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Liamputtong (2008) on cross-cultural research

November 7th, 2008No Comments  

I discovered this very interesting book which is available for me to read online via my library access:

Liamputtong, P. (ed.) (2008) Doing Cross-cultural research: Ethical and Methodological Perspectives. Springer Netherlands: Social Indicators Research Series (vol.34)

some featured chapters for me to read are:


PhD group supervision, 25.10.08 (my challenges about ‘language’)

October 25th, 20081 Comment  

We had another very ‘rich’ morning today during PhD group supervision, where everybody brings their own research process or questions/dilemmas around our Phds at this moment in time. When my turn came in the group and as i was talking to them, i realised that i am facing the following layes of challenge in terms of language and ‘finding the words for’ in my PhD:

– I am researching a topic about an experience that my participants find hard to find the words for

– many concepts in my research (like ‘culture’, ‘difference’, what are the boundaries between counselling/psychotherapy/counselling psychology and so on) are highly debatable around what they mean, how they could be defined or how they are differently understood in different contexts, in different countries, in different positionings etc…, how i use such terms in my writing and what is meant when i use them is also challenging, i sense i constantly have to be ‘careful’ or constantly explaining

– i am writing this PhD in a second language. this matter has not been an issue for me so far……..but i do feel that it is so demanding of me to be attempting to write rigorously and correctly about a topic that is often ‘beyond words’ , something that even native speakers find hard to articulate or find words for….and do that in a second language! Goodness me!!!!

about use of terminology

October 19th, 2008No Comments  

I read this article below from March 2004 Issue of Therapy today Journal by the BACP, in relation to the use of terms ‘counselling’ and ‘pscyhotherapy’ (also available on )

Counselling and Psychotherapy: is there a difference?

Are counselling and psychotherapy the same or are they different? And how much does it matter? This question lies at the heart of a debate, heated up by the prospect of professional regulation. By Clare Pointon

Rachel, 39: ‘I went into psychotherapy in my 20s. The trigger for seeking help was the end of a relationship; at the time I felt that I couldn’t cope with life at all. I had an initial assessment with a woman who spoke to me at length about why I was interested in having psychotherapy and what the issues were I wanted to deal with. At the end of the assessment she said that she thought I would be a suitable candidate for psychotherapy. She said that it would be a longterm commitment – perhaps several years. She also took quite a bit of trouble matching me up with the right person, paying particular attention to whether I wanted to see a man or a woman; it felt like a lot of thought went into that whole process. There was a male therapist she thought would suit me and I waited for several months until a vacancy with him came up. I then saw him for five years.

… Read more »

Beyond language…in ‘talking’ therapies

October 9th, 2008No Comments  

One of the main themes that appear in my research data, is the issue of the use of second language by immigrant therapists. Most of my interviewees who found themselves practising in a culture/country different than their original one, including myself, are talking about how it is to be receiving counselling/psychotherapy training in a second language, how it is to be offering therapy in a second language, how it is to be receiving therapy (when in client’s role) in a second langauge and so on. This kind of discourse is presenting both positive and more challenging dimensions – for ,some the use of second language has been liberating and enriching, for others it has presented barriers and some difficulties, especially when their proficiency in the second language is not to a level that involves a rich emotional vocabulary or understanding of nuances, idioms etc

However, i had a conversation ealrier today that made me reflect at a deeper level on this issue. I went to have lunch at a local cafe within university campus. When i was sitting in a large table, this old man appeared with his plate and asked to sit at my table, given that the place was full and no free tables where available.  I invited him to sit next to me and we started a conversation about what we are doing at University. He must have been over 70 years old, he told me that he is a Sign Language interpreter and, although he had retired, he was still offering interpreting for deaf children and joung people when on call. I told him about my research and we had a fascinating dialogue around language. He told me that he grew up with both his parents being deaf. His parents communicated with him, as their only child (so no siblings to practice speech) with sign language and for that reason he did not speak until the age of 3. He used to spend some time of the day at the neighbour’s house so that he could learn to speak. He said that sign language is like any other language, it has symbols that are different than letters but still a medium to communicate, that is more physical. We agreed on how much we rely on our senses and how much is actually going on at body language level or beyond speech.

He asked me whether i had counselled any deaf person with the assistance of an interpreter. I said no, but did remember when i counselled some clients,  next to an interpreter, when working at a refugee service where clients did not speak english and i could not speak their native language. It was fascinating, both humbling and with its difficulties…it made me realise that attunement and connection can go beyond the ‘tyranny of words’ or speech…this also links to what one of my interviewees said around the use of an expressive arts therapy approach in her work, where she uses english as a second language and her clients may also have english as their second language and it has been useful for them to work through art and rely less on understanding through language

so…where does this leaves us in terms of the use of the term ‘talking therapies’ that is often used in the literature? Language is definitely not the only tool in therapy…the question is how far we can go around letting go of that and allowing more parts of the self and inter-personal contact manifest in the counselling encounter

definitions in the ‘therapy culture/world’

September 22nd, 2008No Comments  

Following a discussion i had with the PhD group thsi morning about definitions and boundaries of roles within the professions in the so-called ‘talking therapies’ ( i am not even sure what words/terms to use here as i write now to encompass it all….it is not possible cause there is not a worldwide mutual agreement around the matter!), i have spend a good few hours this evening searching the literature around that…and i did get quite lost! there is a lot of confusion around how the terms ‘counsellor’, ‘psychoterapist’, the different branches of psychology etc are used in the literature and the claims that are taken in relation to professionalisation, regulations and ultimately this impacts on the issue of identity of the ‘therapist’ (if it is to use that term). All this story is mangnified and becomes even more complex for the therapits that moves to work in a different country from where qualifications where received etc, according to the state of affairs in a particulat system, esulting, quite often, in losing the value of qualifications when attempting to transfer to another culture, let alone permission to practice etc. This matter is core in my topic, also huge and i cannot cover it in my thesis. I do have to make reference to it though and discuss its complexity; also come to a stance that i am adopting about how i will use words/terms in my writing in the thesis…i need to keep focused, patient and remember that i cannot change the world….it does feel daunting though that a professional field whose work is to work with self and identity and self-awareness and the like, expresses so much confusion around its own professional identity and culture…