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Abstract

The Latino population is the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the United States. Yet, Latinos do not receive adequate mental health treatment due to the lack of cultural sensitivity regarding the necessity of bilingual and bicultural staff and culturally modified therapies. The difficulties associated with Latinos wrestling to preserve their native culture while also adjusting to the new dominant U.S. culture may cause them to experience acculturative stress. This specific distress may lead Latinos to implement maladaptive coping strategies that could influence Latino risk factors regarding unemployment, poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, aggressive behavior, mental health issues, and suicide rates. After reviewing the research focused on Latinos, Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Interpersonal Therapy were three major orientations aimed at individual therapy with Latinos while Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy and psychoeducational groups dominated group therapy literature with Latinos. This review concluded the importance of incorporating cultural values and addressing socio-psychological stressors in therapy in order to produce significant treatment efficacy. Nonetheless, the rapidly increasing Latino population and genuine lack of cultural awareness requires continued research on culturally modifying other treatment modalities, multicultural competency for mental health professionals, and graduate program incorporation of a language component to stimulate interest with this needy population.



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