A qualitative study of the therapists experience counselling non-native English speaking clients in Dublin

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Leahy, Deirdre
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BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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This study looks at the individual therapist’s experience when counselling non native English speaking clients in Dublin. The views of the participants were sought on the barriers imposed by cultural differences in both verbal and non verbal communication in the therapeutic relationship. Their opinion was sought on the necessity for specific counselling competencies and training when working cross culturally. A qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews was used to gather the information. Five therapists from different counselling disciplines working in varied practice centres in Dublin participated in the study. One of the main study findings is that the therapists who have experience of training and/or counselling outside Ireland have a deeper understanding of the subtle nuances of cultural differences than those therapists who trained in a monocultural campus. A recommendation arising from the study is that access to cultural mediators would be a valuable resource and support for therapists working interculturally. Author keywords: Intercultural counselling, language difference, non-verbal communication, cultural awareness