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Mind the Gap: Diaspora Issues of Indian Origin Women in Psychotherapy

TitleMind the Gap: Diaspora Issues of Indian Origin Women in Psychotherapy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsGuzder, J, Krishna, M
JournalPsychology and Developing SocietiesPsychology and Developing Societies
Volume17
Pagination121-138
Date PublishedSep
ISBN Number0971-3336<br/>0973-0761
Accession NumberPeer Reviewed Journal: 2006-04402-003
Keywords*Cultural Sensitivity, *Human Females, *Immigration, *Psychotherapy, *South Asian Cultural Groups, Acculturation, Cross Cultural Psychology, Cross Cultural Treatment, Culture & Ethnology [2930], diaspora, Indian origin women, South Asian women, psychotherapy, cross cultural realities, cultural sensitivity, Human Female, North America, Psychotherapy & Psychotherapeutic Counseling [3310]
AbstractDiaspora women, with origins in Hindu Indian cultural spaces, are seeking psychotherapy to address mental health and personal identity issues within the North American context. Since psychotherapy literature is dominated by ethnocentric Euro-North American paradigms, the challenge to analysts and therapists working in the diaspora is to widen bedrock questions of counter-transference, neutrality, identity and psychotherapy processes to accommodate the cross-cultural realities of Hindu women. This article suggests that contemporary discourse on intrapsychic theories or psychotherapeutic work needs enrichment by multi-disciplinary discourses with social sciences, cross-cultural studies, alternative healing traditions augmented by structural, mythic, metaphoric and hermeneutic reasoning. Working with women in the Indian diaspora implicates the traditions of Hindu gendered hierarchies, the living legacy of the mother goddess, caste structures and boundaries, as well as differences between Western feminism and a feminism formed from South Asian contextual currents. The diaspora woman is in a predicament of options as she is pressured to reconcile and master her choice of internalisations from both traditional and Western individuation paradigms while finding her voice shaped by her particular narrative. Economic, legal and educational advantages in the host country allow options that place her in conflict with traditional identity paradigms. Older diaspora women may carry many worlds within them that shape their marital life, parenting and other role changes related to the migratory reality. The article explores some trends in the literature regarding South Asian women in therapy. It raises unresolved questions situated in therapeutic work illustrated by personal clinical vignettes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract).