Global Perspectives in Family Therapy: Development, Practice, and Trends

By Kit S.Ng | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5

The Beginning of Family Therapy in India

RADHA PRABHU

The Indian civilization is one of the oldest in the world. With a population of nearly 1 billion, India is the largest democratic country in the world. It is a land of multicultures and subcultures with diverse religions, communities, languages, customs, and traditions. This diversity permeates every aspect of life in customs, rituals, selection of marriage partners, childrearing, education, family development, employment, and attitudes (Mullatti, 1995). India is also a land of paradox: although the illiteracy rate is one of the highest in the world, a sizable number of Indians has excelled academically and economically on par with the Western world. Consequently, there is no single approach that can be used in viewing Indian families. There are significant differences in family structure, roles, and traditions based on religion, community, caste, and urbanization. The growth of family therapy in India does not parallel the West because the unique nature of family interrelations, and social and cultural aspects influence the development of this approach.

In the West, the major growth of family therapy began around the 1950s and despite the divergent views on what constitutes family therapy, this approach has become a major therapeutic tool in providing help to families in distress. In India, the field of family therapy has progressed very gradually because of problems such as inadequate training facilities, lack of professional interest, and shortage of trained professionals. Most family therapists in India do not draw from a single theory and technique, even if they are trained in a single school of family therapy, because of cultural differences that include different family relationships, and different socioeconomic and sociocultural norms (Chandiramani, 1995; Shanker & Menon, 1991). In this context, working with families often involves multiple approaches,

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