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Listening to the Voices of the Poor and Disrupting the Silence About Class Issues in Psychotherapy


Please address correspondence to: Lauren Appio, Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th St., New York, NY 10027. E-mail:


By its very nature, a life of poverty is harmful to the emotional well-being of poor and working-class women and men. Psychology, for the most part, has unwittingly played a part in this oppression by pathologizing the poor and maintaining barriers to mental health care. This article presents findings from qualitative studies that illustrate lived experiences and insights from poor and working-class people in the community at large and in the therapeutic settings in particular. Drawing from these narratives, recommendations are made to psychologists who seek to subvert the normative silence around class issues and take on the work of providing class-aware services to men and women in poverty.