Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model

By Shlomo Ariel | Go to book overview

is the family itself. The therapist speaks with the family about itself, not about social generalizations. He does not come to the family with the attitude: "You blacks feel victimized, isn't that so?" "You Irish drink a lot. What about your husband?" He approaches the cultural aspects of the family dynamics--as well as all the other aspects of its dynamics--as the family's own, not as derivatives of some abstract communal characteristics. His observations, questions and actions are, however, informed by general theoretical hypotheses concerning wider cultural aspects of families' functioning.

In the ethnicity and family therapy literature, cultural characteristics are often presented as lists of discrete traits. Therapeutic implications are also offered as disconnected pieces of advice. In the approach proposed here, on the other hand, specifics are systematically related to the general theory. The general theory contains sets of interconnected hypotheses concerning dynamically interacting therapy-relevant aspects of culture and family.

The ethnicity and family therapy literature lists numerous categories that should also be included in a general culturally sensitive theory and methodology of family therapy, for example, kinship systems, extended versus nuclear family, belief systems, stages of acculturation, and so forth. Some writers have gone further and proposed general, coherent classification Systems including such categories, for example, Karrer ( 1989) and Spiegel ( 1982). DiNicola ( 1997) has gone even further than that. His book is to the best of my knowledge the first attempt to construct a general integrative model of family therapy. Other interesting attempts at integration are Fish ( 1996) and Gopaul-McNicol ( 1997). These are steps in the right direction. As noted, however, general theoretical and methodological works of the latter kind have so far been the exception rather than the rule. In most of the existing studies, the relevant categories are presented in a very uneconomical manner. The same categories are introduced repeatedly in many specific descriptions of particular communities. The prospective state of the art will include attempts at constructing general culturally sophisticated integrative models and methodologies of family systems and therapy, which can be applied to any family of any sociocultural background.


SUMMARY

The purpose of this chapter is to show why any theory of family therapy should be culturally sophisticated to be adequate. In most theories of family therapy, symptoms in the individual are explained by family dysfunction. Culture is not considered an inherent part of this explanatory framework. The following reasons are proposed as to why culture should be incorporated into the independent variable of this function: Culture creates both order and disorder. That is, psychological symptoms serve an homeostatic function, not just for the family as a system, but also for the family as a carrier of culture and for the cultural community to which the family belongs. Cul

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Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I - Culture and Family Therapy: an Overview 1
  • 1 - The Necessity to Incorporate Culture into the Theory and Practice of Family Therapy 3
  • Summary 17
  • 2 - The General Model of Culturally Competent Family Therapy: a Brief Outline 19
  • Summary 30
  • Part II - Family-Cultural Concepts Relevant to Diagnosis and Treatment 33
  • 3 - The Family's Conceptualization of Its Environment 35
  • Summary 43
  • 4 - The Family's Cultural Identity 45
  • Summary 65
  • 5 - The Family's Functioning and Lifestyle 67
  • Summary 74
  • 6 - The Family's Coping with Problems and Difficulties 77
  • Summary 82
  • Part III - The Information-Processing Framework 83
  • 7 - The Family as an Information-Processing System 85
  • Summary 100
  • 8 - Culturally Determined Family Dysfunction 103
  • Summary 116
  • Part IV - Culturally Competent Family Diagnosis 119
  • 9 - Data-Collection Instruments and Procedures 121
  • Summary 130
  • 10 - Analysis of Diagnostic Data 131
  • Summary 150
  • Part V - Therapy 153
  • 11 - The Therapeutic Alliance in Culturally Competent Family Therapy 155
  • Summary 163
  • 12 - Planning the Therapy: Strategies, Tactics and Techniques 165
  • Summary 193
  • 13 - The Therapeutic Process 195
  • Summary 212
  • Epilogue 213
  • Appendix - A Classified List of References 215
  • References 229
  • Index 249
  • About the Author 255
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