Affluent Mexican Immigrant Parents’ Perceptions of Child–Parent Relationship Training

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to use phenomenological qualitative research to investigate the perceptions of 14 foreign-born affluent Mexican (FBAM) parents’ living in the Southern United States (all documented immigrants). We explored their perceptions of the effectiveness and goodness-of-fit of child–parent relationship therapy (CPRT), a structured 10-session parenting intervention demonstrated to be useful in helping parents and caregivers improve the quality of the child–parent relationship. At the time of this study, no published research existed that explored counseling interventions addressing the unique needs of this subgroup as they relate to understanding and improving the parent–child relationship. The researchers used a phenomenological qualitative approach to address 2 research questions: What were the perceptions of FBAM parents regarding the effectiveness of CPRT? What were the perceptions of FBAM parents regarding the process and procedures involved in CPRT? After the participants completed the required 10 sessions of CPRT over 5 weeks, they partook in individual semistructured interviews that explored their experiences of CPRT. Thematic analysis of the participants’ responses to the interview questions indicated that they perceived the CPRT skills acquired through their training to have improved their parenting skills and strengthened the parent–child relationship. Implications of the results of the thematic analysis for counseling practice are discussed. The role of culture is significant in individuals’ expectations and experiences in counseling. In 2001, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that “culture bears on whether people even seek help in the first place, what types of help they seek, what types of coping styles and social supports they have, and how much stigma they attach to mental illness (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001, p. 25). Government officials and researchers in the field advocate for mental health interventions that are culturally sensitive and applicable for diverse backgrounds. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “the system of mental health services currently fails to provide for the vast majority of Latinos in need of care.” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001, p. 146). The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of 1 particular subgroup, FBAM immigrant families regarding their shared experiences of CPRT (Landreth & Bratton, 2006) as an intervention to strengthen the parent–child relationship.

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