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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Understanding how Undocumented Latina Women Access Therapy despite Barriers
by Flores, Marta L., Psy.D., Alliant International University, 2012, 125; 3518574
Abstract (Summary)

The number of undocumented immigrant Latina women continues to rise, as does the need for mental health services for this population. The need for therapy is often due to the impact of trauma these women experience before they decide to migrate, during migration, and after they migrate.

The current study explores how women have been successful at obtaining psychotherapy despite significant barriers that include stigma associated with seeking therapy, language, economic hardship, immigration status, and waiting times.

Ten undocumented immigrant Latina women participated in the study. The primary method of data collection was a semi-structured interview developed for the purpose of this study. The interview consisted of questions pertaining to basic demographic information as well as pre/post immigration experiences, and followed by views of therapy, barriers experienced, and finally how they successfully acquired mental health services.

Results from this study indicated that there is a link between having a strong social support network, such as friends, family, social services support and/or group therapy, and being able to acquire therapy. A common theme described by each participant was her inner strength and the dire need to want to change her situation(s); without this resiliency, the women would not have been as resourceful and successful at getting the support and assistance they needed.

This study suggests that further research is needed to increase understanding of the wide range of barriers that undocumented immigrant Latinas face. The mental health community must change to make mental health services culturally sensitive, and more easily and readily accessible for this population.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cerezo, Alison
Commitee: Flores, Yvette G., Jenkins-Monroe, Valata
School: Alliant International University
Department: San Francisco, CSPP
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work, Public health
Keywords: Barriers to care, Immigrant women, Latinas, Therapy, Undocumented immigrants
Publication Number: 3518574
ISBN: 978-1-267-50226-1
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