Trusting Ole' Wise Owls: Therapeutic Use of Cultural Strengths in African-American Families

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The development of competent cross-racial psychotherapeutic strategies requires that psychologists understand the underlying racial dynamics that can hinder therapeutic relationships with African-American families and address them. This involves identifying and cultivating family strengths during the process of psychotherapy. Key domains of African-American family strengths include the dependence on helpful extended relatives, transmission of cultural childrearing values, influence of a religious worldview, and family communication about surviving societal racism struggles, educational achievement, and Black pride and culture. These behaviors are expressed through the process of racial socialization. This article advises professional and research psychologists to appreciate and mobilize the oppression-survival strategies of many African-American families.

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