S82: The importance of being authentic in intercultural engagements in the field of mental health.

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By September 26, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Lizbeth Pereira

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Community, Culture, Society,Research & Evaluation Informing Practice,Wellbeing

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Multiculturalism has been termed the fourth force in psychology and rightly so given the increasing intercultural engagements in the field of mental health. It has caused major rethinking in terms of client contact, case conceptualisation, and ethical guidelines among other things. However, cultural differences that stand in the way of understanding and being understood are often not given due attention, at least not in any effective way. Exactly how this affects the quality of care received by client in a therapy session or support received by a therapist in a supervisory session bears exploration. The aim of my presentation is to highlight some issues in intercultural mental health interventions and possible ways of resolving them. In the light of my research in counselling it becomes increasingly clear that not being able to be their authentic selves is often at the root of most distressing experiences in intercultural situations. This is a call to go beyond textbook information to the wealth of knowledge afforded by experiential data. I wish to share key information regarding experiences of therapists and supervisors in intercultural sessions to gain a better understanding on the topic.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Mental health practitioners in the audience will gain an understanding of how intercultural engagements can be made more productive by being authentic and enabling authenticity in the other.

Learning Objective 2: Authenticity has been linked to psychological functioning and optimal self-esteem. It takes away the burden of impression management and other micro conflicts that sabotage interpersonal engagements. Mental health practitioners benefit in terms of increased job satisfaction and productive therapeutic alliances leading to better outcomes for clients.

Burks, D. J., & Robbins, R. (2012). Psychologists’ Authenticity. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 52(1), 75-104. doi: 10.1177/0022167810381472
Pedersen, P. (Ed.). (1999). Multiculturalism as a fourth force. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

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