Psychotherapy across the cultural divide
Bhugra D., Bhui K.
This chapter examines the notion that psychodynamic theoretical approaches are mutually exclusive to successful psychotherapy with members of culturally diverse populations that can be exemplified by African-American lesbians and gay men. It also examines the discrepancies between theory and practice that can be a function of the dominant cultural identities of most mental health professionals, a failure to acknowledge the influence of social privilege, therapist shame and guilt. Psychodynamic psychotherapists are influenced by their own personal cultural identities as well as the culture of psychodynamic theory. The chapter also discusses the clinical presentation of these issues as well as the ways that different aspects of these approaches and psychodynamic theory may be successfully integrated into the treatment of diverse clients like African-American lesbians and gay men. Psychodynamic methods of inquiry rest on interpretive theories of mental processes that are unified primarily around the notion that unconscious processes exist and can be important determinants of behavior and affect.