Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model

By Shlomo Ariel | Go to book overview

bound by the religious commandments. This is the central meaning of this stage and of the ritual marking it. Although the same ritual also is celebrated by nonreligious Jewish communities it has, for the latter, different meanings and functions. For nonreligious Israelis, for instance, it marks the passage from childhood to adolescence and the transition from elementary to high school.

The family's values and beliefs concerning marriage and family life must be taken into account in culturally competent diagnosis and treatment. Bugs in the family's cultural information-processing system are often produced by the incompatibility of the family's values and beliefs concerning marriage and family life with unfamiliar information the family is exposed to. Consider, for instance, Case 15. The tragic death of Haleema Bishari and her brother Hameed was the ultimate result of the incompatibility of their traditional family values and those of modern Israeli society. In their family, honor of the family and of its male head was a primary value. These values are not shared by mainstream Israeli culture. In Haleema's family, inequality between men and women was a norm. Violence perpetrated by male members of the family toward female members was not considered a major offense. Outsiders were not supposed to know about or interfere with such acts of violence. In mainstream Israeli culture, men and women are considered equal. Violence within the family is illegal and is condemned by public opinion. Haleema, who had been influenced by Israeli culture, defied her own family's values and paid with her life. The murder and suicide in this case cannot be explained without evoking this incompatibility of cultural values.

Therapists are advised to be especially attentive to the parameters of the family as a collective or as an aggregate of individuals, personal autonomy versus mutual merging and attitudes toward expressions of emotions. These parameters stand for fundamental cross-cultural differences in the ways people experience their own selves and other people. It is not at all easy to set oneself free of one's own modes of experiencing in these domains and empathize with other people's radically different modes.


SUMMARY

This chapter is devoted to the family's identity as a representative of culture. The family's identity consists of its distinctive, culture-bound structural properties, its basic tenets, its self-representation and its values and beliefs concerning what marriage and family are all about. Families vary considerably on these parameters. A family's cultural identity, as defined in this chapter, must be taken into account in culturally competent diagnosis and treatment. The family's problems, the possible solutions and the response to therapy will be decisively influenced by the distinctive features of the family's cultural identity.

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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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