Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model

By Shlomo Ariel | Go to book overview

theft of one bag only can be considered as a forgivable necessity of feeding only one's hungry family. If people find out the truth by themselves the injury to one's self- respect and the loss of face are smaller than when one openly admits a dishonorable fact.


Ethnotheories about Communication

All the characteristics of the family's communication discussed above are decisively influenced by the culture's general premises about communication and its functions. Ethnotheories about communication are developed to answer some of the following sorts of questions: What is the function of words? Are they to be interpreted as acts of expressive or internal events, as vehicles for exercise of power, as disguises for actual intentions or meanings? Can intentions differ significantly from either acts or words (see Lutz 1985; Mageo , 1995)?

The following examples paraphrased from Corson ( 1995, p. 190) illustrates cross-cultural misunderstanding that can arise in situations in which the communicants hold different ethnotheories about communication.

The following speech acts are characteristic of Koori ( Australia) child-discourse in conventional classrooms: Empty bidding in response to teacher questions, followed by silence, deferred replying to a question, after a longer than normal pause, shadowed replying, etc. Teachers often interpret these responses as reflective of intellectual inferiority, rather than as norms of language use dictated by the cultures ethnotheory about communication.

All the parameters specifying the family's functioning and its lifestyle discussed above must be taken into account in culturally competent diagnosis and treatment. Therapists are advised to be especially alert to the parameters division of labor and roles, raising the children, privacy, nudity and touch and verbal and nonverbal communication. People are emotionally invested in their own culture-bound modes of thinking and behaving in these domains and often find it difficult to overcome ethnocentric preconceived ideas and prejudices when these domains are concerned. For obvious reasons, the parameter verbal and nonverbal communication requires therapists' special attention. Adequate therapeutic alliance will never be reached if the therapist has not assimilated at least partly the family's own modes of verbal and nonverbal communication.


SUMMARY

This chapter is devoted to the manifestations of the family's structure, self-concept, values and beliefs in its daily functioning and lifestyle. These

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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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