Counselling Chinese Clients: An Integration of Western Psychotherapy with Eastern Culture

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Du, Hsin-Yu
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To most Chinese immigrants in Canada, seeing a mental health professional is often a last resort. Many of them express resistance and reluctance towards sharing their personal and relational struggles with clinicians, whom they barely know and with whom there is often a language barrier. A major reason for this is the deep stigma in the Chinese community around mental health problems and the personal and familial distress that often follows public disclosure of them. Most Chinese immigrants would rather conceal or deny their symptoms than risk bringing shame to the family name. Additionally, many Chinese immigrants lack familiarity with Western mental health concepts. This lack of mental health literacy also frequently contributes to delays in seeking psycohotheraeuptic treatment. In this capstone, I recommend three kinds of therapies—inquiry-based stress reduction, solution-focused brief therapy, and narrative therapy—for their promise in adapting to Chinese cultural norms. These therapies are inherently culturally sensitive and applicable to the Chinese community and their needs. The benefits of these therapies are outlined in this paper and followed by the proposal of techniques that counsellors can utilize during their practices with this particular population.
migration , stigma , mental health literacy , multiculturalism , Chinese immigrants , cultural barriers