Cultural Considerations to Care|My course tutor

Posted: March 9th, 2023


Cultural Considerations to Care

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Why Cultural Issues are Important in Psychotherapy?

Western culture focuses on the individualistic values and is wildly different than Eastern cultures (Armstrong, 2021).

Not realizing this core difference undermines the importance of interdependence and interconnectedness support systems within culture outside of our own.

This would be counterproductive in the psychotherapy setting

Traditional psychotherapies deemphasize spiritual and cultural values that are paramount to some and a key to growth and development throughout their lives (Armstrong, 2021).

Religious and cultural values drive perception and relationships which impact mental health

Factors Impacting Access, Engagement, and the Use of Psychotherapy.

“Acculturation refers to the adaptation process when individuals from one culture are introduced to a new cultural context” (Zhou et al., 2022)

There are four levels of acculturation:

Assimilation – Adopts new culture

Separation – Rejects new culture

Integration – Combines aspects of both cultures, shown to provide best outcomes in mental health

Marginalization – Rejects both old and new cultures (Zhou et al, 2022).

Engagement and use of psychotherapies relies heavily upon the group’s collective outlook on mental health care.

Those who feel the pull of negative perception toward psychiatric care are less like to seek and participate in treatment for themselves.

What is: Korean Culture

Asian cultures promote collectiveness and interdependence within a family or social group.

Identities, beliefs and perceptions are similar within the group and must be conformed to.

Focus on external factors which way heavily on decisions (Zhou et al, 2022).

Hesitancy to accept psychiatric treatments are common due to fear of others judgement and the belief that grief and struggle should be private

Additional Information

America has long been considered a melting-pot for cultural differences

It is important to know what population groups are present within your community and ensure preparations have been taken to provide quality care (Corey 2016).

Asian cultures require a different approach to treatment due to external motivators and importance of privacy.

Focus cannot be solely on internal reflection and growth (Zhuo et al., 2022).


Armstrong, T. (2021). Considerations in Culturally Modifying Psychotherapy. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 40(3), 258-262.

Corey (2016). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (10th ed.). Cengage Learning EMEA.

Zhou, Z., Liew, J., & Luo, W. (2022). Acculturation and disordered eating among Asian American college students: The role of objectification through a sociocultural Lens. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(21), 13967.

Cultural Issues Presentation







Immigration to United States began in the 17th century, and ever since, the country has been the destination for millions of people as they search for a better life.


The United States is a country of immigrants. With the exception of Native-Americans, every other American is, or descends from, an immigrant. First and second generation immigrant children are the most rapidly growing segment of the American population (Beiser & Edwards, 2007).


Currently, there are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

5.6 million are of Mexican descent

1.8 million are from Central America

1.5 million are from Asia


(APA, 2023)

Population: Undocumented Immigrants




Mental Health Risk Factors

Financial issues, poverty, low socioeconomic status


Racism, discrimination, racial profiling


Stigma, social isolation, separation from family, fear of deportation




Increased Risk for Mental Health Issues

These stressors identified increase one’s risk for suicidal ideation

Increased risk for depression, substance disorders and PTSD

Fear of getting help for these disorders


(APA, 2023)






Cultural Understanding/ Treatment Recommendations

Provide adequate social support


Given the high risk for trauma among undocumented immigrants, screen for trauma in clients


Provide consistent and accessible resources


Recognize culturally specific concepts of distress, normative cultural factors, and cultural humility


Clinicians should regularly evaluate and reflect on their own cultural biases, understanding and awareness.


(APA, 2023)






American Psychiatric Association. 2023. Stress and Trauma Toolkit. Retrieved from,PTSD%20and%20other%20psychological%20disorders.


Beiser, M. & Edwards, G. (2007).  Mental health of immigrants and refugees  Download Mental health of immigrants and refugees. New Directions for Mental Health Services. 1994. 73 – 86. 10.1002/yd.23319946110.


Marginalization – Feels excluded from both cultures

Integration – Combines aspects of both cultures

The level of acculturation can impact access, engagement, and use of psychotherapy services. Individuals who are marginalized or experiencing separation may have difficulty accessing and engaging in therapy due to cultural and language barriers, lack of understanding and familiarity with the healthcare system, and stigma surrounding mental health within their culture.

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