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Case of Maria

A Cross-Cultural Study of the Therapeutic Relationship

Co Authors:

Stephanie L. Brooke
Psychology Department
University of Phoenix

Janet Morahan-Martin
Department of Applied Psychology
Bryant University


This case illustrates concepts of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment within the context of a counseling relationship. Its primary purpose is to teach students about the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship, specifically that the relationship is one based on power. The case also covers depression, the diagnosis of psychological disorders, cross cultural issues in counseling, and treatment planning. It could be used in either an introductory psychology course or at a more advanced level such as in an upper-level abnormal psychology course.

  • To understand the process of diagnosis.
  • To conceptualize the process of setting treatment goals.
  • To appreciate that various etiological approaches can be taken to explain depression.
  • To discuss how the specific etiological approach of a therapist affects treatment goals and methods.
  • To emphasize the importance of a client’s culture and the impact of cultural communication styles and beliefs.
  • To conceptualize the impact of the power dynamics between the therapist and client.
Keywords: Therapy; therapeutic relationship; counseling; mental health; depression; Latino; Latina
Topical Area: Social issues
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Graduate, Professional (degree program), Continuing education
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Discussion
Language: English
Subject Headings: Psychology   Sociology  
Date Posted: 06/01/05
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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