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Care to elaborate and explore issues in the delivery of

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behavioral health services to Asians...
Care to elaborate and explore issues in the delivery of behavioral health services to Asians and Pacific Islanders
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 6 hours by:
6/11/2010
Mental Health Professional: Selah R, M.S. LPC, Therapist replied 8 years ago
Selah R, M.S. LPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 582
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor; over 13+ yrs exp working with adults, teens, & families/couples.
Verified
Thank you for writing to JustAnswer.

What you consider to be "normal" may be extremely different for your patient based on their culture, societal norms, faith, and expected gender roles. Simple things such as difference in how authority figures are treated (and as a provider of medical or psychological services you usually are seen as an authority), how much personal information is expected to be kept "inside the family," how much eye contact is appropriate, whether casual touch or handshakes are allowed, how much interpersonal distance is expected, what they feel they are expected to be like based on their gender and class, etc.

For the populations you listed, they *generally*:
- have a more difficult time sharing personal and family "private details" to strangers (privacy)
- feel a stronger desire to follow family/social/gender roles (conformity/status quo)
- feel a stronger need to support the family unit (dependency/interdependency instead of independence)
- feel a strong desire to support the society, have a hard work ethic, strive to be good at what they do without showing off (affiliated)
- are less likely to challenge authority, even if they disagree with what we say, which can lead to early termination of treatment or passivity that is a barrier to treatment (politeness)

And the other problem with learning about multiculturalism in counseling is that even within the same culture people can have different beliefs. You can have a family that is trying to encourage the younger generations to be more independent and assertive, which may be different than what we would expect for that culture/society/faith. So it's wise to ask your client what are their beliefs, what are their values, what do they consider to be normal, what do they think might help them reach their goals in order to better manage their current symptoms that brought them into counseling.

So, for example, a client presents with depression.
In the US, a counselor may encourage the client to be more independent, to talk more about their struggles, to get more support, to find activities they enjoy, to pamper themselves once in awhile, to discover their "gifts" and find vocation/hobbies that utilize those, and work on increasing a sense of self-worth.

But an Asian client may feel that these goals are against their culture/society/family. They may experience a better treatment result if they are encouraged to find ways to help their family, to feel part of the family and societal unit, to find ways to get support from within the family to protect the family's privacy, and to see how important their roles are in the family and society as a whole.

Hope that helps highlight some of the differences and why it can totally change treatment compliance and outcome if professionals fail to take it into consideration.

Sincerely,
Selah
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Selah R, M.S. LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 582
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