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Maxine Notice, Ph.D., is a 2019 graduate of the PhD Program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Antioch University, New England Dissertation Committee: Lucille Byno, PhD, Committee Chair Kevin Lyness, PhD, Committee Member Walter Lowe Jr., PhD, Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2019

Abstract

Interracial couples in the United States experience disproportionate amounts of adversity throughout their relationships. Backlash for loving interracially results in denied access to supportive systems, which literature indicates occurs commonly between micro and macro systems. Using ecological systems and narrative theories, a mixed methodological study was conducted using the Fragile Families Child and Wellbeing study to explore participant’s use of relational therapy and perceptions of access support systems. Subsequently, sixty interracial couple members completed a survey expressing perceptions of relational therapy, and the influence of support systems on their usage. Results indicate interracial and same-race couples attend relational therapy at similar rates; however, interracial respondents perceive limited access to support systems. Survey results indicate several key themes that guided these interactions: silence, secrecy, stigma, positive communication, and embracing cultural differences. Suggestions for further research exploring how support systems are accessed, along with clinical implications for relational therapy are provided.

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