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Psychotherapy Across Cultures

Salman Akhtar, MD
Director, Adult Outpatient Services Professor, Psychiatry and Human Behavior Jefferson Medical College

As the United States becomes more and more diverse, psychiatrists and psychotherapists alike must understand the different perspectives that each unique patient brings to the table. In this talk, Dr. Akhtar explores some major differences between the psychotherapeutic processes of the traditional white, American patient and the techniques that must be adapted to patients of different cultures. Dr. Akhtar focuses on six practical and important ideological considerations that a therapist treating cross-cultural patients must employ. These topics include: Cultural neutrality, validation of difference between therapist and patient, recognition of cultural conflicts, recognition of cultural rationalization of neurotic conflict, bilingualism, and differing definitions of the self across cultures. The discussion shares many strategies about how to address each of these topics in order to maintain a successful therapist-patient relationship, and to allow the therapeutic process to be successful. This is done through a variety of narrative accounts and experiences that are shared by Dr. Akhtar.


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