Culture and Therapy

This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click



Through reading Ethan Watters’ book “Crazy Like Us”, we have become aware of how “the experience of mental illness cannot be separated from culture” (page 5).

For more in-depth information about this, Ethan Watters himself wrote this New York Times article about some of his findings and ideas. 



Many therapists now train in understanding and being aware of cultural differences. A therapist that I interviewed discussed a class she had taken in university that revolved around this that was very helpful and beneficial. David Myers wrote, “therapists can differ, and…those differences can affect their view of a healthy person” through their values and perspectives on what a person should see as important in life.



My identified challenge was due to the international nature of my school, there are students coming from a lot of different countries, however, we only have one therapist. Reading “Crazy Like Us,” I’ve learned about how much culture affects mental health. I think that a good solution/idea would be if there was a sort of online database with information about therapists from around the world. People could search for therapists that they feel like would understand their problems and that they could connect with and set up appointments that could take place through Skype or phone calls (of course, unlike a lot of the other projects, I cannot actually do this; this idea is really just a hypothetical solution). I think it would be beneficial for students if schools could invest in something like this so their students know that they have a support network they could reach out to. 



A prototype of what a hypothetical interface of the website could look like:

I thought it would be helpful if the user would be able to filter options by exactly what they are looking for and need in a therapist to give them the most support. The user would create an account where they enter details like their age, school, what they are looking for, history of mental illness, etc. This would help them to find a therapist best suited to their needs that they might not be able to find in their physical location. There are also opportunities to access online resources that the site offers, and a selection of hotlines and text lines in case somebody needs immediate help and does not have time to set up an appointment. 



Do you think this could help others? Please leave a comment with your thoughts!



Myers, David G. Psychology. 9th ed. New York: Worth, 2010. Print.

Office of the Surgeon General (US). “Chapter 2 Culture Counts: The Influence of Culture and Society on Mental Health.” NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.
Watters, Ethan. “The Americanization of Mental Illness.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 09 Jan. 2010. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.
Watters, Ethan. “Is The Rest Of The World ‘Crazy Like Us’?” NPR. NPR, 12 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.
Watters, Ethan. Crazy like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche. New York: Free, 2011. Print.


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