Uncategorizedpsychotherapy and culture

Psychotherapy has different faces influenced by personal, cultural and context components. Today I will talk a bit about culture. The culture specific psychotherapy can be a very important aspect of its effectiveness. Even though a psychotherapy training mentions a need for flexibility and being culturally aware unfortunately practise and application takes a different road. During my training, being a foreigner myself, I have experienced a lack of understanding and acceptance of differently delivered therapy to the one commonly used in Ireland. So how that can be welcomed in practise with others? For example; in Irish culture there is a trend of passivity and more indirect approach to life and therapy, whereas myself (as you can read in a section About) I am representing a direct, action orientated and solution focused approach in therapy. CBT and related to it branches of psychotherapy such as Schema Therapy, Rational Emotive Therapy, represent those types of delivery. A direct approach strives towards clarity, an exchange of observations, experiences and feelings from both sides so we can create an overall road map for the future treatment. It is called a case conceptualization. An action orientation helps to take a mental health in your own hands, practice and engage in creating your own quality of life. Solution focused method searches for ways of resolving issues, learning how and where to search within and outside in order to overcome obstacles. Those aforementioned aspects do not have to fit everyone however they should not be dismissed. Two factors have to be taken under account: first, a different approach to a cultural trend can be challenging and, because of it, enriching. It is good to learn from different cultures and opposite approaches. The second factor, there are also aspects that can be unhelpful, for example individualistic and collectivistic societies share different values and fulfilling them can be a part of a person’s mental health recovery. Not grasping those aspects can be detrimental for a person. Yet in my training, no engagement on learning about those dimensions was delivered. I remember when I took a part in the psychometric training. The feedback delivery was a part of the course and again cultural differences had been mentioned. The example was shown and ended up in… Irish very indirect delivery of that feedback to the point of disregarding someone’s intellect completely in receiving it.

I find myself in a very comfortable position of having experience in living in two different worlds during my lifetime. They are opposite in many ways, one direct, another indirect, one more anxious, another more angry, one more extraverted, another introverted, therefore I find it easy to be flexible and not exaggerate in neither way. However I haven’t learnt that in training which is a pity. I highly encourage to keep in mind that cultural influences play a role in your recovery yet openness to learn and explore a wider context of your issues can be done with every person if that person is enough curious and mentally able (mentalization skills) to go there….. Choose your therapist wisely…


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