Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 143–155 | Cite as

Examining psychotherapeutic and psychosocial factors in working with immigrant families

  • Sharon-ann Gopaul-McNicol


In spite of the fact that the United States has been historically associated with immigrants, little is still known about the process of assimilation that immigrant families go through, and a lack of sensitivity to the cultural diversity of immigrant families persists. Some mental health workers still suggest that the same techniques employed in working with American families can be applied to immigrant families. Through years of research, behavioral scientists have come to realize that a different approach to tutelage and psychotherapy is needed if immigrant families are to acculturate smoothly in American society. This paper addresses some problems associated with acculturation, the process of acculturation, immigrant families in transition and perspectives on the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions. Some rudimentary guidelines are presented for understanding immigrant families via a comprehensive assessment battery which can assist in determining the stages of acculturation, the client's social and emotional functioning, as well as any cultural transitional conflicts the client may be experiencing as a result of migration. Moreover, a model for treating immigrant families is suggested.

Key words

psychosocial stressors in acculturation 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon-ann Gopaul-McNicol
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentSt. John's UniversityJamaica

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