Working with Latino Youth: Culture, Development, and Context

Working with Latino Youth: Culture, Development, and Context

Working with Latino Youth: Culture, Development, and Context

Working with Latino Youth: Culture, Development, and Context


The Latino population in America is expanding at a rapid rate. Currently, Latinos represent more than 11 percent of the total U.S. population, and of that number, about 36 percent are children below the age of 18. Faced with tremendous pressure to assimilate into the American culture, many of these youths experience high rates of school failure, substance abuse, and other social problems. This makes the demand for culturally responsive intervention services for young Latinos greater than ever before. Working with Latino Youth offers counselors, teachers, social workers, therapists, and other professionals-no matter what their level of experience or cultural background-an accessible and practical guide for working effectively with Latino children and adolescents. This vital resource, which integrates development, culture, and psychological intervention, helps meet the challenge of addressing an array of culturally specific problems such as assimilation, discrimination, scholastic failure, pregnancy, substance abuse, and delinquency. The authors, Joan D. Koss-Chioino and Luis A. Vargas, present a dynamic new model for working with Latino youth that considers the individual within the context of their families, their communities, and their culture. To better understand how Latino children and adolescents are so profoundly influenced within the context of various settings, the authors offer a comprehensive examination of the four contextual levels: the microsystem level of family, the mesosystem and exosystem level of school and community, and the macrosystem level of cultural practices. Koss-Chioino and Vargas also present a wealth of research material and illustrative case studies that clearly demonstrate how to create treatment strategies that are culturally responsive and effective. Working with Latino Youth also addresses the critical issue of serving Latino children and adolescents in an era when public health budgets are shrinking and mental health services are becoming increasingly difficult to access for low-income families and undocumented immigrants. Step by step, Working with Latino Youth gives clinicians a road map for learning an effective collaborative approach that evaluates clients contextually, integrating contextual levels into successful intervention plans. The authors' clear advice makes Working with Latino Youth the essential book for every professional working with Latino youth. A Dynamic New Model for Working with Latino Youth Working with Latino Youth is an accessible and practical guide for any counselor, teacher, social worker, therapist, or other helping professional who wants to find an effective model for addressing the special needs of Latino children and adolescents."A medical anthropologist and clinical psychologist tell us how to make culturally appropriate psychological interventions responsive to the context and developmental experience of Latino youth. An eminently practical contribution for clinicians, planners, and administrators."--Eugene B. Brody, professor and chairman emeritus of psychiatry, University of Maryland; editor-in-chief, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease; and secretary general, World Federation for Mental Health"At a time when America and its professionals increasingly need to be responsive to the diversity of cultures, Koss-Chioino and Vargas have authored a comprehensive overview of Latino youth, who are rich in their own diversity. This highly readable book provides a wealth of information and examples about a 'new ethnic majority' to assist practitioners in their approaches not only with Latino children and families, but also with applicability to a variety of cultures through the contextual model these authors describe."--Michael C. Roberts, professor and director, Clinical Child Psychology Program, University of Kansas"This book achieves, close to perfection, the rare combination of solid theory, in-depth analysis, lucid insights, and clinically useful procedures.


While some cultural groups are concerned with the self, Latino people are deeply engaged with their social and cultural contexts. It is therefore not surprising that a contextualist perspective— which views context as the weaving together of the individual and his or her social fabric—would explain a contextualist people so well. in contrast to European psychology's early love affair with selforiented intrapersonal processes and American psychology's modernistic attachment to individually oriented self-actualization and autonomy, postmodern perspectives on adolescent development are interested in the influence of social and cultural contexts on children's developmental trajectories.

A contextualist perspective, like behavioral genetics, is characterized by an interest in understanding the diversity of patterns of the human condition as well as recognizing the heterogeneity within those patterns. Such a perspective has an exquisite ability to recognize how apparently small variations in context can produce markedly different results. Take the case of children in the same family. Although siblings share considerable genetic, social, and cultural antecedents, there is enough variability between siblings for each to be remarkably different from the other.

Similarly, the authors of this book remark on the considerable differences among people of Latino ancestry. Latinos are a complex mosaic of people who have been exposed to a broad range of cultural streams and social contexts and today constitute a heterogeneous constellation of groups. Recognizing that fact, this book is a plea against the stereotyping of Latinos and a call for recognition of the considerable uniqueness of each Latino youth and family and each Latino group.

The marriage between anthropology and clinical psychology succeeds in this book better than ever before. the collaboration . . .

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