Multilingualism, U.S. Acculturation and the Therapeutic Alliance

Florence J. O Lewis, Purdue University


This paper proposed to study the effect that acculturation of multilingual mental health clinicians had on the therapeutic alliance from their perspective. Multilingual clinician around the U.S. were included in this study to assess their reported U.S. acculturation, native acculturation, if applicable, and self-reported therapeutic alliance with one of their clients. Acculturation was measured using the Abbreviated Multidimensional Acculturation Scale (AMAS-ZABB; Zea, Asner-Self, Birman & Buki, 2003) and the therapeutic alliance was measured using the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI; Horvath & Greenberg, 1989) This study was conceptualized through the lens of the collaborative language approach which highlights the role of language in the therapeutic experience and how the relationship between therapist and client(s) is bidirectional (Anderson, 1997). Hierarchal linear regression analyses were utilized that produced significant results with U.S. acculturation and native acculturation with the bond and goal subscales along with the overall therapeutic alliance. Implications include how the cultural adaptability of multilingual clinicians can be utilized in therapy to support a strong therapeutic relationship.




Nalbone, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Behavioral Sciences

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