Cross-Cultural Relevance of Systemic Family Therapy and Globally Responsive Cross-Cultural Training: An Indian Case Study

  • Rajeswari Natrajan-Tyagi
Part of the Focused Issues in Family Therapy book series (FIFT)


Family therapy theories, as conceptualized in the Western cultural context, have been making their way to Eastern countries with the onset of globalization. In this chapter, I explore the cultural relevance of systemic family therapy theories and techniques to cross-cultural social contexts. I use the Indian cultural context as a case example and report the results of an evaluation of a family therapy training session conducted in India. The participant responses indicated that systemic theories were culturally relevant. However, some key cultural barriers were identified, for example, families not accessing mental health services due to stigma, perceptions about who can do family therapy, language barriers pertaining to literal and conceptual translation of concepts between English and the native languages, and the importance of retaining individual therapy as a treatment modality due to issues of power and hierarchy in families. Using the framework of glocalization, I argue for the need for knowledge flow to be bidirectional, with the receiving cultures being actively engaged and reciprocal in the process of knowledge transfer. Implications of the findings include the need for more trainings and supervised clinical work opportunities by indigenous trainers and the need to publish culturally adapted family therapy textbooks.


Family therapy Cross-Cultural relevance Glocalization India Globalization 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alliant International UniversityIrvineUSA

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