Boundaries of the Psychotherapy

From this perspective, the boundaries of the psychotherapy may be viewed as more like a living cell wall than like a box, and more like a dynamic organism that is responsive to its environment, while still maintaining its integrity. A cell wall defines what belongs inside and what does not. It is permeable and flexible, which allows growth and change, and it can take in new or different information while still maintaining its essential being. It can give, bend, and stretch to include additional possibilities that are appropriate to the culture and worldview of our clients without breaking. The boundaries still define what is within and what is outside of the boundary and can contain and hold what belongs inside the therapeutic relationship and the understanding of what more appropriately belongs outside.

Culturally responsive psychotherapy will necessarily include parameters that are different from those that are based in the traditional White male European perspective that provided the basis of early knowledge about psychotherapy. Although the di- mensions may be the same (i.e., touch, self-disclosure, gifts, and money), the psychotherapists’ choices of how to understand, ap- proach, and include culturally different worldviews and life expe- rience will differ. From a culturally responsive perspective, the therapeutic premise would be, “What are adaptive, responsive, and responsible ways to incorporate culture, race, ethnicity, all forms of diversity, and their intersection within the context of this per- son’s worldview and culture?” From this perspective, attending the graduation of a young Latina who is the first in her family to attend college and sharing her pride and her family’s joy could be understood as an ethical flexing and extension of the therapeutic frame.

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