Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


The American Psychological Association has identified three areas of skills for cross-cultural competency for psychologists. Those areas are knowledge of self and one's own culture, historical and current knowledge of other cultures and specific technical skills. This study addresses the area of technical skills in a cross-cultural situation, Euroamerican therapists working with Native American Indian clients. Many authors have theorized that individual counseling is not a useful modality to Native American Indians. The method used in this study was a role-play counseling situation between Native American Indians and Euroamerican counseling and clinical psychology doctoral students followed by a post-session interview. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed for recurring themes. The results indicate that therapists must attend to three aspects of an individual: the idiosyncratic, the culture-specific, and the universal. The Native American Indian participants reported that therapist relationship building skills were important. If they did not feel connected to the therapist, they were not willing to disclose their problem nor take any of the therapist's direction. Self-disclosure by the therapist increased the participant's trust of the therapist. Direct eye contact by the therapist was viewed in a variety of ways; some of the participants wanted direct eye contact and other participants felt uncomfortable with it. Consistent with current literature, Native American Indians wanted structure and direction regarding the counseling process from the therapist, but they wanted to define the outcomes, not have outcomes imposed on them. Native Americans in this study reported that although they could see some possible negative consequences of individual therapy, their general belief was that it would be useful in helping them resolve problems.