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A slightly different therapy



In coaching, or treatment of any kind, we must take into account the culture of the person who comes to us.


There are many customs that motivate us to do, or avoid doing, certain things. Sometimes a behaviour seems, from the lens of our culture, ridiculous, cynical, illogical, but we have to take off these lens, not judge, and accept the person with his or her cultural background, with his or her customs.


So, sometimes the problem can only be solved if we use the other person's system of values. Take depression for example. A case happened in the US, in a Spanish-speaking, patriarchal Catholic community where it is not common for women to work outside the household. A married woman was persuaded by her friend to work in a modern environment, in a factory. In this job she met a man and kissed him. The woman went into a deep depression. She was taken to a hospital, hospitalized but no treatments helped. Her partner's mother took her to a folk therapist. Native. Unlike the psychiatrist, the therapist accused her of betrayal and was angry at her for her actions. He gave her a punishment, accepted in that culture. She received it and prayed for forgiveness. After several times she came out of depression.

This is an extreme case but it shows us that appropriate treatment for a person includes taking into account his or her value system, and of the community in which he or she lives. It may help more than limited thinking according to the therapist's value system.

In future posts I will talk about different social and cultural customs, with my anthropologist hat, in the context of training or therapy.

Have you encountered cultural differences in the therapeutic world?

Dr. Efrat Tzadik

Coach for personal development and empowerment

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