Love Across The Cultural Divide: Practicing Intercultural Couple Counselling
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In today’s world, where media, communication technology, and ease of travel increasingly create opportunity for individuals from different cultures to connect and partner, it is critical that couple therapists are knowledgeable about the unique attributes of intercultural couple relationships, and have critically assessed their therapeutic models for appropriate applicability in working with these couples. Grounded in an ecosystemic framework, this manuscript-style thesis first presents an overview of the factors that contribute to the initiation of intercultural relationships, the challenges these couples might face in adjusting to intercultural partnership, and the unique strengths intercultural couples can experience. Common clinical recommendations for working with intercultural couples are then summarized, and contemporary psychoanalytic theory, emotionally focused therapy, and narrative therapy are evaluated against the recommendations. John Gottman’s Sound Relationship House framework is proposed as a potentially appropriate and empirically validated model for the practice of intercultural couple counseling, and implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed.