Integrate Culture into Therapy

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Integrate Culture into Therapy

Last week, you took a closer look at traditional models and how these models can connect with taking a cultural humility standpoint in the therapy room. This week, you will take a look at culture and apply a postmodern model with a cultural humility standpoint.

Consider social construction; social construction is at the root of all postmodern models. Social construction is how you come to understand the world around you based on your experiences with others. Burr (1995) considers social construction an active process where people “take a critical stance towards our taken-for-granted ways of understanding the world” (p. 2). People generate constructions of the world through language, the passing down of knowledge, and the active generating of knowledge between people. Anderson (1997) describes postmodernism as the merging of client and therapist’s realities within a space. It involves the people in the therapy room and the contexts of their lives and their realities.

It seems logical that postmodern models would be geared toward working through a cultural humility lens. Postmodern models allow space to present and appreciate the client’s stories (D’Arrigo-Patrick et al., 2017). Additionally, postmodern models involve a sense of collaboration between the therapist and the client, where the client explores the context and even challenges that context or way of thinking as it fits with the client’s goals and direction.

This week, you will have an opportunity to “listen” to a context of the culture that is presented. Additionally, you will reflect on a postmodern model and how this model could address this context.

This week, you will practice listening to a story of another person’s experience or context (from a postmodern and cultural humility standpoint). Think of yourself as a curious and open vessel where you are taking in what the authors are telling you. After this, you will write a reflection paper related to the experience, your own thoughts, and the connections you are considering between postmodern models and cultural humility.

The first step in this process is to pick two of the readings that are listed that highlight different populations or experiences. Maybe read through the first paragraph of each to determine which two articles may feel most different from your own experiences. Once you pick the two articles to read, set aside a different kind of space to really “listen” to the authors. Maybe find a cozy couch or a quiet space outside to just take in the two readings completely. As you are reading, try to place yourself within the perspective of the author(s), try to understand and be curious about their perspective, their social constructions, and try to be aware of any social constructions (or biases or judgments) that you might bring to the understanding of their perspective, overall, just be “with” this reading.

After you are done with that part of the process, you will write a reflection paper. Your paper should address the following:

Personal Reflection
Discuss why you picked the two articles you did.
Share your overall initial (personal) reactions to their experiences and perspectives.
Describe anything you read that causes a specific emotional reaction in you. Explain where you think this reaction came from (concerning your own context).
Share what you learned about another person’s context that you didn’t know before.
Crossroads of postmodern models and cultural humility
Discuss how you feel postmodern models and cultural humility fit or do not fit together.
Describe any model connection that you considered. When you were going through your two reflective readings, could you see any postmodern model specifically nicely addressing the context of the person you were reading about?
Present two to three postmodern techniques (e.g. from the narrative, solution-focused, or collaborative) that you think would fit well with the cultural humility lens.
Consider the therapist’s context and the role this context plays in viewing clients through a cultural humility lens. Postmodernism and social construction indicate that there is a melding of perspectives in an interaction. Discuss how you are mindful of this with clients. (Note: Consider your own understandings or misunderstandings of the articles that you read and provide an example of how this reactivity/misunderstanding may influence the therapeutic environment.)

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