Internalized oppression, psychopathology, and cognitive-behavioral therapy among historically oppressed groups

In recent decades, clinical psychologists have increased their efforts to make Empirically Supported Treatments (EST) more culturally appropriate and effective for various minority groups. Parallel to this development, greater attention has also been paid to identifying various political, social, and cultural variables that may influence the development of psychopathology and improve culturally specific treatment methods. The current article reviews the historical and contemporary experiences of oppression by various minority groups and proposes that internalized oppression is one important variable that may influence psychopathology development among members of such groups. Furthermore, I make suggestions with regard to how clinicians may culturally modify one popular EST – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – to conceptualize and address internalized oppression. It is hoped that this paper will (1) increase awareness of minority groups’ historical and contemporary experiences of oppression, (2) inspire greater awareness of how internalized oppression may influence psychopathology, and (3) generally articulate how CBT may be applied to address internalized oppression within racial and ethnic minority communities.




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