Culture Difference

What is culture difference?

Cultures involve a complex set of behaviours, rules, beliefs, habits, attitudes, and values.

Australia is a multicultural country. People come here from all over the world to live in the same society. We each have very different values, history, religion, and habits. We all benefit from living in this rich tapestry of cultures, but it can also create misunderstandings or frustration when cultures mix. 

For someone who was raised in one culture and considers those rules to be ‘normal’, living in another culture that is different can be a source of difficulty and can be very challenging at times. Often people don’t realise how much their culture influences their thoughts and behaviour. It is only when you interact with another culture that the significant differences become visible.

Some easy to recognise aspects of a culture are:

  • Language
  • Fashion and appearance
  • Facial expressions or gestures
  • Food and eating habits
  • Family structures 
  • Laws
  • Cultural festivals and celebrations
  • Art, music, and literature 

Some of the hidden aspects of culture are:

  • Ideas of self
  • Family expectations on each other
  • Social rules around behaviour towards others
  • Personal values and beliefs

What is cultural sensitivity?

Understanding our interactions with a culture can help us to understand what is expected of us, when we feel comfortable, and why we feel out of place. Cultural sensitivity is about acknowledging that cultural differences between people exist without assigning a value to them; good or bad, right or wrong, better or worse. It means being aware that people are not all the same, and your culture is not better or worse than any other culture.

At Balanced Mind Counselling, I strive to be culturally sensitive by:

  • Respecting your choices. What is acceptable to one client may be culturally inappropriate for another. I will respect your thoughts and decisions.
  • Keeping an open mind. I take a culturally sensitive approach, so instead of assuming who you are based on your culture, I will ask if I do not understand something.
  • Acknowledging your values and beliefs. I will not try to impose my own culture or beliefs onto you.

My own personal experience:

I came to Australia from China when I was 17, so I understand the culture shock for international students and new migrants. 

I understand the challenges you might face coming from a different culture or religious background and I understand the challenges of finding the balance between two cultures.

How can Balanced Mind Counselling help you?

During our therapy sessions we will agree on your goals that we can work towards together. Normally we would take a two-stage approach to improving your wellbeing. Firstly, we would identify the problem and how it is affecting you, so that we can work on skills and behaviours that will provide some immediate improvements to your quality of life. Secondly, we would examine the root causes of any issues to prevent them from affecting you in the longer term. 

At each and every stage, I will treat our discussions as strictly confidential.

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