Abstract

Culture influences occupation as well as perceptions of health, illness, and disability. Therapists are aware of the need to address culture in interventions. However, definitions of culture can be unclear, providing little guidance to therapists about how to recognize its effects in therapeutic encounters. A pragmatic definition of culture as emergent in everyday interactions of individuals encourages reconsideration of the main elements of culture, that it is learned, shared, patterned, evaluative, and persistent but changeable. Understanding of culture as emergent in interaction, including therapeutic intervention, suggests three important characteristics that therapists can cultivate to enhance clinical encounters: careful attention, active curiosity, and self-reflection and evaluation.

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