Therapy is twice as effective in clients' native language” Culturally focused services available in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Bengali


If your client is a Hindu, Sikh, Bengali or Muslim then refer them to us because we are a culturally focused psychological practice based on the patient’s language, race, religion and culture. As per the evidence based research below, interventions designed for a particular culture can be four times more effective.






Therapy is twice as effective in clients’ native language

February 2007, Vol 38, No. 2

Print version: page 17

Psychotherapy for ethnic-minority clients can be particularly effective if psychologists integrate clients’ cultural values into treatment, according to a recent paper that provides the first survey of culturally adapted mental health interventions.

The meta-analysis of 76 published and unpublished quantitative studies found that therapy for ethnic-minority clients who received services in their native language was on average twice as effective as therapy in English. It also found that interventions designed for a particular culture are four times more effective than interventions designed for multiple minority groups.

“The evidence is now in,” says study co-author and Brigham Young University professor Timothy B. Smith, PhD. “And it is in our opinion no longer justifiable to not adapt psychological interventions for clients of color.” BYU graduate student Derek Griner and Smith analyzed studies of 25,225 total participants; 31 percent were African American, 31 percent Hispanic or Latino/Latina American, 19 percent Asian American, 11 percent Native American and 8 percent European American or other comparison groups.

Among their findings:
Participants with or without a mental health diagnosis were equally as likely to benefit from interventions. The ethnicity of clients generally did not affect therapy’s effectiveness. However, therapy for those with low levels of acculturation was twice as effective as therapy for those with moderate acculturation. Hispanic and Latino/Latina clients with low acculturation appeared to benefit the most-perhaps because they are highly likely to speak a language other than English, be migrants and remain in a lower socioeconomic status, the authors conjecture.

Studies with participants who were older tended to be more effective than studies with younger participants-possibly because older adults tend to be less acculturated, and therefore in greater need of adaptations to therapy. However, the authors note more research is needed on how to evaluate whether therapists are culturally competent and how to determine what specific practices help minority clients succeed. They also call for increased foreign language training for psychology graduate students.
-D. Smith Bailey
Further Reading
The meta-analysis was published in Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training (Vol. 43, No. 4).
Web link:

From all the research it is evident that culturally appropriate assessment methods and psychotherapies are more efficient in the treatment of ethnic minorities.


  • The APS Code of Ethics (2007), General Principle A: Respect for the rights and dignity of people and peoples states:

“They [Psychologists] have a high regard for the diversity and uniqueness of people and their right to linguistically and culturally appropriate services….”


  • The APS guidelines further state at 1.3 of the Ethical Guidelines for Psychological Assessment and the Use of Psychological Tests that:

“Psychologists undertake psychological assessment in diverse settings and are aware that clients’ language and cultural background are important factors influencing assessment. This awareness influences psychologists: choice of assessment methods; interpretation of results; compilation of their reports; and communication to their clients regarding assessment.”


  • Research demonstrates the importance of adapting the treatment of an individual based on the individual’s cultural background as stated by Okamoto, S. K., Kulis, S., Marsiglia, F. F., Holleran Steiker, L. K., & Dustman, P. (2014), “using approaches that are based in evidence is important, but it’s just as important to use approaches that make sense in the culture you’re delivering them in”.


Okamoto, S. K., Kulis, S., Marsiglia, F. F., Holleran Steiker, L. K., & Dustman, P. (2014). A continuum of approaches toward prevention interventions: From adaptation to grounding. Journal of Primary Prevention, (35)2, pp 103-12. Link:


  • Main stream treatment methods based on Western Psychology does not work for ethnic minorities same as stated by Wash. L. Rev. 129 (1997), One Size Does Not Fit All: It is well recognised that culturally and spiritually relevant alcohol and chemical dependency treatment programs are more successful. Washington’s licensing standards for such programs and facilities, however, fail to address the culture and spiritual needs of Indians who they serve. The State’s current one size-fits all approach offers no hope for improved treatment outcomes for Indians.”

Wash. L. Rev. 129 (1997). One Size Does Not Fit All: The Failure of Washington’s Licensing Standards for Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programs and Facilities to Meet the Needs of Indians.


  • Patients belonging to ethnic minorities often delay seeking help for their mental health issues as stated by Forbes-Mewett, H. and Sawyer, A-M. (2011) “International students commonly delayed seeking help for mental health problems until it was too late to receive adequate care that would enable them to successfully complete their studies. These situations often produced experiences of shame, brought about at least in part by the complexities of negotiating a culturally different health system and different cultural constructions of problems and difficulties”.



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