Date of Conferral
Historically, African American lesbians (AALs) experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) have received little or no support from therapists due to stigmas concerning the same-sex relationships of AALs in particular, who have been racially marginalized. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences, attitudes, and perceptions of therapists who provide counseling for AALs who have experienced IPV. The findings of this study may help to better understand the challenges, perceptions, and attitudes of therapists regarding their experiences in working with AALs in domestic violent relationships because existing research was limited on mental health therapists' perceptions of working with AALs who are experiencing IPV in their relationships. Attribution theory provided a framework through which to explore and describe this topic. A phenomenological research design was used to explore the perceptions and lived experiences of 10 mental health professionals who have worked with AALs in IPV relationships. Data collection, using semistructured continued until data saturation was attained. Moustakas' phenomenological steps for data analysis were used to identify 4 themes in the data: challenges, IPV, resources available, and outcomes. Understanding the attitudes and experiences of therapists working with AALs in abusive relationships may result in positive social change through increasing knowledge of the issues involved. This may result in improved counseling and other services to AALs.