Date of Conferral







Georita Frierson


Researchers have found that African American men are one of the most marginalized, targeted, and disenfranchised groups of people. In the past, African American men were less likely to attend psychotherapy compared to other ethnicities. Barriers to treatment includes the following: distrust in the mental health system, self-reliant behaviors, religious ideologies, cultural stigmas, and the ideology of what it means to be a man and an African American man in America. This study addressed the lack of qualitative studies on the experiences of African American men who attend psychotherapy by exploring the lived experiences of 10 African American men who voluntary attended psychotherapy 2 or more times in their adult lives. Sites of resilience, a theoretical framework for this study, provided an understanding of African American men's resilience and a clinical model for engaging African American men in mental health services. Handcoding was used to organize data by developing categories and later establishing common themes expressed during semistructured interviewing. Five themes emerged from the data: (a) stigmatization, (b) self-awareness, (c) self-realization, (d) emotions, and (e) transition between prepsychotherapy and postpsychotherapy experiences. The understanding of experiences of African American men who have chosen psychotherapy contributes to positive social change by identifying appropriate therapeutic strategies, including emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills. Furthermore, the lived experiences provided by this study's participants can provide direction for additional research to improve the experiences of African American men and mental health services.