Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Francesca Pernice


This study examined the barriers and facilitators of working with Arab Americans in a treatment capacity from the perspective of the Arab American therapist. Participants were asked about the practice strategies as well as resources available to them when working with this unique population during a semi-structed face to face interview. The impact of stigma and recovery was also assessed. This research study employed a qualitative design approach to address the research questions. Participants were sampled from a community mental health center located within Metro- Detroit; one of the largest concentrations of Middle Eastern/Arab and Chaldean in the United States. Participants in this study consisted of 11 female psychotherapists, who ranged in age from 25-44 years old (M=32.2) and self-identify with the Arab American cultural/ethnic reference group and who reported providing direct psychological services to consumers who identify with the Arabic cultural reference group. Data analyses was conducted using the grounded theory method known as constant comparison analysis (Strauss & Corbin 1998). Recurring themes pertaining to barriers, facilitators, therapeutic processes, and recovery beliefs were analyzed from participant interviews. Overall, participants expressed positive, supportive attitudes about recovery from mental illness and therapists did not differentiate between Arab and non-Arab clients with respect to recovery from mental illness. Additionally, family and community support were cited as both a barrier and a facilitator to treatment. Participants expressed the need for greater psychoeducation from providers for the Arab population in order to increase family involvement in treatment, and decrease cultural norms that prohibit help seeking among Arab-Americans.