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Effective Psychotherapy for Asian Americans: From Cultural Accommodation to Cultural Congruence


Address correspondence to Frederick T. L. Leong, PhD, Department of Psychology, Psychology Building, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1116. E-mail:


[Clin Psychol Sci Prac 18: 242–245, 2011]

Hall, Hong, Zane, and Meyer present mindfulness and acceptance psychotherapies as promising treatment modalities for Asian Americans, address possible cultural discrepancies, and propose to adapt the diverging elements into culturally syntonic ones. In this commentary, we discuss how the heterogeneity among Asian Americans suggests the existence of a wide variation of individual differences despite group similarities. We point out the importance of cultural accommodation in psychotherapy, where the therapist accommodates for differences in beliefs, values, and norms implied in the existing theory. Finally, we propose that the underlying principle of effective psychotherapy with ethnic and racial minority clients is cultural congruence, or identifying and selecting culturally congruent processes and therapeutic elements by incorporating both cultural and individual variations.

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