by Genevieve Kim, MA, LMFT
In Part 1 of this series, I talked about how to identify whether Culturally Sensitive Therapy is right for you. Check out Part 1 if you haven’t already.
If you resonate with any of the ways to recognize whether Culturally Sensitive Therapy would be a good match for you discussed in Part 1, you’re probably wondering what exactly it is and why it’s important.
Culturally Sensitive Therapy emphasizes the therapist’s awareness of the client’s cultural background, values, and belief system. Being aware of such differences, the therapist takes the client’s culture into large consideration before attributing any type of diagnosis and also recognizes that there might be painful experiences the client has endured due to being of a different culture. This is explored with sensitivity, consideration, validation, and affirmation. The therapist recognizes that a treatment approach that may be effective with one client of a particular background may not be effective with a client from a different cultural background and seeks to meet the client with their communication style.
Culturally Sensitive Therapy can be applied to any type of therapy, addressing all kinds of mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, trauma, relational conflict, parenting, etc. You might seek therapy specifically to address cultural issues impacted by racism, or your primary concern might actually be to address something that seems unrelated, but with cultural sensitivity. You realize that you want and would appreciate a therapist who looks at the whole picture and takes your cultural background and belief system into perspective when considering how to navigate some tough topics and situations.
While I have extensive cross-cultural experiences and am passionate about my clients feeling whole and healed in their own skin, I will never claim to be an “expert” of your culture. Your family even has its own culture that is separate from your ethnicity or nationality. I seek to be in a posture of curiosity to learn more about aspects of your culture with which I may not be as familiar.
All of this is important because it is especially crucial that you feel seen, heard, and understood by your therapist. The last thing you want is for therapy to mimic how you have felt different, like “the other,” or like you always have to explain or defend yourself. In providing Culturally Sensitive Therapy, my first and utmost priority is to provide a safe space for you to feel seen, heard, and understand so that you can pursue healing from experiences that have caused painful wounds you have been carrying. My desire is for you to feel affirmed for how you were created, to feel whole and reconciled with all the parts that make up your identity (especially if your ethnicity and nationality are of different countries), and to feel empowered fully embracing your race and ethnicity. When you have reached this place in your growth and development, you will feel more confident and secure in bringing all that you have to the table, be it in your friendships, relationships, with your family, or at work.
Start Cross Cultural Counseling in Pennsylvania
At Lime Tree Counseling, our team sees you for you. Several members of our team have first hand multi-cultural experience, and understand the value of different cultural backgrounds. We want to help you find confidence in who you were created to be, and thrive in all areas of life. Please contact us today to get started; don’t wait another day to start healing from old wounds and growing in the joy of being you!