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Cross Culture Conflicts

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities”.

Are you struggling to adjust to the new culture after immigration?

Do you worry about how to communicate with your children as they are growing up with different cultural norms?

Do you often feel that you miss your home country and are unable to find roots in the new country?

Do you suffer from a sense of rootlessness, emptiness, and a lack of purpose in the new country?

In North America, the counseling field has been dominated by the majority culture, which often resembles heterosexual, white males who are born and raised in North America. But it is essential to recognize that people from minority groups view the world through different lenses.

Often their value system and world views differ from the majority culture. It could be due to their history of immigration, race, religion, or sexual orientation. At Scarborough Psychology Clinic, we are particularly sensitive to the unique difficulties and experiences of minorities.

We remain acutely sensitive and aware of the struggles with cultural issues, racism, the history of immigration, and people struggling with different sexual orientations. We always emphasize caring and empathy. We try to address the unique challenges, considering how a patient’s experience may differ from theirs.

Our therapists remain acutely aware of how culture is determined by many factors, such as family relationships, gender roles, the concept of time, respect/politeness, etc. Even living in the same community, people may belong to many groups defined by different criteria, and each of these groups may have its values.

Due to our ease of travel, we often come across people who have different cultural values than us. Our cultural values are challenged when we move into a new culture, such as through immigration to a new country. This can also occur when we may have to relocate for safety reasons. 

Acculturation is a process we go through when adjusting to a new culture. The stress related to acculturation can cause cross-cultural conflicts.

Cross-cultural issues can arise when the differences in cultural values become evident and we may experience challenges adjusting to matters that may differ from our own.

These can present in many ways:

  • the difference in communication style
  • learning to express oneself in a new language
  • different religious beliefs
  • learning new customs and traditions
  • the difference in food and dressing
  • weather-related challenges
  • interpretation of others’ behaviors through the lens of our own culture

We adjust to a new culture at our own pace, and this is dependent on our personal history, life experiences, resiliency, and expectations. Some of us may adapt and accept the new culture more readily than others. The differences in this adjustment time and style can often impact families and create intergenerational conflicts (between parents and children) or even between two partners.

Cross-cultural conflicts can lead to significant distress and significantly impact our life experiences.

Seeking psychological support through Cross-Cultural counseling can be helpful in providing a safe place to explore our history and cultural norms. At Scarborough Psychology Clinic, we always take into consideration the different factors that affect racial, ethnic, and other types of minorities, including historical oppression and its effects on society.

We understand that patients’ backgrounds influence the ways in which they view the world, and we work with individuals as well as families to find common ground and establish an individual and a family identity.