Connection Between Existential Psychotherapy and Ethnicity in Family Therapy

Essay by alanvale November 2007

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Principles of Psychotherapy: Cultural Competencies"The ability to conduct psychotherapy effectively with ethnically diverse populations is becoming increasingly important given the changing demographic of this country" (Cardemil & Battle, 2003). According to Cardemil and Battle, they estimate that "by 2050, non-Hispanic Caucasian Americans will constitute approximately 50% of the United States population, as compared with the current 72% of the population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001). The American Psychological Association (APA) has recognized the critical nature of integrating issues of race and ethnicity into the field of psychology by encouraging attention to these issues in clinical training programs (APA, Committee on Accreditation, 2002), creating therapist competency guidelines for working with racial and ethnic minority populations (APA, 1993), and sponsoring professional meetings to identify strategies to promote sensitivity to diversity in psychology" (McGuire, 1999). (Cardemil & Battle, 2003)The Existential Psychotherapy approach is best described as a "movement wanting to know to the best extent possible the existence of the patient in the world in which he lives, moves, and experiences" (May, R.

1983). According to May the purpose of this approach is to understand human existence, not a system of "how to" (p.43) and his objective "to understand the life history of a patient as modifications if his being-in-the-world, not as the idiosyncratic pathology of specific theory" (May, R. 1983, p.40, 151). defines Existentialisms as "a philosophical movement that deals with human freedom. Existentialism itself is a revolt against traditional philosophy; it has been labeled a philosophy but a definition is difficult as its proponents have a marked difference in outlook (Schaeffer, 1968). Existentialist thought concerns itself with trying to understand fundamentals of the human condition and its relation to the world. Basic questions include: "What is it like to be a human in the world?" and "What is the nature of...