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Internalized Cultural Norms & Therapy

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"How individuals internalize cultural norms is one of the most fundamental processes studied by cross-cultural psychology, under the headings of socialization, enculturation, childrearing, the formation of social identity, and similar topics. Within the early culture and personality framework, however, the process of norm internalization wasn't so much studied as merely assumed. Researchers set out to find core personalities, those personality characteristics that "had to be" shown by all members of a given society." (Segall, Dasen, & Berry, 1999, p. 36).

Issues that were assumed by the founding fathers of Psychology paved the way for those who now currently study the field. As our world has become smaller, it has become more apparent that, 'what is sufficient for one is not for the other.' Traditional research and studies have confined themselves to one population to make assessments for the rest of the populations. Although some of this may be relevant to other cultures, the idea that it may not be is what multicultural research seeks to understand.

The research conducted on a multicultural level has enabled psychologists to better assess the individual in treatment or therapy. Since Western Psychology is so predominant, the ability to understand the 'melting pot' is essential. If someone has a certain belief or custom that is something we are not familiar with, our own perception can lead to an unnecessary bias. An empirical judgement of the situation is valid when there is less bias. As we have studied in statistics, the less bias the more valid. So in assessment of disorders the best approach is an inapt understanding of the perceptions of that individual. As Freud said, 'One's own perception is their reality.' Although he was a traditionalist, in his own right, his point holds value to the multicultural perspective. Expanding our understanding of the individual's perceptions, allows us to perceive them as they want or intend to be perceived.

Segall, M., Dasen, P., & Berry, J. (1999). Human Behavior in Global Perspective (2nd ed.). needham Heights, MA: McGraw Hill.

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Segall et al. (1999) argues that the founding fathers within early culture and personality framework focused on personality traits that were assumed to be universal to a given society, while ignoring an essential aspect of how individuals internalize the cultural norms and also generalized findings from one cultural population to all populations.

There were serious limitations that studied one population and generalized the results to all populations. Although some facts are similar across different ...

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This solution provides a summary and paraphrase of an article excerpt (Degall, Dasen, & Berry, 1999) to aid understanding.