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Cross-Cultural Considerations

Cultural sensitivity has been a hallmark of Jungian counseling. Jung traveled widely and was fascinated by different cultures (Casement, 2001). He believed that before analyzing a person, the psychotherapist must be familiar with the person's culture, religion, social relationships, language, ethnicity, and gender belief systems (Samuels, 1991) Without this knowledge, the therapist cannot understand the clients' transference, dreams, and their personal and collective unconscious (Eleftheriadou, 2003). This is grounded in Jung's wide- ranging interest in anthropology, religion, sociology, linguistics, psychology, mythology, and mysticism. He was the first to integrate all of these disciplines to aid in understanding human behavior (Casement, 1996).

However, Jung is criticized for his apparently narrow-minded, ethnocentric interpretation of people in diverse cultures into stereotypical patterns of behavior (Grossman, 1979). He published papers profiling the psychology of people according to their religion, race, culture, and ethnicity. He is also censured for his apparent sympathy for the Nazis and is accused of being prejudiced against the Jews (Grossman, 1979). Because of this history, some repudiate Jungian psychotherapy as an appropriate multicultural therapeutic intervention (McLynn, 1997).

Eleftheriadou (2003) stated that the multicultural therapist or counselor must recognize the impact of racism on people and encourage clients to discuss the impact of racism on their lives. He believed that therapists and counselors should challenge stereotypes, establish a strong therapeutic alliance, maintain open discussions about the differences and similarities between them and the client, and empower the client's values, beliefs, and culture.

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