Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name





J. Grant


Asian therapist, Coping, Interpretative phenomenological analysis, Racial microaggressions, Racial minority therapist, Therapist of color




While studies have shown that racial microaggressions are common and recurring experiences for racial minority therapists, Asians are underrepresented in the existing research. The present study examined Asian Canadian therapists’ lived experiences with racial microaggressions and their coping responses in clinical practice and professional settings. Semi-structured interviews were conducted through the online Microsoft Teams platform with nine Asian therapists. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and data were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Two relevant superordinate themes emerged from the analysis. The first, “encountering the complexities of microaggressions,” illustrated participants’ experiences with different forms of microaggressions, demonstrating their ambiguity and their long-lasting impacts on participants. Under the second superordinate theme, “navigating the quandaries of microaggressions,” participants showed hesitancy in addressing microaggressions with the aggressors. However, when the client-therapist relationship was strong, it was shown that broaching microaggressions with clients may result in therapeutic change. Some participants also identified benefits in addressing microaggressions with their coworkers and, when handled with caution, with supervisors. Despite facing challenges, participants were proud of their Asian heritage and the opportunity to contribute their cultural knowledge in clinical practice. The study highlights a variety of ways organizations can create a safe environment for minority therapist staff. It also stresses the importance of minority therapists seeking social support, and advocating for themselves, when facing microaggressions.

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