Book Reviews -- Women of Color: Integrating Ethnic and Gender Identities in Psychotherapy Edited by L. Comas-Diaz and B. Greene

By Geasler, Margie J. | Family Relations, July 1995 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews -- Women of Color: Integrating Ethnic and Gender Identities in Psychotherapy Edited by L. Comas-Diaz and B. Greene


Geasler, Margie J., Family Relations


Comas-Diaz, L., and Greene, B. (Eds.). (1994). Women of Color: Integrating Ethnic and Gender Identities in Psychotherapy. New York: Guilford. 518 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-89862-371-5, price $49.95

This edited volume provides a cultural, racial, and gender context for assessing the mental health needs of women of color, identifies their mental health issues, and offers culturally relevant and gender-sensitive guidelines for their mental health treatment. Contributors are scholars and practitioners whose work reveals personal experience with the impact of gender and ethnicity on the lives of women of color. From the beginning, the reader is aware that this book does not present a monolithic conceptualization of women of color. Differences, both inter- and intragroup, are addressed, including support of individual authors' preferences for self-designation; for example, some use national origin such as Mexican American or Puerto Rican and others use Latinas or Hispanics. Women of Color is a scholarly inquiry that elaborates on the layers of oppression with which women, particularly women of color, must contend.

The book has 17 chapters and is divided into three sections. Part I reviews major clinical issues with specific ethnic/racial groups including African American, Asian American, Latina, West Indian, American Indian, and women of the Indian Subcontinent. Part II includes a discussion of four therapeutic perspectives and their applicability to women of color: psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and feminist approaches, and family therapy. In Chapter 11, Lillian Comas-Diaz provides a compelling argument for an integrative approach to psychotherapy for women of color, and Chapter 12 includes a table reviewing what we currently know about the influence of various psychosocial factors and gender on the metabolism and/or response to psychotropic drugs.

Part III includes guidelines for treatment of women of color from special subcultures and clinical groups, for example, women with professional status, lesbians, mixed race women, battered women, and refugee women.

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