Establishing Therapeutic Dialogue with Refugee Families.
Guregård, Suzanne. Seikkula, Jaakko.
South Älvsborg Hospital, Brämhultsvägen.
Published: March 2014
Contemporary Family Therapy
Vol. 36, No. 4 , p. 41-57
Springer International Publishing AG
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
Tel: 212-460-1500 800-SPRINGER
The article describes an investigation into dialogues between native Swedish psychotherapists and refugee families. Dialogue is needed to establish the therapeutic alliance, which is ultimately important for healing, whether of individual sickness or family crisis. However the development of dialogue is hindered by cross-cultural and language barriers. We concentrate on one aspect of research originally presented in a Doctoral Thesis by the first author, asking how culture and power differences, together with their resettlement in a strange country, affected meetings with refugee families, and how these problems were overcome; language and the presence of an interpreter are not discussed. A multi-perspective methodology was used in the original research, combining text analysis, review of video-recordings by the participating therapists, and interviews with the families. All these forms of investigation are drawn on here, but particularly text analysis. Significant hindrances to dialogue turn out to be differences in cultural values between refugee and therapist, their different power positions, and the refugee's weariness and distrust of meetings. Strategies to minimise power differences are an essential aspect of the Finnish open dialogue approach, which turns out to be particularly relevant to such refugee meetings. (Author abstract)
Cross cultural studies; Cultural competency; Refugees