Why I think culture is important in therapy.

Why I think culture is important in therapy.

Literally, everybody around me, and the current trend is to go and have an education abroad. We have this notion of the west and how the quality of education is better from what we have in India. 

Don't get me wrong, some of the short term courses can be really insightful as well. But intersectionality and privilege are two things that cannot be isolated from mental health. The culture and the background that a person comes from play a large role in how their mental health is affected. When we see people from marginalized communities we also see that they have suppressed or normalized so much of their pain because of the background that they come from.

Yes, studying concepts under different schools of psychology is important. Yes, we can look for different techniques to better ourselves in therapy. But if we don't consider the vast layers of case, class, race, and religion while using these techniques, there's no point in the therapeutic process. We wont be able to provide a rich relationship to our clients.

Our culture plays a huge role in how we see ourselves and the relationships around us. For example. Staying in a toxic home because we can't disobey our family, making ourselves look a certain way to feel accepted, and much more. So when our lives have multiple layers of acceptance or rejection in them, how can simply using techniques from theories we’ve read help? Especially when all the education we receive comes with examples from the west. We study these different techniques and learn new terminology and think that applying these systemized techniques are the only things that will help in bettering our relationship with our clients, but are we thinking about how these concepts play in our culture, how they need to be further broken down, how even before introducing these concepts of healing, understanding ones background becomes is important? 

No approach we take will ever be the same. The different layers of marginalization a person comes with should change our approach after understanding how deep-rooted culture is in their lives. If we don't understand the importance of these layers, the history behind our religion, culture, race, we will never truly be an ‘informed’ therapist.

We can study theory and concepts all we want, but until we’ve taken the time to understand culture, our own and others, its history and its impact, and how to apply that practically, we won't be true to our practices. 


Meet The Author

Shipra's main areas of focus are the connections between the body and mind. She uses a trauma-informed & needs-based approach to counselling. Shipra believes in always trying to create a healthy balance between work and life.
She also loves sunsets, beaches, kittens, chai and cooking. Growing plants is her form of grounding, and she’s found to resort to Disney or the Mamma Mia soundtrack when everything else is spiraling.

Shipra Parswani, Psychologist


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