Background: Clinicians meet people from different ethnic backgrounds, yet need to respond in culturally sensitive ways. This article focuses on Asian American families.
Methods: Within a randomized controlled trial of family therapy commenced during palliative care and continued into bereavement, 3 families of Asian American background were examined qualitatively from a cultural perspective by listening to recordings of 26 therapy sessions and reviewing detailed supervision notes compiled by each therapist.
Results: A synopsis of each family's therapy narrative is presented. Prominent themes include family closeness, respect for hierarchy within the family, gender-determined roles, intergenerational tensions, preoccupation with shame and limited emotional expressiveness.
Conclusions: Family therapists working with culturally diverse families need to pay thoughtful attention to ethnic issues as they strive to support them during palliative care and bereavement.