A Qualitative Study of Family Therapy Utilization Barriers for Chinese Americans

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Virginia Tech


Although there is abundant research on the underutilization of mental health services by Asian Americans, there is limited research on the utilization patterns of family counseling services by the Chinese American population. Moreover, there is even less research that examined the perception of Chinese Americans toward family counseling and how that perception affects their utilization of family counseling services. With the intention to explore Chinese Americans' sentiments toward the field of family counseling, this qualitative study investigated what knowledge they had about the profession and how they would feel about seeking counseling services for their relationship problems. Using the guiding theoretical framework of phenomenology, in-depth interviews were conducted with eight individuals and were coded for themes. Findings indicated that Chinese Americans had a need for family counseling but cultural inhibitions about seeking counseling services and concerns such as financial burden and lack of convincing results served as utilization barriers. Implications for clinical practice, including barrier-removal ideas, and suggestions for future research are included.



barrier removal, family counseling, family therapy, utilization barrier, Chinese Americans