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Madara Hall - Marinela

The Impact of Culture on Cognitive Behavior Theory and Therapy

Mehmet Sungur, Hisham Ramy Speaker

Evidence-based practice of cognitive behavior therapy has long been adopted as an effective therapy for treating psychiatric disorders. In many situations it is the chosen therapy for such a debilitating disease. Due to its proven efficacy & readiness applicability it has proven to be the 1st choice of therapy for mild to moderate psychiatric anxiety across different life spans from adolescents to geriatrics. Yet; cross cultural differences have seldom been considered in the approach towards managing many of these disorders. Many differences lie between populations & countries in defining what is accepted & what is not with regard to personal interactions. Even across the one country many differences may color the perception of appropriate behavior & communication. Hence no one-size-fits all can be adopted here. In different parts of the world, some interactions are accepted & encouraged while others are basically banned. Thus, during the application of cognitive behavioral therapy, effectual therapist should modify his conceptual framework of action while still trying to abide with the fundamental notion of CBT of exposure experiments. In doing this many therapists may be challenged in their work. While still lacking a strong body of research, clinical experience can provide us with some helpful innovations for successful practice. A series of case-studies are discussed to present some innovations in applying CBT for patients. Moreover, essentials of past research are reviewed & needs for further research directions in the field are discussed.

Chair: Mehmet Sungur, Marmara University Hospital, Turkey
          Hishman Ramy, Ain Sham University, Egypt

1) Cultural Factors in Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Problems
Mehmet Sungur, Marmara University Hospital, Turkey

Societies with different cultural heritage differ about what behaviors (including sexual ones) will be accepted, tolerated or rejected and thus problems and especially sexual ones and their management are not culture free. That is why sex therapists must be flexible enough to adapt themselves to the needs of different cultures and subcultures surrounding them.
Cultural factors influence the way sex therapies are offered and welcomed. Those therapists practicing in multicultural societies have to realize that the importance of cultural diversity is no longer an optional extra. Contemporary routine work demands that a sex therapist takes cultural issues into serious account. This presentation will discuss some of the sociocultural factors that shape the clinical presentation of sexual problems, the help-seeking behavior of individuals and couples and how a culturally tailored approaches, rather than a standard one, should be preferred for successful intervention. It will also discuss whether being a Muslim in a secular country like Turkey effects or changes the routine practice of western sex therapy programs.


2) The Practice of CBT : Egyptian Perspectives
Hishman Ramy, Ain Sham University, Egypt

Despite the long years of development in the Western countries, the current situation of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) in Egypt remains a work in progress. The following Presentation explores the evolution, development, and current status of psychotherapy in general and CBT specifically in Egypt. Beginning with the development of clinical psychology in Egypt, the theoretical orientation of contemporary psychotherapy in the country, its status in the health care system, its training and research opportunities, and its current and future challenges will be presented. The formation and activities of the only official Egyptian organization; the Egyptian Association of CBT (EACBT) is also elaborated with a special emphasis on its training activities and accreditation process of CBT throughout the country. Finally, future expectations and provisional plans for implementing CBT in Egypt are presented.

3) Cognitive Behavior Therapy in the psychosocial rehabilitation for ethnic minorities
Reham Aly, President, Egyptian Association of CBT & Egyptian Training Authority

The burden of psychiatric disorders and mental health problems across the globe is steadily increasing. Despite exhaustive efforts to alleviate suffering due to these disorders, a considerable proportion of those diagnosed with mental health problems require long-term rehabilitation to help them return to a normal lifestyle. Psychiatric rehabilitation is now an established service across a number of countries. However, a wide gap exists between the supply and demand of this crucial service. Even when the services are available, the quality of these services varies. As globalization spreads across the world, the need to embrace diversity and multiculturalism has increased. The inpatient population is increasingly culturally diverse, and requires and deserves psychosocial rehabilitation programs specifically designed to meet their needs, values and lifestyles. A psychosocial rehabilitation program must therefore respect patients’ culture. This is especially significant as psychiatric rehabilitation programs rely heavily on psychosocial interventions. In an ideal world, psychological intervention underpinning rehabilitation should be evidence-based and culturally sensitive. It therefore follows that the developers, providers and practitioners of psychosocial rehabilitation services must appreciate the impact of culture on the aetiology, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of psychiatric disorders. Therefore, if psychosocial rehabilitation is to meet with success in its aims of improving recovery, alleviating distress and promoting social inclusion, it should be grounded in cultural sensitivity.