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Therapy with Intercultural Couples

5 CE Credits/Hours - Online Course - $49.00

Developed by Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

This course was produced in collaboration between Taylor & Francis, PLC and the Zur Institute, Inc. The Zur Institute, Inc. maintains responsibility for this continuing education program and its content.

This course includes materials consisting of:

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General Course Description

Intercultural couples are increasingly common in the United States. A recent Pew Institute report, based on the 2010 Census, notes that a record 1 in 12 couples are interracial. Therapists need to supplement their training by knowing the unique interpersonal characteristics of interracial couples--their issues as well as their strengths. Often, interracial couples cope with their differences and with societal pressures by minimizing their differences and conflicts, and while they may appear untroubled and conflict-free, important subterranean issues may be creating interpersonal and intra-psychic issues that are not readily apparent or that may appear as other issues which are diversionary. Not just therapists but supervisors as well need to be aware of the unique dynamics of intercultural relationships. Such couples are more likely to be seen in therapy and thus will increasingly appear in case consultations. In addition, as interculturalism becomes more prevalent, some of these issues may also surface in intercultural supervisor-supervisee relationships.

This course presents a general overview of the problems and strengths associated with intercultural couples, as well as prevalence statistics. It examines therapy orientations that encourage therapists to be more open to their curiosity about their clients and more aware of how their own implicit biases and assumptions can adversely affect therapy. It also sensitizes supervisors to supervising therapists of different cultures or therapists with multicultural couples, especially Asian-White, Hispanic-White, and Black-White couples. Resources for further studies on therapy with intercultural couples are provided.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach psychotherapists to:

1.    Describe how race and culture are erroneously confounded in research

2.    Discuss how the interplay of culture and definitions of mental health can affect couples therapy.

3.    Detect the common myths about intercultural couples.

4.    Identify the strengths, difficulties and faux strengths of intercultural couples.

5.    Discuss the principles of supervision in an intercultural supervisor-supervisee relationship.

Course Syllabus

The impact of cultural views on couples therapy

  • biases about what constitutes mental "health" or "healthy" communication
  • How societal pressures on and assumptions about multicultural couples affect couples

Couples minimizing their differences or problems around various issues

  • sex-role expectations
  • attitudes towards work and leisure
  • holiday traditions
  • expression of affection
  • problem-solving strategies

Myths about intercultural couples

Difficulties of multi-racial adolescents

  • effects on self-identity
  • effects on parental loyalty

Therapy orientations with multicultural couples

  • postmodern
  • narrative

Characteristics of and issues with Asian-American couples

Multiculturalism in the supervisory-supervisee relationship

  • Helping supervisees recognize and discuss hidden issues in their multicultural couples cases
  • Issues when supervisor and supervisee are of different cultures

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