Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model

By Shlomo Ariel | Go to book overview
Save to active project

different attitudes, ranging between deep suspicion and hostility at one extreme to blind, unjustified faith and admiration at the other. Families hold a great variety of views and prejudices with respect to professional help. These are partly derived from the family's own internalized cultural programs. Furthermore, people of disadvantaged sections of the population often mistrust mainstream professional helpers and the organizations they represent. Unfortunately, the distrust is often justified. Phenomena such as institutional racism and preferential treatment for certain segments of the population are well documented. See for instance McGoldrick ( 1998).

The ambivalent relationships between many African American families and professional helpers is thoroughly discussed by Boyd-Franklin ( 1989b). Bilu and Witztum ( 1993) discuss the problematics of offering modern psychiatric services to the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Jerusalem. They point out incompatibilities between the religious and the medical psychological models of reality. They claim, furthermore, that therapists are viewed as representatives of the impure secular world, which must be avoided. Despite these difficulties they have attempted to reach this community by adopting a therapeutic language suited to their world-view and values.

All the parameters referring to families' coping with problems and difficulties discussed in this chapter must be taken into account in any culturally competent family diagnosis and treatment. An essential ingredient of the art of culturally sensitive therapy is adapting the therapeutic strategies, the choice of techniques and the style of therapeutic communication to the family's own culture-bound conceptions of distress, coping and help.


This chapter is devoted to cultural differences in the ways people identify, define and explain symptoms, problems, crises and stresses and in their help- seeking attitudes and behavior. These differences co-vary with the family's world-view, ecological goals, values and beliefs.

In designing a therapeutic intervention, the therapist should take into account the family's representation of its problems, its traditional help-seeking attitudes and habits, its sources of help within its own community, and its attitudes with respect to modern professional help. Communication between therapist and family has to be sensitive to anxieties, suspicion and prejudices on both sides.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 256

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?