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ethnicity and family therapy

Members of ethnic [Greek ethnikos, of a national group] groups tend to share certain characteristics deriving from a common national, cultural, geographic, and religious heritage. Ethnicity has been referred to as "a sense of commonality transmitted over generations by the family and reinforced by the surrounding community. It involves conscious and unconscious processes that fulfill a deep psychological need for identity and historical continuity" (McGoldrick & Garcia-Preto, 1984, p. 347). Ethnicity has special significance in countries, such as the United States, that serve as "melting pots" for various ethnic groups. With increasing contact between ethnic groups, there are challenges and/or problems with regard to an individual's and family's adaptation (adaptability), sense of identity, related individuation, as well as coevolution. To cope with these challenges, special therapeutic considerations and interventionsmay be required.
  • McGoldrick, M., Garcia-Preto, N. Ethnic intermarriage: Implications for therapy. Family Process 23: 347-364, 1984.
Credit

Definition extracted with permission from Simon, Fritz, et al, Family Process, Inc.: Language of Family Therapy: A Systemic Vocabulary and Source Book (Family Process Press Series)

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