Culturally Responsive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Over Time

Cover of Culturally Responsive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Over Time (medium)
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Format: DVD [Closed Captioned]
Availability: In Stock
Running Time: approximately 300 minutes
Item #: 4310945
ISBN: 978-1-4338-2121-9
Copyright: 2016
APA Psychotherapy Training Videos are intended solely for educational purposes for mental health professionals. Viewers are expected to treat confidential material found herein according to strict professional guidelines. Unauthorized viewing is prohibited.

In Culturally Responsive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Over Time, Dr. Pamela A. Hays demonstrates an approach to therapy that focuses on helping alleviate a client's presenting issues in a manner best suited to the client's cultural identity, context, and preferences.

This approach seeks ways to explain and adapt techniques so that they make sense from the client's perspective. Such adaptation validates the client's experiences, which in turn can encourage the client to consider the need for change, resulting in overall greater therapeutic effectiveness.

In this program, Dr. Hays demonstrates her approach over the course of six sessions with a middle-aged Polish-American woman experiencing anxiety and depression. Using culturally adaptive language, Dr. Hays works with the client to change unhelpful thoughts to more empowering ones, and helps her to recognize her faith as a potent resource during this process of change.


Culturally responsive cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) begins long before the start of one's therapeutic work with clients. It begins with a commitment to the lifelong learning involved in recognizing and changing one's own knowledge gaps and biases regarding diverse groups.

Pamela Hays uses the ADDRESSING framework to conceptualize and remind therapists of these influences, which include Age and generational influences, Developmental disabilities and other Disabilities, Religion and spiritual orientation, Ethnic and racial identity, Socioeconomic status, Sexual orientation, Indigenous heritage, National origin, and Gender. Although this framework is not explicitly stated to clients, it informs the therapist's work by calling attention to possible influences on the client, the therapist, and the therapeutic relationship.

The practice of culturally responsive CBT is distinguished from mainstream CBT by the following 10 characteristics:

  1. the therapist's use of culturally respectful behaviors to build the therapeutic relationship;
  2. empowerment of the client with an emphasis on culturally related strengths and supports, for example, religious or cultural identity;
  3. consideration of the influence of culture on the client's environment, emotional expression, thoughts/beliefs, physical sensations/symptoms, and behavior;
  4. validation of the client's experiences of oppression;
  5. recognition of and, whenever possible, action to change oppressive (e.g. racist, sexist, heterosexist) environments before trying to change a person's thoughts about the situation;
  6. the use of everyday, culturally relevant language to describe and explain CBT;
  7. questioning the helpfulness of thoughts rather than their rationality or validity (because the latter are culture-dependent);
  8. caution regarding the downward arrow technique (e.g. What is the worst that could happen?) because in some contexts such as poverty environments, the worst is truly terrible (death, imprisonment, etc.);
  9. acceptance of core cultural beliefs (rather than challenging them);
  10. culturally congruent homework developed in collaboration with the client to assess progress throughout therapy.

Problems are conceptualized in two main categories. The first category consists of those for which the stress can be decreased by taking some action, summarized as the CLASS actions:

  • Changing something in one's environment that directly changes the problem;
  • Learning new information, a skill or hobby that helps or distracts one from the problem;
  • Assertiveness, conflict resolution and other communication skills that decrease relationship stress;
  • Social support; and
  • Self-care activities (emotional, physical and spiritual).

The second category of problems consists of those for which the stress comes from inside the person. For this type of stress, the therapist helps the client change unhelpful thoughts to more helpful and empowering ones.

The thought-change process is a collaborative one in which the therapist helps the client move away from rigid, judgmental self talk to a more compassionate internal voice. Weekly homework assignments enable the therapist and client to assess how well therapy is working.

About the Therapist

Dr. Pamela A. Hays holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Hawaii, a BA in psychology from New Mexico State University, and a certificate in French from La Sorbonne in Paris, France.

From 1987 through 1988, she served as a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of Rochester's School of Medicine in Rochester, New York. From 1989 through 2000, she worked as core faculty member of the graduate psychology program at Antioch University in Seattle, Washington. Since 2000, she has worked in community mental health and private practice in rural Alaska.

Her research has included work with Tunisian women in North Africa, and Vietnamese, Lao, and Cambodian people in the United States.

She is coeditor with Gayle Iwamasa of the book Culturally Responsive Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy: Assessment, Practice, and Supervision (2006); author of the second edition of Addressing Cultural Complexities in Practice: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Therapy (2008); and author of Connecting Across Cultures: The Helper's Toolkit (2013).

She is a licensed psychologist who currently works in private practice in Soldotna, Alaska, and part-time as a supervisor for the Kenaitze Tribe. She continues as adjunct at Antioch University and teaches workshops internationally.

Suggested Readings
  • Chen, S. W. H., & Davenport, D. S. (2005). Cognitive-behavioral therapy with Chinese-American clients: Cautions and modifications. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 42, 101–110.
  • Cognitive & Behavioral Practice, Special Series: Culturally responsive cognitive and behavioral practice with Latino families, 17, 154–202.
  • Hays, P. A. (2009). Integrating evidence-based practice, cognitive-behavior therapy, and multicultural therapy: Ten steps for culturally competent practice. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 40, 354–360.
  • Hays, P. A. (2013). Connecting across cultures: The helper's toolkit. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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