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