Western therapeutic methods have increasingly been implemented in non-Western contexts as treatment for traumatic stress reactions. There is a growing awareness of the need for such implementations to incorporate cultural specificity, and discussions are needed on the suitability of Western psychological approaches and theories in different parts of the world. The objective of this paper is to explore the intercultural applicability of trauma treatment through a case study in Sudan. The paper looks at how Western methods are applied and potentially modified in Sudan to fit social-cultural realities – and how specific contexts affects treatments. Such data from a non-Western context is invaluable to the discussion of transcultural aspects of mental health care.
This paper presents interview data, where counsellors in a trauma centre in Sudan were asked how they are implementing Western methods, and how these treatments are negotiated and potentially modified to fit the context. The interviewed counsellors emphasise the contextual factors influencing the treatment and the need to modify therapeutic methods to the specific cultural setting. Three themes are discussed: stigma towards mental health and sexual assaults; the negotiation of treatment alongside traditional healers; and the modification of treatments to the cultural context. The findings suggest that although Western methods can be useful in non-Western settings, these need to be carefully modified to the context as well as to each individual client. The study offers valuable insights into such modifications.
Read more: Intercultural attention in trauma treatment: Western trauma treatment negotiated and modified in Sudan
By Marie Røren, Reidar Jessen, Shai Divon & Sigrun Moss