Sylvia Wen Hsin-Chen and Donna S. Davenport (2005) conducted a study about the changes that have to be applied to the process of cognitive-behavioral therapy for Chinese American patients due to the cultural differences. The authors of the research have done a vast and all-embracing job by incorporating major studies related to the topic.
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The choice of the literature for the review was predetermined by three key factors, i.e., the need to represent the phenomenon of cognitive-behavioral therapy, the necessity to outline key cultural specifics of the Chinese American patients, and the need to define the key stages of cognitive-behavioral therapy for Chinese Americans. Most of the sources were 5-10 years old at the time that the research came out.
The research participants were Justin, a 26-year-old Chinese American, and his therapist. The setting was a university in the Southwest of the USA, where Justin actually started facing issues and where the changes within his behavioral patterns could be observed. Speaking of the setting, though, one must mention that the experiment had to be conducted so that Justin could be affected by the factors that he is usually surrounded with, which meant that not only the college, but also his home should be included into the list of experiment settings.
Thus, it can be assumed that the research took place in two settings, one replacing another on a daily basis. To make the matter more complicated, Justin had to undergo daily sessions in the college counseling center. Therefore, there were three key settings created for the research. While the given detail complicated the experiment considerably, it allowed for defining the key features of Chinese Americans’ behavioral patterns more precisely and, therefore, coming up with more exact research results.
The findings were rather unexpected and demanded that piety, one of the key features of Chinese people’s character, should be taken into account when molding an appropriate CBT strategy. In contrast to what was expected, the CBT approach towards Chinese Americans does not require a complete reconsideration of the existing CBT techniques.
However, it does require that the healthcare specialist should adjust the strategies chosen to address the problem towards the patient’s cultural specifics. To start with, it is crucial that the patient and the therapist should form a rapport. The second major conclusion is that a therapist should help his/her patient create an action plan, which is acceptable within the context of Chinese cultural norms – anything that goes beyond these boundaries will most likely fail to work for the patient’s benefit.
The efficacy of nondirective techniques in CBT for Chinese American patients, such as guided imagery, dream analysis and sentence stem, should be mentioned as well, Wen Hsin-Chen and Davenport stress. Finally, according to the results of the research, when working with a Chinese American patient, a therapist must elicit emotions from his patient, appealing to his/her feelings as well as his/her rationality.
The authors suggested that the therapy chosen to address the issues that Justin had to face in his academic and personal life was conducted successfully (Wen Hsin-Chen and Davenport 110). However, authors note that, due to huge diversity in Chinese American community, a therapist must search for unique approaches in CBT with each patient. Not only cultural, but also socioeconomic specifics of a patient’s background should be taken into account.
Wen Hsin-Chen, Sylvia and Donna S. Davenport. “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with Chinese American Clients: Cautions and Modifications.” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 42.1(2005), 101–110.