Discovering hope in psychotherapy for Korean Americans
This qualitative study explored what generates, elicits, and instills hope in psychotherapy for Korean Americans. Guided by Stephen Mitchell's relational perspective on hope in psychoanalysis, the purpose of this study was to understand ways in which Western psychotherapy might serve this population. Since Mitchell's theory did not explicitly incorporate the notion of culture, this study provides an exploration of how values from the Korean culture might impact upon the process of psychotherapy, and therefore, the Korean American's hopefulness.
Open-ended interviews were conducted by the investigator with six male and female therapists from different ethnic backgrounds, and who had worked with a Korean-American client for at least six months. The Korean cultural values as they applied to the clients discussed in this study are provided. Discussion of their course of treatment also allowed for the emergence of several themes, including beginning hopes and despair, role of the therapist, development of hope, and hope throughout the process for both the therapist and the client.
Results suggest that Mitchell's view of hope does apply to Korean-American clients as well. By incorporating the cultural dimension to his theory, however, it was more the process of creating and developing a connection that became at the heart of generating hope for this population. With the contrasting Korean vs. Western values, therapists need to be mindful of the cultural differences, and in particular, of the ways in which Korean Americans might communicate and how they might differ from those from a Western culture.
Minority & ethnic groups;
0631: Minority & ethnic groups