White is a colour too : Engaging actively with the risks, challenges and rewards of cross-cultural family therapy training and practice
Due to increased global mobility and displacement there is a growing cultural diversity within therapeutic encounters between therapists and clients. Literature on cross-cultural therapy traditionally focuses on the culture of clients. However, due to recent theoretical shifts in the family therapy field, the importance of including the culture of therapists in the discourse about cross-cultural therapy has been highlighted. Drawing on the experience of the author, as therapist, trainee and trainer, as well as recent developments in the literature, this paper reflects on cross-cultural training and practice within family therapy in Britain. The author argues that white is a colour too, thus challenging 'white' therapists not to leave thinking about and addressing cross-cultural issues in family therapy to their colleagues 'of colour', but to actively engage with the risks and uncertainties of cross-cultural learning and practice. Ways to facilitate this process are suggested. In particular a multi-dimensional approach that allows for complexity and contradiction is promoted and the potential of using the personal life experiences of therapists as a safe, non-pathologizing training tool is discussed.