Intimidades: Confianza, Gender, and Hierarchy in the Construction of Latino–Latina Therapeutic Relationships

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Abstract

The intimate nature of psychotherapy requires psychotherapists be educated to deal with the sexualization of the sharing of intimate feelings and interpersonal closeness. Latino cultures have relatively rigid sex role expectations and norms that privilege men at the expense of women. Experiences of emotional intimacy threaten this Latino cultural discourse of boundaries between men and women and may lead to impasses in therapy and enactments of pathogenic aspects of machismo and marianismo in the therapeutic relationship. Clinical vignettes illustrating the embeddedness of such gender discourses within therapeutic conversations between a Latino therapist and his Latina clients are presented, with discussion of how an intersubjective-relational approach can be used to deconstruct oppressive machista metaphors and cultural narratives and then aid in the coconstruction of reparative narratives within a context of intergender mutuality.

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