Narrative therapy finds significant the question of reality’s cognition. While empiricism points at a single truth waiting to be discovered, narrative therapy recognizes the existence of different realities created by individuals, families, and cultures. Therefore, therapists must apply the counselor’s culture to clients with various cultural backgrounds. It seems that the therapy can still be productive even if a counselor does not belong to the same culture as the client.
An interesting case to study is a practitioner coming from a dominant western culture, whose client is an Aboriginal person. Certainly, these two cultures are not identical in social protocols – rules of behavior, which leads to differences in the worldview of the two individuals. It is quite typical of practitioners in this situation to assume that another culture is deficient because it does not have the protocols to which they are accustomed (Mental Health Academy, 2019). Such an attitude shows the absence of professionalism and respect, which is likely to offend the client, considering the history of oppression to which Aboriginal people have been subjected.
However, if the western practitioner understands the principles of narrative therapy, they can help the client using their professional knowledge. That means the therapist should not tell the client what to do and demonstrate control of the session (Mental Health Academy, 2019).
Instead, their task is to propose to the client several alternative directions of the conversation so that the person can choose the preferred one. During this session, the practitioner can establish contact with the client and understand their beliefs, values, principles, and experience. It leads to the conclusion that the success of narrative therapy depends not on the cultural closeness of the session’s participants but the therapist being attentive, tolerant, and careful. If the practitioner can ask the right questions and prioritize the client’s opinion, cultural differences are not a problem.
Mental Health Academy. Narrative therapy for aboriginal clients (2019). Counselling Connection. Web.