Psychotherapy with African American Women

Innovations in Psychodynamic Perspectives and Practice

Edited by Leslie C. Jackson and Beverly Greene

July 11, 2000
ISBN 9781572305854
Price: $47.00
298 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

Focusing on the breadth of issues that affect psychotherapy with African American women, this unique volume is designed to help clinicians develop a broader understanding of what is useful and what is problematic when applying psychodynamic concepts to their clients. From an array of seasoned clinicians, chapters present innovative and creative reformulations of theory and technique that build upon and challenge existing models. Issues addressed include the psychological dilemmas confronting diverse African American women as they negotiate a society that is hostile to them on multiple levels; how ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation and other differences come into play within the therapeutic dyad; and approaches to unraveling the complex interplay of sociopolitical, intrapsychic, and interpersonal concerns in treatment. Filled with illustrative clinical material and pointers for practice, the volume will enhance the cultural competence of mental heath practitioners and students across a range of disciplines.

Winner (Chapter 5)—Association for Women in Psychology 10th Annual Women of Color Psychologies Award

“The book provides important insights into a number of issues seldom addressed elsewhere in the literature. What I found to be particularly interesting and useful was the author's elucidation of specific issues including: the internalization of race-based traumatic experiences....Clinicians, teachers, supervisors and students of psychodynamic psychotherapy, as well as others involved in working with African-American and other women of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, should read this book....I congratulate the authors for raising our level of consciousness and for their contribution to the literature.”

Transcultural Psychiatry

“Jackson and Greene, experienced scholars and clinicians, have provided an important text and guide to the complexities of psychodynamic therapy with African American women. This thoughtful book reaches into the heart of our culture and extracts essential knowledge to help African American women thrive and help therapists reach a deeper understanding of their reality.”

—Gail E. Wyatt, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles; author of Stolen Women: Reclaiming Our Sexuality, Taking Back Our Lives

“This long overdue book will enlighten service providers to the unique experiences of African American women. These clients endure the twin traumas of racism and sexism. Mental health professionals who ignore, deny, misinterpret, or stereotype their issues provide poor treatment. This book is a breath of fresh air. It is certain to strengthen effective communication between clinicians and their African American female clients. I highly recommend it.”

—Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Judge Baker Children's Center, Boston, Massachusetts

“This volume covers a wide range of topics related to provision of psychotherapy with African American women. There is much that is instructive in the volume's coverage of trauma and abuse, self-concept, familial roles, body images, and other issues. In addition, its discussion of lesbian and bisexual concerns represents a unique contribution to understanding the place of sexual orientation in the therapeutic milieu. Therapists of all cultural backgrounds and theoretical persuasions should find the volume a useful guide to often unexplored issues associated with race, ethnicity, and social class. More broadly, I would recommend it to mental health professionals in a wide range of treatment, education, and training settings where African American women receive care.”

—Henry Tomes, PhD, Executive Director for Public Interest, American Psychological Association

Table of Contents

Foreword, Pamela Trotman Reid

1. The New Multiculturalism and Psychodynamic Theory: Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and African American Women, Leslie C. Jackson

2. The Interweaving of Cultural and Intrapsychic Issues in the Therapeutic Relationship, Kumea Shorter-Gooden and Leslie C. Jackson

3. Individual and Group Psychotherapy with African American Women: Understanding the Identity and Context of the Therapist and Patient, Joan M. Adams

4. The Stone Center Theoretical Approach Revisited: Applications for African American Women, Yvonne M. Jenkins

5. African American Lesbians and Bisexual Women in Feminist-Psychodynamic Psychotherapies: Surviving and Thriving between a Rock and a Hard Place, Beverly Greene

6. The Courage to Hear: African American Women's Memories of Racial Trauma, Jessica Henderson Daniel

7. The African American Supervisor: Racial Transference and Countertransference in Interracial Psychotherapy Supervision, Michele Owens-Patterson

8. Hair Texture, Length, and Style as a Metaphor in the African American Mother-Daughter Relationship: Considerations in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Beverly Greene, Judith C. White, and Lisa Whitten

9. Finding the Lost Part: Identity and the Black/White Biracial Client, Kumea Shorter-Gooden

10. Psychoanalytic Group Psychotherapy with African American Women: The Bad Mother in All-Female Groups, Judith C. White

11. The Icon of the Strong Black Woman: The Paradox of Strength, Regina E. Romero

12. African American Women and Moral Masochism: When There Is Too Much of a Good Thing, Cheryl L. Thompson

13. Feminist and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with African American Women: Some Differences, Frances K. Trotman

14. African American and American Jew: A Tale of Two Women Searching for Home, Cheryl L. Thompson

About the Editors

Leslie C. Jackson, PhD, ABPP, is a professor of psychology at Georgia State University and a psychologist in private practice in Atlanta. An experienced clinician, teacher, and consultant, Dr. Jackson is an active presenter at professional workshops and conferences. Her research and publications focus on diversity issues in training and service delivery.

Beverly Greene, PhD, ABPP, is a professor of psychology at St. John's University and a certified clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City. Dr. Greene has received numerous national awards for distinguished scholarly and professional contributions. Her publications include Women of Color: Integrating Ethnic and Gender Identities in Psychotherapy (coedited with Lillian Comas-Diaz).


Mental heath practitioners and students across a range of disciplines.

Course Use

Will serve as a text in clinically oriented courses on the psychology of gender and the psychology of diversity, and in psychotherapy practica.