Date of Award

Summer August 2012

Access Restriction

Campus Access only Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Debra Linesch


As The United States population becomes more and more diverse, it is inevitable that clinicians will come across clients from a different culture. In this case study the researcher explores how cultural similarities and differences between the client and therapist affect the therapeutic relationship and clinical process. This is done by gathering data from 21 clinical sessions between the therapist who is Asian American and the client who is Samoan American. The result of this study shows that the client and therapist’s cultural similarities does not aid in the therapeutic alliance but the therapist’s racial visibility leads to a magnified projective identification from the client, which sets the course of their relationship. The art is used as a tool to diffuse the tension caused by the cultural proximity in the relationship and provides safety for the client to express himself rather than healing through the relationship with the therapist.