Poverty and Mental Health Practice: Within and Beyond the 50-Minute Hour
Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume 69, Issue 2, pages 182–190, February 2013
How to Cite
Goodman, L. A., Pugach, M., Skolnik, A. and Smith, L. (2013), Poverty and Mental Health Practice: Within and Beyond the 50-Minute Hour. J. Clin. Psychol., 69: 182–190. doi: 10.1002/jclp.21957
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012
- social class;
- mental health;
- multicultural psychology;
- social justice
Despite the high and increasing prevalence of poverty in the United States, psychologists and allied professionals have done little to develop mental health interventions that are tailored to the specific sociocultural experiences of low-income families. In this article, we describe the sociocultural stressors that accompany the material deprivations of poverty, and the mental health difficulties to which they often give rise. Next, we outline the psychosocial and class-related issues surrounding low-income adults’ access to and use of mental health services and suggest a conceptual framework to guide the modification of mental health practice to better accommodate poor peoples’ complex needs. This framework describes opportunities for practice modification at three levels of intervention, beginning at the individual level of traditional individual psychotherapy and subsequently targeting increasingly broad contextual elements of poverty.