Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Africana Studies

Reader 1

Theodore Bartholomew

Reader 2

Mukasa Mubirumusoke

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This thesis investigates the relationship between Black clients’ therapeutic outcomes when discussing topics of anti-Blackness in psychotherapy sessions in the context of Afro-Pessimism. Anti-Black racism has clear implications for mental health, and yet it is often purposefully overlooked in many psychological spaces. American institutions, including psychotherapy, place little importance on the health and well-being of Black people. As such, the prospect of attending psychotherapy may be quite daunting for Black Americans and there may be discomfort for both Black clients and their clinicians in discussing matters of anti-Black racism in these settings. Experiences of anti-Blackness are pervasive and illusive, and it is important that mental health providers in the United States have the competency and tools to adequately address these issues with their clients. There is a need to examine the fundamental inattention paid toward anti-Black racism in psychological counseling spaces. This thesis used multiple regression analysis to study the relationship between Black clients and perceptions of their therapists’ cultural comfort, working alliance, and perception of treatment outcome. These findings are discussed within the scope of Afro-Pessimism, multicultural competence, and the value of mutual initiation of discussions of anti-Blackness in sessions.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.