Let’s Talk about Cross Cultural Relationships, and How Therapy Can Help (3/3)
By Meng-lin (Benny) Hsieh, M.Ed., Counseling Psychologist in Taiwan
How Can Therapy Help Those in Cross Cultural Relationships?
So, what happens when people in cross cultural relationships encounter roadblocks? For many people, relationship counseling can be a way to identify and address problems in people's relationships with one another. Therapists are trained professionals who have experience helping people clarify their wants and needs in their relationships, and subsequently find ways to address them. Sometimes an objective perspective, free of judgement, can help jumpstart a stalled relationship. For people in cross cultural relationships, the therapist can help partners unpack how culture influences individuals and the relationship itself, through conversations about values and norms that may be rooted in cultural upbringing. This process helps clarify areas of opportunity and orients the partners to focus on workable solutions to their problems. The therapist can also help partners develop communication and conflict resolutions skills to address those identified areas.
Relationship counseling also help the partnership reorient their focus from challenges and problems to common ground and strengths. Many times, people enter relationship counseling after encountering seemingly irreparable damage. It is completely understandable for partners to want the tipping point incident to be fully addressed. But therapists also understand that beyond relationship difficulties is the foundation of each relationship. Therapy can help partners move beyond focusing only on differences and into a place where there is an opportunity to lay a stronger groundwork for the relationship itself, such as building trust and intimacy. Ultimately, relationship counseling for people who are in cross cultural relationships seeks to help them find unity while respecting each partners' diversity. It seeks to help partners navigate their issues in a culturally-minded manner, facilitate understanding and empathy, find areas where there can be compromise, and create a new dynamic where every individual in the relationship feels their perspectives are being heard and accepted.
If all this sounds like hard work, well, it can be. But I suppose there are things in life that are just worth fighting for. And love, in my humble opinion, is definitely one of those things.
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Let's Talk about Cross Cultural Relationships, and How Therapy Can Help (2/3)