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Clinical psychologists’ experiences of cross-cultural counselling: benefits and challenges.

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This research study sought to explore clinical psychologists’ experiences of Cross-Cultural Counselling. It sought to understand how clinical psychologists conceptualise culture in the counselling relationship. The study also sought to identify the perceived benefits and challenges faced in cross-cultural counselling as well as establish preferred therapeutic approaches in the South African context. The study used a qualitative research design. Participants were clinical psychologists (n=10) working in Durban. They were purposively sampled. The researcher used semi-structured interviews to solicit views from the participants on their experiences of cross-cultural counselling. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. The analysis of data produced the following themes: ‘culture influences counselling’, ‘daily experiences’, ‘multi-layered benefits and challenges’ and ‘diverse therapeutic approaches’. All the participants revealed that in counselling, psychologists work with clients from diverse cultures. The main findings revealed that the perceived benefits include the ability to learn from other people’s perspectives and understanding the context from which people hail and the different systems that influence their worldviews. The analysis revealed that the main challenges were language and punctuality. The researcher recommends deliberate policy supported by the Mental Health Act to aid the efforts of clinical psychologists through awareness campaigns to mitigate cultural barriers.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.