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Clinical Manifestations of Prejudice in Psychotherapy: Toward a Strategy of Assessment and Treatment


Address correspondence to Megan Sullaway, Ph.D., Pacific Psychological Associates, 2221 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 211, E1 Segundo, CA 90245, or Edward Dunbar, Ed.D., Department of Psychology, University of California at Los Angeles, California, 90024; e-mail Ossain@AOL.COM.


Social bias is an issue of concern to both practitioners and clinical researchers. This article considers race and ethnic prejudice as a prominent clinical feature in three psychotherapy cases. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.) diagnoses, General Adaptive Functioning ratings, and Minnesota Muttiphasic Personality Inventory scores are considered in terms of the level of patient disturbance and severity of out-group prejudice. Two cases exemplify chronic adverse outgroup ideation, reflecting a constellation of traits of personality disturbance, disinhibttion, and adverse behavioral response (e.g., panic, hostility, and/or aggression) to intergroup contact, while one case evidences prejudicial ideation as a transitory, conditioned response to traumatic victimization by a member of a racial outgroup. Prejudice is considered as a clinical syndrome, with treatment strategy considered in terms of the severity and chronicity of prejudicial ideation.