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, 65 (2), 133-49

Metaphors as Contextual Evidence for Engaging Haitian Clients in Practice: A Case Study

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Metaphors as Contextual Evidence for Engaging Haitian Clients in Practice: A Case Study

Guitele Rahill et al. Am J Psychother.

Abstract

Haitian immigrants remain underserved in the United States (U.S.), despite their large presence and their visibility, which increased after the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Employing cultural-specific practice strategies to engage Haitians in the U.S. who experienced loss in their social networks, requires understanding the context of their ecological culture and consideration of relevant linguistic and cultural elements. Through a case example, we describe the use of metaphors in cultural language as part of a strategy used to engage a Haitian immigrant with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Outcomes indicate that the use of storytelling and metaphors facilitate disclosure of clients' worldviews, experiences, feelings and hopes in a safe environment while providing them with tools to determine progress. We identify four practice guidelines for intervention strategies with ethnic minority groups who share similar cultural contexts. Metaphors, which are a viable approach to practice, focus on cultural strengths and resiliencies over traditional models of deficit and can enhance access to needed effective services for underserved populations, such as Haitians in the United States.

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