International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 216-233

First online:

Therapists in a Foreign Land: Acculturation, Language Proficiency and Counseling Self-Efficacy among Foreign-Born Therapists Practicing in the United States

  • Karni KissilAffiliated withCouple and Family Therapy Department, Drexel University Email author 
  • , Maureen DaveyAffiliated withCouple and Family Therapy Department, Drexel University
  • , Adam DaveyAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health, Temple University

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Immigration and acculturation can have profound effects on counselors’ sense of self and interactions with others. Yet the influence of being an immigrant on a therapist’s use of self during actual clinical encounters has received very little empirical attention, even though the number of foreign-born counselors is steadily increasing in the U.S. In order to fill this gap we conducted a web-based survey study to examine the associations between acculturation, language proficiency, and clinician’s self-efficacy in a sample of 258 foreign-born counselors and providers currently practicing in the U.S. Results suggest that perceived prejudice and not the level of acculturation is significantly associated with levels of clinical self-efficacy, suggesting that the attitudes and behaviors of the host community play a much bigger role in the acculturation of immigrant therapists than previously assumed.


Acculturation Counseling self-efficacy Foreign-born counselors Immigration