725 Words3 Pages
Understanding Culture and Mental Illness Culture is an aspect of everyone's life. It helps others to understand another person's beliefs and actions. There are multiple cultures in the world which are opposed to their own kind seeking help for a mental illness. There is an infinite number of cultures that are represented in the United States. “Many cultural and religious teachings often influence beliefs about the origins and nature of mental illness, and shape attitudes towards the mentally ill.” (1). One's cultural beliefs can make them think about whether or not they should seek to get help for a mental illness. Among the cultures around the world and particularly in the US, many Asian cultures do not want the community members to be receiving help for their mental illness. In these cultures mental illness is seen as shameful, because these cultures influence the “conformity to norms, emotional self-control, and family recognition through achievement.” (1). There are many cultural factors that play a role in whether or not a person will receive therapy. These factors include: language, level of acculturation, age, gender, occupational issues, family structure, religious beliefs, and traditional beliefs about mental health (2). Language limits the access of therapy. If a person living in the United States does not speak English very well, it could influence them to not seek therapy. There is a large focus on “in-group/out-group” in many Asian cultures, as in everyone who is in the family/community around them are in the “in-group” and everyone else who is not like them are in the “out-group.” Standard Asian American Cultural Expectations Numerous Asian American families have certain expectations based on their cultu... ... middle of paper ... ...m et al.). Focusing on the perceptions of clients allows one to understand more of what needs to be done to gain more clients who are from an Asian culture. The findings of Jim (2007) were as followed: there were three different understandings; one, the ability or inability of the therapist to understand culture context was very important to some; two, having the experience of being able to talk to someone without cultural constraints was helpful to some; and three, culture seemed to have infinitesimal value. Most if not all clients who participated in Jim's study had a major underlying theme to their responses, they valued being able to talk about problems in a safe environment with someone whom they trusted. Therapists need to both understand a client's culture but also “the client's unique dilemmas and distress within the context of cultural values.” (Jim, p.22).
Open Document