Psychotherapy provides substantial benefits for patients with medical illness. Western-based psychotherapies are commonly practiced by consultation-liaison psychiatrists in Asia. Although such interventions benefit Asian patients, they are limited by their cultural applicability. Sociocultural factors shape the meaning, expression, and treatment of medical illnesses. In helping patients with medical problems, it is imperative that psychiatrists be mindful of the value of culture in their clinical work. The concept of the self, religion, spirituality, adaptation, coping, and defense mechanisms are all culturally determined. This article discusses how these concepts impact the practice of psychotherapy in the Asian consultation-liaison psychiatry setting. Currently, there is a dearth of systematic research about this subject matter. Most studies describe the application of Western-based psychotherapies for patients with medical illness with little input as to cultural modifications or implications of such interventions. The authors of this article identify culturally consonant psychotherapeutic techniques in the Asian consultation-liaison psychiatry context. Furthermore, they also propose general guidelines in the cultural adaptation of psychotherapy interventions or development of indigenous psychotherapies.
- consultation-liaison psychiatry