Cross-cultural issues in counselling skills training: lessons from Lesotho

  • Jane Gilbert Consultant clinical psychologist with the National Health Service, UK


“Counselling” in many forms is now endemic in the cultures of the North. Such ways of assisting those with emotional difficulties are underpinned by very specific cultural assumptions about the “self”, based directly on the individualistic assumptions of those cultures. However, other cultures hold very different beliefs about the self, compared with those on which counselling theory and counselling training courses are based. This paper questions the relevance of the theories underlying counselling practice to cultures whose fundamental assumptions are very different. The individualistic cultural assumptions underlying counselling theory are reviewed and some of the practical and theoretical challenges in designing a workshop for counselling skills training for Basotho mental health professionals in Lesotho are outlined. Highlights of the workshop content are described and reviewed and specific suggestions from what was learned are put forward to ensure that such training can be more culturally appropriate.

African Journal of Social Work Vol.17(1) 2002: 123-136

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1012-1080