Challenges and opportunities for psychologists and psychotherapists in respect to explicit and implicit discrimination issues in therapy are explored, both from the side of the therapist and the client. Furthermore, personal reflections on such issues are discussed drawing on examples of indirect discrimination on the basis of race and sexual orientation. It is suggested that a combination of professional anti-discriminatory guidelines, a willingness to understand deeply the client’s frame of reference and self-reflection can guard against such phenomena that can harm ethical and constructive psychotherapy.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Asay, T. P., & Lambert, M. J. (1999). The empirical case for the common factors in therapy: quantitative findings. In M. Hubble, B. L. Duncan & S. D. Miller (Eds.), The heart and soul of change: What works in therapy. Washington, DC: APA.
Bozarth, J. D. (1998). Person-centred therapy: A revolutionary paradigm. Ross-On-Wye: PCCS Books.
Bozarth, J. D. (2013). Unconditional positive regard. In M. Cooper, M. O’Hara, P. F. Scmid & A. C. Bohart (Eds.), The Handbook of person-centred psychotherapy & counseling (pp. 180–192). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
British Psychological Society (BPS), Division of Counselling Psychology (2001). Professional practice guidelines. http://www.bps.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/professional_practice_guidelines_-_division_of_counselling_psychology.pdf, Accessed on Nov 19, 2014.
Civil Partnership Act (2004). The National Archives. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/33/contents, Accessed on Nov 30, 2014.
Cocker, C., & Hafford-Letchfield, T. (2014). Rethinking anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive theories for social work practice. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Equality Act (2010). The National Archives. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents, Accessed on Nov 30, 2014.
Foucault, M. (1979). The history of sexuality. Volume 1: An introduction. London: Allen Lane.
Freud, A. (1937). The Ego and the mechanisms of defence. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis.
Freud, S. (1905). Three essays on the theory of sexuality. In S. Freud (Ed.) (1953). The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud, Volume VII (1901–1905): A Case of Hysteria, Three Essays on Sexuality and Other Works. London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-analysis.
Grafanaki, S., & McLeod, J. (2002). Experiential congruence: Qualitative analysis of client and counsellor narrative accounts of significant events in time-limited person-centred therapy. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research: Linking research with practice, 2(1), 20–32. doi:10.1080/14733140212331384958.
HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council). (2012). Standards of proficiency: Practitioner psychologists. http://www.hpc-uk.org/assets/documents/10002963SOP_Practitioner_Psychologists.pdf, Accessed on Nov 12, 2014.
Hicks, C., & Milton, M. (2010). Sexual identities: Meanings for counselling psychology practice. In R. Woolfe, S. Strawbridge, B. Douglas & W. Dryden (Eds.), Handbook of Counselling Psychology (3rd Edn). London: Sage Publications.
Hook, J. N., Davis, D. E., Owen, J., Worthington, E. L., & Utsey, S. O. (2013). Cultural humility: Measuring openness to culturally diverse clients. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60(3), 353–366. doi:10.1037/a0032595.
Jung, C. G. (1951). Aion: Researchers into the phenomenology of the self: Collected works, Vol. 9, Part 2. Princeton. NY: Bollingen.
Kaye H. (Εd.) (2010). Cognitive Psychology. Milton Keynes: The Open University Press.
Lago, C., & Smith, B. (2003). Anti-discriminatory counselling practice. London: Sage.
Levitt, B. E. (Ed.) (2005). Embracing non-directivity: Reassessing person-centred theory and practice in the 21st century. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.
McLeod, J. (2013). An introduction to counselling (5th Edn). Maidenhead: The Open University Press.
Mearns, D., & Cooper, M. (2005). Working at relational depth in counselling and psychotherapy. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Mearns, D., Thorne, B., & McLeod, J. (2013). Person-centred counselling in action (4th Edn). London: Sage Publications.
Milton, M., Coyle, A., & Legg, C. (2002). Lesbian and gay affirmative psychotherapy: Defining the domain. In A. Coyle & C. Kitzinger (Eds.), Lesbian and gay psychology: New perspectives. Oxford: BPS Blackwell.
Needham, C., & Carr, S. (2009). SCIE Research Briefing 31: Co-production: An emerging evidence base for adult social care transformation. London: SCIE.
Ogden, T. H. (2004). On holding and containing, being and dreaming. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 85, 1349–1364.
Perry, R. (1992). A short history of the term ‘Politically Correct’. In P. Aufderheide, Beyond political correctness: Toward a politics of understanding. Saint Paul, MN: Grayworf Press.
Ridley, C. R. (1995). Overcoming unintentional racism in counselling and therapy: A practitioner’s guide to intentional intervention. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Rogers, C. R. (1964). Towards a science of the person. In T. W. Wann (Ed.), Behaviorism and phenomenology: Contrasting bases for modern psychology (pp. 109–140). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Rogers, C. R. (2013). The basic conditions of the facilitative therapeutic relationship. In M. Cooper, M. O’Hara, P. F. Scmid & A. C. Bohart (Eds.), The Handbook of person-centred psychotherapy & counseling (pp. 24–27). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rowan, J., & Jacobs, M. (2002). The therapist’s use of self. Berkshire: Open University Press.
Shadbolt, C. (2004). Homophobia and gay affirmative transactional analysis. Transactional Analysis Journal, 34(2), 113–125.
Sue, D. W. (2015). Race talk and the conspiracy of silence: Understanding and facilitating difficult dialogues on race. Hoboken, NY: Wiley & Sons.
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2003). Counseling the culturally diverse (4th Ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Tajfel, H. (1982). Social Psychology of intergroup relations. Annual Review of Psychology, 33, 1–39. http://www.annualreviews.org/action/doSearch?pageSize=20&AllField=Tajfel&type=thisJournal&publication=1463, Accessed on Nov 20, 2014.
Thompson, N. (2012). Anti-discriminatory practice (5th Edn). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Worthington, R. L., Soth-McNett, A. M., & Moreno, M. V. (2007). Multi-cultural counselling competencies research: A 20-year content analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 351–361. Doi:10.1037/0022-1067.54.4.351.
About this article
Cite this article
Sarantakis, N.P. Reflections on an Anti-discriminatory Stance in Psychotherapy. J Contemp Psychother 47, 135–140 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-016-9353-4
- Implicit discrimination
- Cultural context
- Racial discrimination
- Sexual orientation