Title : DBT-Informed Treatment: Cultural Challenge and Positive Outcome among Chinese American populations
Traditional cultural beliefs and values play an important role of how Chinese Americans understand their emotions. Cultural practices such as filial piety, indirect communication, and self-restraint fundamentally impact the emotional expression, socialization, and coping strategies of Asian immigrants. When these cultural practices manifest as suppression and somatization, they can adversely reinforce feelings of inferiority and powerlessness within a Western cultural context.
Chinese American populations need to work hard due to their immigration status, financially vulnerable, confront language barriers, and struggle with levels of acculturation. All those factors contribute to traditional beliefs of building up resilience, forming community, and passing on their assets to next generation. From the Chinese cultural framework, they need to be “rational” by staying in the rational mind of seeking harmony, saving face, and maintaining yi/yang. However, this may also create obstacles to process emotions as they need to “just move on” to deal with life stressors.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Informed treatment provides the framework of acceptance and change strategies that help people reframe their emotional (and somatic) suffering by recognizing how immigration and acculturation intersect with mental health.
New York City’s Gouverneur Health Asian Bicultural Clinic has a unique multilingual interdisciplinary team that provides community-based mental health care and culturally relevant services our populations. For the past three years, a DBT-informed group treatment pioneered a project by running a 24 week DBT curriculum for patients with severe mental illnesses. After describing the context of services at Gouverneur Health, presenters will use case vignettes from these DBT-informed treatment groups to share how patients processed emotions and reduced the frequency of mood-dependent responses, cultivating nonjudgmental thinking and self-compassion while acquiring adaptational skills to survive in a Western country. This cultural adaptation of a safe space using DBT-informed treatment has implications for increasing the availability of socially and culturally congruent services for immigrant populations across many cultures.
What will audience learn from the presentation?
1. Identify unique cultural beliefs and values in Asian populations that contribute to their experience of an invalidating environment;
2. Apply emotional regulation among cultural adaptation framework on DBT skills group;
3. Practice DBT skills training group despite the cultural restraints and stigma of mental illness.