Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type

Applied Clinical Project (ACP)

Degree Name

Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Christine Beliard

Committee Member

Christopher Burnett


Literature on experiences of the millennial African-American family therapists is minimal and sporadic. Recommendations for therapists working with African-American clients have been identified throughout theliterature; however, there is no research on the experiences of African-American millennial family therapists. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2018-2028 employment of Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) is projected to grow 22 % due to an increasing need for treatment to address client needs. My applied clinical project is an ethnography of lived experiences of African-American millennialtherapists. This study is critical as the increase of African-American millennial therapists entering the field of family therapy warrants an examination of their experiences. This qualitative study focused on understanding the experiences of African-American millennial family therapists through conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews with six African-American therapists born between 1981-1994. Anethnographic methodology was utilized as the structure for data collection and analysis. Three dominant themes emerged that illuminated the participants' experiences and gave meaning to their stories, with eight sub-themes. The findings are discussed in light of the current literature about African-Americans therapists' involvement in family therapy, and millennials in particular. Findings demonstrate that participants reported feeling a lack of connection with non-Black family therapists and that in order for African-American millennials to feel more comfortable with entering the field of family therapy, more acceptance of cultural differences and provision of more opportunities and fairness for African-American millennials is needed. Implications of the findings are discussed for the field of family therapy and future research.