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Cultural competency in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: practitioner guidelines

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2020

Monnica T. Williams
Affiliation:
University of Ottawa, School of Psychology, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Traleena M. Rouleau
Affiliation:
University of Ottawa, School of Psychology, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Joseph T. La Torre
Affiliation:
University of Ottawa, School of Psychology, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Noor Sharif
Affiliation:
University of Ottawa, School of Psychology, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Corresponding

Abstract

This article provides clinical guidelines for basic knowledge and skills essential for successful work with clients who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) across ethnic, racial and religious differences. We emphasise multiculturalist and anti-racist approaches and the role of culture in shaping the presentation of OCD in clients. Several competencies are discussed to help clinicians differentiate between behaviour that is consistent with group norms versus behaviour that is excessive and psychopathological in nature. Symptom presentation, mental health literacy and explanatory models may differ across cultural groups. The article also highlights the possibility of violating client beliefs and values during cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and subsequently offers strategies to mitigate such problems, such as consulting community members, clergy, religious scholars and other authoritative sources. Finally, there is a discussion of how clinicians can help clients from diverse populations overcome a variety of obstacles and challenges faced in the therapeutic context, including stigma and cultural mistrust.

Key learning aims

  1. (1) To gain knowledge needed for working with clients with OCD across race, ethnicity and culture.

  2. (2) To understand how race, ethnicity and culture affect the assessment and treatment of OCD.

  3. (3) To increase awareness of critical skills needed to implement CBT effectively for OCD in ethnoracially diverse clients.

  4. (4) To acknowledge potential barriers experienced by minoritized clients and assist in creating accessible spaces for services.

Type
Invited Paper
Copyright
© British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2020

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