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Reading:the immigrant psychotherapist

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 @ 12:35 am
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Posted in  Literature

 This is very good read: The effect of evolving cultural identities on the experience of immigrant psychotherapists. 2002 by Isaacson, Eliran.
Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering. Vol 63(5-B), Dec 2002, pp. 2586.


The goal of this doctoral project is to study how transformations in cultural identity, which occur as a natural outcome of immigration, influence the experience of immigrant therapists. A phenomenological research approach is utilized. Literature reviewed includes definitions of some key terms concerning matters of culture and migration, the psychic implications of immigration, identity development models, the experience of immigrant clinicians, and transference and countertransference reactions in cross-cultural psychotherapy. Interviews with ten immigrant or transculturally dislocated clinicians were conducted. The interviews were audio-taped and later transcribed. The researcher analyzed the data for themes and patterns regarding the influence of evolving identities on the experience of the participants. All of the participants spoke to how they identify themselves culturally. In general, immigration appears to have had a strong influence on the identities of the subjects interviewed. Most of the participants, regardless of the length of residence in this country, talked about the integration of some aspects of the new cultural environment into their identity. Questions that explored the participants’ internal experience of their practice of psychotherapy in this culture yielded responses that were categorized into three topics. These included contrasting values, the experience of being different, and prejudice. It emerged that the subjects had strong affective responses to all of these experiences. The therapists’ understandings and experiences tended to evolve over time, so that with greater integration into the new cultural milieu, there was a diminished sense of alienation and an increased capacity to connect with the clientele. Additionally, it appears that the clinicians interviewed came to recognize that ethno-cultural differences in a therapeutic setting can enrich the treatment process, in part because they provide the psychotherapists access to their clients’ psychodynamics. The clinicians also spoke to their practice of psychotherapy. They noted that addressing cultural differences is a routine aspect of their work and that over time they experienced an increased level of comfort in their work. The interviews indicated that despite the challenges of immigration, the experience of being a culturally transplanted clinician can ultimately be rewarding.

I also found some pages of the actual Thesis, on the link here

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