ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE STORY: AN ANALYTIC AUTOETHNOGRAPHY OF MY JOURNEY THROUGH THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM
Cheng, Fang-Chia Jackie
It is a common practice for therapists-in-training and experienced therapists to ensure their self-care and ethical competency requirements through seeking and maintaining therapeutic counselling when dealing with significant personal concerns (Moulden & Firestone, 2010; Everall & Paulson, 2004; Spelliscy, 2009; Pope, Sonne, & Green, 2006; Amundson, 2009; Tjetviet & Gottlib, 2010). However, therapists-in-training and experienced therapists have reported challenges and barriers that arise when making the decision to seek and maintain therapy. Some of these challenges and barriers of seeking and maintaining therapy noted in the current research literature, includes concerns of public and self stigmas, a fear of emotion, fear of treatment, confidentiality concerns, difficulties with the choice, accessibility, and acceptability of therapists’ credentials or educational programs, and the actual financial costs associated with obtaining therapy (Dearing, Maddux, & Tangney, 2005; Komiya, Good, & Sherrod, 2000; Holzman, Searight, & Hughes, 1996; Ey, Henning, & Shaw, 2000; Siebert & Siebert, 2007; Barnett & Hillard, 2011; Gilroy, Carroll, & Murra, 2002; Siebert, 2005). Similarly, current research literature regarding the challenges and barriers that Asian individuals face when deciding to seek or maintain therapeutic counselling, have also reported a list of institutional and sociocultural barriers to seeking services (Shea & Yeh, 2008; Sue & Sue, 2003; Braun, Tanji, & Heck, 2001; Park & Kim, 2008; Tsang, Tam, Chan, & Cheung, 2003; Chen & Mak, 2008; Akutse & Chu, 2006; Zane & Yeh, 2002). Acculturation is the process of adapting to behaviours, values, knowledge, and identity of the dominant society (Kim & Abreu, 2001). It has been found, that different levels of acculturation will affect an individual’s level of tolerance towards social, professional, and cultural stigmas, as well as their level of confidence in seeking therapy (Zhang & Dixon, 2003). Leong & Lau, 2001, stated that an individual’s level of acculturation has a major influence on the attitudes towards seeking therapy. It is these themes in the current research literature on the challenges and barriers to seeking and maintaining therapy that resonated with my own personal experience navigating through the mental health system for therapeutic support as a first generation Asian individual, therapist-in-training. Being an acculturated first generation Asian and therapist-in-training, through careful consideration, I use analytic autoethnography as my methodology to explore, reflect, and share my experiences and journey navigating through my self-care journey before and after my father’s death. With the use of analytic autoethnography, I bring together parallels between my personal experience with what themes are noted in current research literature on the challenges and barriers to seeking and maintaining therapy.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
DepartmentEducational Psychology and Special Education
ProgramSchool and Counselling Psychology
CommitteePark, Jeff; Murray, Lee; McIntyre, Laureen
Copyright DateNovember 2014
Keywords: self-care, self-awareness, personal growth, personal development, burnout, stress, challenges, barriers, avoidance, competency, Canadian Code of Ethics for psychologists, helping professionals, student therapists, therapists-in-training, experienced therapists, Asians, acculturation, mental health, counselling, and therapy.