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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cultural influences on the formation of the therapeutic alliance : a case study with western-trained Chinese counsellors Arrand, Penny Coral


The underlying assumptions of Western counselling and psychotherapy are based on Western European values such as individualism and autonomy. How applicable then are the goals and practices of Western counselling and psychotherapy when applied to non-Western cultures? This research study interviews eight Western-trained Chinese counsellors/psychotherapists who have experience with counselling both Western European clients and Chinese clients. It was found that the establishment of rapport using traditional Western counselling theories has varying amounts of success depending on (a.) the familiarity of the client to Western values, (b.) the familiarity of the counsellor/psychotherapist with Chinese values, (c.) the awareness to not apply knowledge of a client's culture in a stereotypical way, and (d.) the willingness of the counsellor/psychotherapist to be open, flexible, and patient in negotiating a process that fits comfortably with BOTH the particular counsellor/psychotherapist's cultural bias and the particular client's cultural bias.

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