Down The Mountain

Ch 23 Latinas in the US
Latinas adapt to mainstream American culture in flux. There is a process of selective adaptation, becoming American only to the extent that it feels safe.
Therapeutic interventions to help Latinas build bridges that connect the two worlds and to provide a safe place from which to choose what to keep from the old culture and what to take from the new. The goal is to encourage transformation and liberation of the spirit by validating personal strengths, maintaining family connections, and creating a sense of community and support.

Good little Girls: Latinas raised by mother to behave and be respective. In therapy there is often discourse b/w the mother and daughter. Therapist gently put a stop to the mother’s yelling and began to address the care and love that the mother and daughters feel for each other.
Myth: Latina women must all be virgins. This myth emanates from the dbl. standard about gender roles in patriarchal societies, which limits the sexual freedom of women and gives men authority over them.
Studies found that in the US, by the time adolescents reach the 10th grade, 45% of students have had sex. In 2000 Latinas in this country had the highest birth rate. Latina American culture, girls tend to be supervised more closely when they go out with their friends. The extent that these values are held onto depend on level of education, social status, and whether in a rural or urban area. The greater the cultural gap b/w families and the new culture, the more likely for conflicts b/w mother and daughter about virginity, as children tend to adapt faster than parents to new culture.
Latina Lesbians: They fear rejection by their mothers, the culture, and the community, often hiding and denying who they are while feeling damaged and unacceptable.
Motherhood: most important goal in life for Latinas. Having children raises status of a woman and is a rite of passage into adulthood, which confirms masculinity of the father and femininity of mother. Working outside the home as a mother send conflicting role messages.

Ch 24 Therapy with Mixed-Race families
Inter-racial couples have doubled every decade since 1970s.
Therapists must hold a developing level of knowledge, skill, and comfort with regard to racial issues. White therapist in particular lack sufficient racial awareness and sensitivity, thereby compromising their ability to accurately identify and work with race in therapy.
Messages sent about race: children’s exposure to negative messages about their own group compromises their ability to embrace and successfully integrate these aspects of themselves into their self concept. Often parents send an explicit message to their children that all races are equal, while simultaneously behaving in way that communicate a contradictory implicit message that some racial groups are more valuable than others.
External Racism: some families are buried in denial about the realities of racism. other’s recognize the presence of racism but lack the skills or comfort to address it directly and avoid the topic altogether. Parents have a responsibility to prepare kids.
The ultimate privilege of Whiteness is not having to be aware of one’s Whiteness or aware of the benefits it affords.
Implications for Therapy: Therapist must have a high level of racial awareness and sensitivity.
Assessment: Th. must be mindful of the significance of race and open to exploring how race may be related to the presenting issues and the process of therapy.
Intervention Strategies: merely calling attention to their disparaging remarks or action is sometimes all that is needed to bring about a shift. Other times, therapist may need to spend considerable time helping clients understand how and why a given comment or behavior is insensitive or offensive. Once this is finally grasped, further attention may beed to be devoted to helping clients explore and then challenge the underlying assumptions, values, and experiences that contribute to such comments and behaviors.
Freeing Children from Racialized loyalty Binds: Psycho-education may be necessary to educate parents about how destructive these kinds of dynamics are for children. Parents must understand the racial dimensions of the loyalty binds, coach them until they are able to communicate clear, explicit messages to their children that give kids permission to have their own relationships with each parent and with all parts of their racial identity. If there is restraint on the parent, therapist should align themselves with the parents’ devotion and commitment to protecting their children and acting on behalf of their best interest. And educate the parents about the psychological damage these loyalty binds can have on children.
Fostering Strategies for Resisting Racism: Teaching families to have open, direct “race talk” that is challenging but not destructive. Therapists can work with families to hone their ability to make distinctions about times when they should push back and confront racism and when it is best to pull back and let something slide. Cost-benefit analysis.
RASE: racial awareness and sensitivity homework

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