, be a source of struggle as well as a strength/asset. Recommendations to training programs include suggestions for providing resources that increase the empowering aspects related to Asian identity and reduce any hindering effects. Recommendations to supervisors include suggestions to spend more time discussing how Asian trainees' ethnic/cultural identity may impact their work with clients.

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