by Judith Mishne Guilford Press, 2002
In this blog I am sharing a review of a book I recently came across on the therapeutic process that is associated with multiculturism. As an ethnic counselor myself, I found the book to validate many of my practicing methodology as well as provide an insight into the working knowledge of my colleagues who are working with diverse population in their own countries. In this modern day and age of practicing as counselors or as therapists, most professional mental health associations in the developed world now have policies and procedures aimed at not only applying affirmative action in the recruitment of minorities, but also of encouraging all therapists to develop at least minimal level of multicultural competence. To give an example, in the United States, not unlike other developed countries, 31 percent of the population is made up of ethnic minorities, yet 90 percent of the social workers, psychologists, and family therapists are white (Psychotherapy Networker, Sept/Oct 2003). Recruitment and retention of minority therapists is not keeping pace with the growth of minority populations, and hence the need for all therapists to become more skilled in working multiculturally. Throughout Judith Mishne’s book on Multiculturalism and the Therapeutic Process(2002), the author shows us that cultural responsivity is not always easily acquired, as much as for any reason because of our own counter-transferences. However, persevered with, it brings its own rewards to us as therapists in this global village, as it does in turn to our clients. This is a thought-provoking book, which is rich in its coverage of psychodynamic therapy and multiculturalism, and contains a strong invitation to all therapists to broaden their relational responsibility.Well-written, with in-depth case examples, it extends intersubjectivity theory and Kohut’s self psychology from the object-relations approach, into the cross-cultural arena. Central to this is the empathy that follows from recognizing the self in the other, which evokes a human echo in both client and therapist, as a reciprocal and mutually influential system of exchange arises. As the therapist remains transparent and in recognition of their own biases and cultural/ethnic ignorance of the client’s reality dyadic learning is facilitated in the crucible or context of our mutually recognised common humanity and fallibility. Within this context of a shared recognition of our commonalities and fallibilities, Mishne shows us how to integrate the use of feminist, empowerment, family, narrative, and strength theories.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA