Psychotherapy Theories & Practices Final Paper

1981 Words 8 Pages
I believe that psychotherapy is a reciprocal process of engagement, learning and changing that happens in both the client and the therapist, Therefore, when the client comes from a radically different cultural background from our own, as clinicians we must familiarize ourselves and adjust to the nature and conditions of that culture. For a while, the most prominent focal point of psychoanalytic studies, literature and practices in the United States has been the “issues concerning the development of the sense of self and personal identity” and “the importance of the child’s early attachment to the mother and the emergence of the self as an independent identity” (Corsini, 2011, p. 26). Through my experience as a client, student and …show more content…
No matter how acculturated clients are, when using Western psychotherapy with non-Western clients, it is important to consider the possibility that their worldviews contain structures that differ from those of Westerners. One of the most prominent figures and contributors of the study of development and of object relations was Hungarian-born psychoanalyst Margaret Mahler (1968) who trained in Vienna and immigrated to New York City. Through the use of an empirical model of observation, Mahler studied the overt (but pre-verbal) behavioral interactions between mother-child dyads in order to formulate the theory of separation-individuation, which is the topic I have chosen to focus on for this paper. Although I acknowledge the values, potential usefulness, and ways in which Mahler’s theory of separation-individuation can be universally applicable, I would argue that it can become a critical issue (having the impact of harm than of help) in psychotherapy with clients from collectivistic and Confucian societies, such as China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.
I recognize the wide scope of clinical implications that Mahler’s separation-individuation theory offers, not only in clarifying mother-child interactions and object relations, but also in terms of its intra-psychic and inter-personal dimensions. Symbiosis is a biological term borrowed and used metaphorically by Mahler et al. (1975) when referring to the infant’s intra-psychic
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