Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model

Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model

Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model

Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model


The problems of a family are often conditioned by the cultural issues its members face, regardless of their socioeconomic background. However, most therapeutic models ignore this important factor. Ariel's book offers a model for diagnosis and therapy that incorporates cultural issues. It provides clinicians and trainees with readily applicable concepts, methods, and techniques for helping families and their members overcome difficulties related to intermarriage, immigration, acculturation, socioeconomic inequality, prejudice, and ecological or demographic change. This approach enables therapists to analyze and describe a family as a cultural system, explain its culture-related difficulties, and design and carry out culturally sensitive strategies for solving these difficulties.


In the past decade and a half there has been an increasing emphasis on the fact that all therapy should be sensitive to the patient's cultural, ethnic and religious identity and what part these background factors play in the problems perceived and presented by the patients in therapy. With the rapid and mounting influx of large numbers of immigrants to many host countries, the need to attend to issues emanating from relocation and displacement like acculturation versus cultural pluralism; different legal and social expectations; different languages, customs and mores; new intergenerational conflicts as children take on the values and behaviors of their adopted country more quickly than their parents do; and sometimes the residuals of multiple traumas, including having witnessed genocide and political repression, has escalated.

In this book Ariel has promulgated a fascinating and clinically useful model for conducting culturally competent family therapy. Much sensitivity is conveyed as he articulates his paradigm; his theoretical discussions are further illuminated in well-selected case illustrations. This comprehensive volume could well become essential reading for those engaged in treating bicultural couples; couples who have adopted children from other countries, or other racial and ethnic groups within their own country; patients from very different cultural backgrounds and with very different life experiences from one's own, as well as for those teaching, supervising and conducting research about this seminal issue in today's society.

This enlightening treatise has relevance to the thinking and practice of mental health professionals across national borders; it is both timely and universal in its depth, breadth and scope.

Florence Kaslow, Ph.D.

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