Canada is a multi-cultural society. Our forefathers envisioned a culture of multi-culturalism rather than the assimilation culture of the United States. I’m proud to be a Canadian for this, and many other, reasons. However, multi-culturalism brings its’ own dilemmas. The conflicts that arise between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generations, and the integration of Canadian values and beliefs while, at the same time, honouring the traditions and values of the home country.
The role of the therapist in dealing with cross-cultural issues is like navigating a wild river for the first time. The therapist is trying to discover where the rapids, the whirlpools, and the submerged craggy rocks lie waiting for the innocent, unsuspecting rafter. It requires agility, sensitivity, and spontaneity while being sensitive to the needs and fears of the people in the raft.
The goal of therapy is to get everyone out of the raft (perhaps a little bit damp) but safe, sound, and confident that, should they find themselves in another unexplored river, they can navigate the unexpected.