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Vietnamese Indigenous Healing’s Implication for Vietnamese Women Counseling in Korea

Authors: Youngsub Oh, Youngsoon Kim


As the second largest group among international marriages in Korea, Vietnamese married immigrant women have been exposed to psychological crisis like divorce and family violence. The purpose of this study is to understand how to counsel those women from the perspective of indigenous healing as their own psychological problem-solving way. To this end, this study reviewed Vietnamese cultural literatures on their mentality as well as Vietnamese medical literatures on indigenous healing. The research results are as follows: First, cultural foundations that have formed Vietnamese mentality are Confucian value system, reserved communication, and religious pluralism. These cultural backgrounds play an important role in understanding their own therapeutic tradition. Second, Vietnamese indigenous healing considers cause of mental disease as a collapse of balance between mind and body and environment. Thus, indigenous treatment deals with psychological problems through a recovery of the balance from the holistic perspective. In fact, indigenous healing has been actively practiced in everyday place as well as hospital until today. The implications of Vietnamese indigenous healing for multicultural counseling in Korea are as follows: First, Korean counselors need to interactively understand their own assumptions on indigenous healing as well as counselees’ own assumptions. Second, a variety of psychological intervention strategies can be drawn from Vietnamese indigenous healing. Third, indigenous healing needs to be integrated with modern techniques of counseling and psychotherapy, as both treatments are not mutually exclusive but complementary.

Keywords: Indigenous healing, Vietnamese married immigrant women in Korea, multicultural counseling.

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