Furthering a strengths-based approach to mental health and wellness requires researchers to explore the role of cultural systems, sociohistorical factors, and the intersectionality of race and gender as factors impacting wellness. To fill the existing gaps in the literature, 12 African American women who identify as strong Black women were interviewed to address the question “How do African American women who manifest the archetype of the strong Black woman make sense of their experiences with wellness?” Working within the client’s perspective, interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed to analyze data collected during semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Themes pulled from the data described how traits of the archetype were internalized during childhood and had implications for how participants perceived and prioritized self-care, a key component of wellness. Findings depict the moderating effects of the strong Black woman archetype on wellness among participants and highlight sociocultural factors impeding its achievement. Implications for assessment, treatment, and counselor education are provided.

You do not currently have access to this content.