A community's culture

Culture and its Influence on Counselling

Culture influences how people see certain situations and exhibit themselves during counselling.

The culture of the society in which one grows up has a tremendous influence on the process of personal development and identity building.

A community's culture is determined by its beliefs, values, sense of belonging, and distinctiveness.

Individuals from other cultures frequently feel the need to preserve the continuity of their rituals because it helps them define themselves.

Similarly, Lena's family feels compelled to maintain cultural continuity by keeping some of their rituals, such as marriage from specified households.Her parents insist that she should pursue her medical program so that she can uphold the culture in her family.

The case shows that Lena's parents feel these cultural practices give them a sense of belonging and uniqueness.

Elements of a Cultural Formulation

Cultural Identity

Lena feels that she belongs to the Indian culture; thus, she should place the demands of her culture before her own.

First, Lena is an accomplished dancer and singer who prefers to pursue a career in theatre.

However, she feels embarrassed about this decision being convinced that if she makes that decision, she will be a disgrace to her family.

Lena believes in her culture even if it does not respect her desires.

Secondly, Lena only seeks the assistance of the counsellor when her roommate insists.

She had refused to see the counsellor because she felt they could not understand her issues as they deeply reflected the expectations of her culture.

If she did not have a sense of belonging to her Indian descent, she would openly visit the counsellor for advice on how to approach her parents considering that they are deeply rooted in their culture.

Acculturation and Acculturative Stress

Lena's culture has modified her as an individual, and now she upholds most of the beliefs of her society.

Although she feels that her heart is in theatre and music, she ends up feeling so guilty that it affects her physical wellbeing.

She is stressed because her parents do not support her talent and she ends up crying most of the time which makes her feel desperate about her current situation and future.

Moreover, she has lost a lot of weight, energy, appetite and she spends most of the time on her own.

She even has difficulties concentrating in class and sleeping during the time.

However, she claims that she has not had any suicidal thoughts as she feels it would hurt her family as it is unacceptable in her culture.

Therefore, it is clear that her dominant cultural beliefs have highly impacted her making her get depressed.

Cultural Explanation

Lena believes that her depression has been caused by the expectations that her culture has placed on her.

Lena was hesitant about visiting the counsellor because she felt that her problems were being caused by her culture which the counsellor could not understand.

Moreover, when she finally visits the counsellor, she feels that she should have been asked more about her culture and family in relation to the turmoil she is facing.

Lena was not contented with the approach taken by the counsellor on enquiring about her wellbeing because she is convinced that her troubles are caused by her culture.

Culture Vs. Personality

Culture dynamics focuses on how individuals negotiate conditions and inequalities present in the contemporary world such as power, politics, and other social issues in regard to their cultural beliefs.

In this case, Lena knows that she will be contented when she pursues her dream in theatre and music.

However, she feels that she is will be a disappointment to her family if she fails to follow the footsteps of her father and brother.

In fact, the issue weighs her down so much that she ends up being depressed.

Lena's culture has highly influenced her beliefs and this contributes significantly to the decisions she makes.

Personality dynamics on the other hand dictate how individuals interact with the environment either consciously or unconsciously.

Lena thinks she is a misfit in her class just because she wants to pursue a career in theatre and music.

She also feels that she will be a disgrace to her family when she fails to pursue her career in medical school.

Lena is unconsciously displaying a timid character.

She ought to be confident about her choices and instead of getting depressed, look for ways on how she can convince her parents on the importance of pursuing her dreams.

Moreover, she can look for ways to blend in the two courses together.

However, her timid personality does not allow Lena to look for alternatives in her predicament.

Culturally Sensitive Treatment

Culturally sensitive treatment helps a therapist understand one's beliefs, background, and ethnic values.

The treatment helps therapists accommodate and respect the differences in opinions, values, and attitudes of different people.

Disclosure is one of the culturally sensitive treatments that would be used by a therapist in Lena's case.

When Lena visits the counsellor, she is disappointed because they do not engage in any talk about her culture or family.

She thinks that the counsellor is just being dismissive.

As such, disclosure will allow Lena to open up and this will provide an opportunity for the therapist to show her that she understands her issues.

Moreover, it will allow the therapist to bring in suggestions on how Lena can handle the situation.

Sharing similar experiences with patients in the past is another intervention method the therapist can use.

The issue has affected Lena significantly even in her social life.

Moreover, she feels that people do not understand her culture and the stress which the condition brings in her life.

If the therapist shared experiences with patients in the past and showed Lena how they were able to deal with their conditions, it will help her believe that the therapist understands her situation.

Moreover, Lena will understand a challenge that she can overcome with the right support.


Lena's issue is brought by her culture.

Her parents emphasize that she must be a doctor just like her father and brother even though she has a talent in music and theatre.

Lena is depressed when her parents fail to support her idea about quitting medical school and she ends up with problems such as loneliness, weight loss, and lack of sleep.

It is important for the therapists to use intervention programs that will demonstrate that she understands Lena's condition.

It is important for the therapist to use strategies such as disclosure and sharing experiences of individuals who have successfully conquered similar situations.

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