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In Working With Asian American Clients, Dr. Jean Lau Chin demonstrates an approach that addresses issues of culture and cultural competence within the therapeutic session, in essence acknowledging the client's culture as a "third person" in the therapy room.
In this session, Dr. Chin works with a 40-year-old woman who immigrated to the United States from Vietnam who is dealing with issues surrounding her family's reactions to her separation from her husband. Dr. Chin works to build rapport and trust with the client by understanding her perspective, allowing her to express her emotions and open up about her life problems.
Dr. Chin's approach is eclectic, drawing on psychodynamic, systems, and cognitive–behavioral theories. In this case, Dr. Chin emphasizes Asian cultural values as interpreted by the client, including the importance of family needs over that of the individual. Her overall approach can be used with clients from any culture because it stresses the importance of difference and provides a framework for developing cultural competence when working with diverse populations as opposed to stereotyping all ethnic clients from a particular group as the same.
In the case of Asian American clients, there is such within-group diversity that it is impossible, and undesirable, to assume that they present the same without considering immigration history, country of origin, and other cultural factors. Dr. Chin illustrates how to build rapport and trust to achieve a strong therapeutic alliance while honoring the client's particular cultural background and experiences.
About the Therapist
Jean Lau Chin, EdD, ABPP, is professor and systemwide dean of the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. She is a licensed psychologist with more than 30 years of experience as an administrator, clinician, and educator. Her past roles have included president and CEO, providing clinical, educational, and organizational consulting services; associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine as core faculty for the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology; regional director of Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership; executive director of South Cove Community Health Center; and codirector of Thom Child Guidance Clinic.
Dr. Chin's talks and publications cover cultural competence, community and mental health, ethnic minorities, women, and Asian American populations. Two of her recent books are The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination, a four-volume set on racism, ethnicity, gender, and all forms of discrimination, and Learning From My Mother's Voice, a book on family bonds using oral history and mythology as a healing tool and transformational journey for Chinese American immigrants. Presently, she is editor of the Race and Ethnicity Series for Praeger Press and is working on a feminist leadership book.
Chin, J. L. (1994). Psychodynamic approaches. In L. Comas-Diaz & B. Greene (Eds.), Women of color and mental health (pp. 194–222). New York: Guilford Press.
Chin, J. L. (2005). Learning from my mother's voice: Family legend and the Chinese American experience. New York: TC Press.
Chin, J. L. (Ed.). (2005). The psychology of prejudice and discrimination: Vol. 2. Ethnicity and multiracial identity. Westport, CN: Praeger Press.
Chin, J. L., De La Cancela, V., & Jenkins, Y. (1993). Diversity in psychotherapy: The politics of race, ethnicity, and gender. Westport, CT: Praeger Press.
Chin, J. L., Liem, J. H., Ham, M. D., & Hong, G. K. (1993). Transference and empathy in Asian American psychotherapy: Cultural values and treatment needs. Westport, CT: Praeger Press.