The Effects of Racial and Ethnic Differences or Similarities on the Therapeutic Alliance


  • Rafael O. Leite
  • Paul Peluso


diversity, mental health services, multiculturalism, theraputic alliance,


The increasing diversity of the United States raises the probability that a therapist will encounter clients with a different racial or ethnic background than their own. Thus, evaluating the relationship between racially or ethnically similar or different therapists and clients is essential in producing effective cross-cultural therapy. The objective of this study was to determine any significant effects that racially or ethnically similar or different clients and therapists have on the therapeutic alliance. The alliance was measured using the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI) for both the clients and therapists at a university counseling center to evaluate the influences on the overall therapeutic alliance. The results of the study were that neither therapists nor clients rated the therapeutic alliance significantly different regardless of whether the other person was of a similar or different racial and ethnic background. However, there were significant differences in how male and female therapists rated the alliance.