PSYCHOTHERAPY ACROSS CULTURES

Author(s): 
J BENSON 1
1 University of Adelaide, Australia
Text: 
BACKGROUND: The marginalized groups in all our societies have backgrounds and lifestyles that will usually differ markedly from our own. The homeless, refugees, indigenous people, drug addicts, the poor - their views on 'how life should be' will be based on their life experiences, and may be very different from our own. This 'ethnocentrism' will affect how we relate to them and they to us. Most of the current research in psychotherapy has been done on those from the 'mainstream', using methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This may not be relevant to patients who do not share the same cultural viewpoint. However it is almost impossible for doctors to educate themselves in the ever-growing variety of cultural factors that can influence the interaction with patients. This presentation will explore some alternative approaches that may be more helpful in treating those patients who are outside our usual cultural milieu.