Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Takako Suzuki, PhD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Ange Puig, PhD

Third Advisor

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP


Multicultural considerations in behavioral healthcare rightfully remain a point of interest for practitioners, administrators and educators alike. Attention to culturally sensitive practice as a core competency for mental health practitioners has become rooted in academic curriculum and clinical trainings (Bussema & Nemec, 2006; Schottler et al., 2004). Despite this increased awareness of culturally competent practice, the results of these efforts are unclear as minority utilization of behavioral healthcare services continues to decline (Flaskerud, 2007). Racial biases and prejudice are still apparent in administrative and institutional settings that aspire to integrate cultural competencies into their organizations (Sue & Sue, 2007). Literature investigating the translation of training to practice is minimal and inconclusive (Flaskerud, 2007). This study examined how a Caucasian practitioner's degree of cultural competence related to the formation of the therapeutic alliance as well as how each individual's respective stage of racial identity development influenced their relationship. Results observed a significant correlation between a clinician's degree of cultural competence and strength of the therapeutic alliance. Small sample size and lack of differentiation among key variables did not allow for several hypotheses to be tested, however, an exploratory analysis found the subscales of the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI) to be highly predictive of one another between two administrations. A strong negative correlation was observed between the Skills and Awareness subscales of the Multicultural Counseling Inventory (MCI). Outcomes from this investigation were promising and provide future direction for further research in this area.