Family Therapy with Eastern Couples and Families using Western Family Therapy Approaches
It is important to have an understanding and appreciation of Eastern family values and viewpoints because of the implications of these beliefs for their behaviors. Certainly, there are differences among Eastern families just as there are among members of other groups. Eastern families hold traditional religious, tribal, ethnic, and cultural values to varying degrees. It is very possible that not all Eastern families adhere to all these values. Furthermore, the values of some Eastern families might be relatively traditional whereas the values of others might be so typically ‘Western’ that it would be difficult to distinguish their values from those of the so-called average Westerner. In between these poles would be innumerable variations.
It is not even completely accurate to define the extremes of the values continuum as traditional Eastern family ideals versus Western ideals. It is even disingenuous to label one extreme as ‘traditional Eastern family values’ when even the most traditional Eastern family might hold beliefs that are not traditional. Eastern family principles and cultures evolve, and cultures of today are not the same as traditional cultures of centuries ago. At the other end of the continuum, it is also misleading to talk about ‘Western values’ as if they were homogenous, clearly defined, static, and synonymous with middle-class, Euro-American attitudes and opinions. Because other than individual differences, there are numerous social class, gender, and regional differences embedded in Western values.
In addition, many Western values are not necessarily the opposite of Eastern family values; therefore, it is inaccurate to put these sets of Western and Eastern family values at opposite ends of a continuum. Moreover, an additive model would not accurately reflect how Eastern families synthesize cultural and Western values and viewpoints. Individuals do not simply combine traditional cultural and Western values. Instead, the very blending and balancing of values within different personal and social contexts is a dynamic and amalgamated process. Eastern families will vary in the synthesis of their own experiences and Western culture as a function of their intelligence, education, gender, exposure to culture, and many other factors including the extent of colonization, years of independence, and their current government’s connection to the West. Nonetheless, some benefits can be derived from understanding traditional cultural beliefs as long as these beliefs create a context for the Eastern family values.
This training has two parts
Part I covers:
- Eastern family dynamics and relational patterns to show similarities and differences in how family relationships are defined in these cultures.
- The impact of centuries of colonization on Eastern families’ perception of themselves and their relationships with each other and the West.
- The politics of the Eastern cultures’ gender dynamics and how this topic has been analyzed and perceived from Western viewpoints.
Part 2 covers eight family therapy models that Dr. Daneshpour has found beneficial in working with Eastern couples and families:
- Couple and family assessment concepts
- Structural family therapy
- Strategic family Therapy
- Bowenian family therapy
- The experiential family therapy of Karl Whitaker and Virginia Satir
- Narrative family therapy
- Contextual family therapy
- Feminist family therapy
- Post-modern family therapy
The main goal is to have a theory-based practical guide for clinicians working with Eastern families while keeping original family therapy models alive and relevant in this age of growing superficial evidence-based models and empty claims for clinical effectiveness.
For more information please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org