Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Counselor Education and Supervision

Advisor

Jason Patton

Abstract

South Asian same-sex attracted women in the United States experience discrimination and marginalization that puts them at an increased risk for mental health issues. Research shows their rates of counseling and psychotherapy use are low due to perceptions of stigma, lack of knowledge, and concerns about culturally insensitive treatment plans. Mental health providers lack the literature needed to inform culturally sensitive treatment plans to address these concerning gaps in services, and an extensive literature review found no studies on the lived experiences of this population. Guided by feminist theory, this research study examined how discrimination, oppression, and marginalization mold womenâ??s lived experiences; this knowledge aims to serve as a means to advocate for social and political change for this population. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the lived experiences of this population. An emergent hand coding analysis, using experiential anecdotes, of data collected from interviews of 10 participants generated 10 major themes and 25 subthemes of experiences. Themes included importance of cultural values; familial relationships; marital life plan; intersectionality; and discrimination from gender disparity, patriarchal hierarchy, and sexual modesty. The study contributes to social change initiatives by providing culturally and contextually practical information to mental health professionals, counselor educators, and educational institutions that provide services to this population.

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