The process of family talk across culture

Prof Doc Thesis

Singh, Reenee 2008. The process of family talk across culture. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsSingh, Reenee
TypeProf Doc Thesis

In this study, I explored the under-researched areas of constructions of 'the family' and the
process of change in intercultural and intracultural systemic psychotherapy. The participants,
drawn from two different clinics, were five clinicians - two South Asian and three White
British - and seven families with whom they worked, of which four were South Asian and
three were White British. The data comprised transcripts of eleven videotaped clinical
sessions and sixteen audio-taped research interviews with both clinicians and families.
My research questions were:
1. How is 'the family' constructed and talked about in systemic intercultural and intracultural
clinical sessions?
2. a. How do discourses about 'the family' shift change over the course of intercultural and
intracultural work?
2. b. What are the discourses about 'change' drawn on by clinicians and families in
intercultural and intracultural systemic psychotherapy?
3. What are clinicians and families' experiences of intercultural and intracultural systemic
From a Social Constructionist epistemological position, I used the qualitative methods of
Discourse Analysis and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to analyse the material.
The main findings of the study were: Firstly, although 'the family' was constructed differently
by South Asian and White British families, clinicians - regardless of whether they were
working interculturally or intraculturally - privileged a discourse of 'the family' as a two
generation, two parent, biological, intact unit. Secondly, the families minimised racial and
cultural differences which sometimes constrained the clinicians from taking the risk of addressing difference. Thirdly, the families associated a positive outcome in therapy with a
good relationship with their clinicians and viewed cultural similarity or difference as only one
determinant of engagement. The study points to the value of a close study of discursive
practice in intercultural and intracultural family work and has significant implications for
clinicians, trainers, service providers and policy makers.

Publication dates
PrintNov 2008
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Jul 2014
Additional information

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