The stranger brings the unfamiliar

Experiences of Counsellors with Culturally Different Clients

Koch-Stierle, Friederike

(Forschungsberichte zur Transkulturellen Medizin und Psychotherapie, Bd.2)



What happens if two different cultures meet in a therapeutic setting?
To elucidate at least one part of this complex interaction and relation five English and five German counsellors/ psychotherapists were asked about their experience with culturally different clients.
The author gives a lively account of the counsellors` reported feelings, thoughts and behaviours which reflect the felt tension between fascination, anxieties and rejection. Based on an extended literature review the various personal experiences are discussed against the background of relevant theory.
The report allows the reader to gain an interesting insight into the challenge of cross-cultural counselling.
Dr. Friederike Koch-Stierle has worked as a medical doctor in several German hospitals and counselling services. Currently she works as a psychotherapist at Heidelberg. For more than three years she lived in Mali/Westafrika. Her interest in multicultural issues arose from this sojourn where she experienced what it means to be culturally different.
This research was undertaken as part of the one year MA course "Counselling Studies" at Keele University/England (1993/94)


Contents:

Personal Introduction
Theoretical Introduction
  1. Literature Review
    1. Barriers in Cross-Cultural Counselling
    2. Cross-Cultural Counselling Practice
      1. Cultural Awareness
      2. Cultural Knowledge
      3. Cultural Skills
  2. Methods
    1. Research Participants
    2. Reflexivity
    3. Methodology
  3. Results
    1. "The Concept of Culture is a Difficult One"
    2. "There is Something that is Different"
    3. "It was Difficult for Me"
    4. "It has Something to do with Me"
      1. Fighting for One's Own Goals
      2. Facing the Client's Antagonism
      3. Acknowledging One's Own Prejudice
    5. "I Don't Think that You Can Communicate with Every Client Who Walks in the Door"
  4. The Emotional 'Flavour' of the Interviews
    1. Attraction
    2. Responsibility
    3. Neutrality
    4. Caution and Vulnerability
  5. Discussion
    1. Corresponding and Divergent Research Findings
    2. Knowing about Existential Value Orientations
    3. Viewing One's Own Cultural Background
    4. Dealing with Prejudice and Potential Racism
    5. Assessing One's Own Therapy Approach
  6. Conclusions
  7. Appendices
    1. Background Questions
    2. Interview Questions (Guideline)
    3. Questions Three Months After the Interview
Acknowledgements
Reference




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