Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award



Document Type



Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Name

Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Joanna Mendez-Pounds

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Lisa Merchant

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Greg Brooks


The Latino population is one of the fastest growing minority populations in the United States. While there is vastness and diversity in the countries that represent Latino heritages, Latino people hold similar values that influence their lives including familismo, respeto, personalismo, and many others (Ayón & Aisenberg, 2010; Bean et. al., 2001; Bermúdez et al., 2010; Calzada et al., 2010; Elias-Juarez & Knudson-Martin, 2016). Previous researchers identified stigma regarding mental health issues in Latino communities and the role of values like familismo in contributing to the stigma of accessing mental health support outside of Latinos’ families (McGoldrick et al., 2005). For some Latinos, any type of problem addressed outside the family invites two sources of stigma: public and self-stigma (Pérez-Flores & Cabassa, 2021). Public stigma leads to negative attitudes and discrimination to those perceived as mentally ill and self-stigma is how people internalize those negative attitudes and beliefs. No one wants to be perceived as loco (crazy). Together these two types of stigmata prevent individuals from accessing mental health services (Pérez-Flores & Cabassa, 2021). However, despite stigma, Latinos do attend therapy and through their stories, researchers hope to describe what makes therapy successful for them. This research will present original qualitative research resulting from semi-structured interviews with Latinos who chose to attend therapy despite mental health stigma. The study will use interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore Latinos discussions of how they negotiated and manage stigma about accessing therapy and describe what made therapy successful for Latino participants. Themes from this research will be used to present clinical, research, community, and advocacy implications of the findings.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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