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The Therapist's Self Disclosure in Cross- Cultural Treatment

Authors: Ruth Lijtmaer, Roy Moodley, Shafik Sunderani


The argument that self-disclosure will change the psychoanalytic process into a socio-cultural niche distorting the therapeutic alliance and compromise therapeutic effectiveness is still the widely held belief amongst many psychotherapists. This paper considers the issues surrounding culture, disclosure and concealment since they remain largely untheorized and clinically problematic. The first part of the paper will critically examine the theory and practice of psychoanalysis across cultures, and explore the reasons for culturally diverse patients to conceal rather than disclose their feelings and thoughts in the transference. This is followed by a discussion on how immigrant analysts- anonymity is difficult to maintain since diverse nationalities, language and accents provide clues to the therapist-s and patient-s origins. Through personal clinical examples of one the author-s (who is an immigrant) the paper analyses the transference-countertransference paradigm and how it reflects in the analyst-s self-revelation.

Keywords: Cross-cultural, self-disclosure, transferencecountertransference, immigrant therapist

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