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Comas-Diaz, L., On Being a Latina Healer: Voice, Consciousness, and Identity. Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Practice, Training © 2010 American Psychological Association
2010, Vol. 47, No. 2, 162–168 DOI: 10.1037/a0019758

What diversity/subjectivity topics are they discussing?

Comas-Diaz wrote this in 2010, writing from a position as a successful and established professional. Responding to a perception in the field that there are proper ways to do therapy, as well as an opening of possibilities that non-Eurocentric methods might also be effective.

Your summary or comments on the article

Addresses the question: How do my individual identity factors affect my approach to therapy? Takes a pride and empowerment perspective on ancestry and traditions.

She identifies cleft palette, bilingualism, moves between Chicago and Puerto Rico, sex/gender, Latina identity, and skin color as relevant identity factors. In addition, she focuses on the powerful gifts she has inherited through her ancestors.

She is proposing a stance that is useful for addressing all kinds of cultural identity factors.


“A Latina psychotherapist relates her journey of becoming a healer. I discuss how my diversity status impacts on my life and on my approach to psychotherapy. My story offers clinical suggestions for therapists working with multi- cultural clients.”

“I inherited a healing lineage. My ancestors drank in the fountains of shamanism, Christian healing, spiritualism, gitano (Gypsy) wisdom, and Oricha beliefs. As a result, my dharma was to become a psychotherapist. Like many under- privileged Puerto Ricans of their generation, my parents migrated to the continental United States in search of work. Poor in their pockets, but rich in their hearts, they received their first born with acceptance and hope: I was born with a cleft palate. Longing to hear my voice, my father named me after his favorite singer—Lily Pons. My parents armed themselves with perseverance and prayed for a miracle. Physicians at the University of Illinois answered their prayers when they repaired my cleft palate in an experimental operation. A medical expert examined me 50 years later and declared my cleft palate repair ‘one of the best surgeries’ she had seen. ‘Medicine did not have the correct technique at the time of your surgery’ (Comas-D ́ıaz, 2008). Al- most in disbelief, the doctor dried her tears and declared my cleft palate operation a ‘divine in- tervention.'”

Resource contributed by:

jen sermoneta

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