Introduction to Commentaries on Sociocultural Identity, Trauma Treatment, and AEDP Through the Lens of Bilingualism in the Case of “Rosa”

Diana Fosha

Abstract


The papers in this collaborative commentary explore the importance of engaging issues of sociocultural identity in trauma treatment in general, and specifically in the AEDP treatment of Nicole Vigoda Gonzalez's (2018) case of Rosa. Issues addressed include the role of language, bilingualism and language switching in therapy in general, and a fortiori when trauma or relational trauma is involved. After brief autobiographical sketches of the contributors, organized around each author's personal bilingualism story, there are three separate commentaries: Raymond Rodriguez (2018) begins by elaborating on the construct of sociocultural identity, exploring clients' identification around their native language, and emphasizes how crucial it is to address those concerns in therapy. Next, Yamilka Urquiza Mendoza (2018) introduces the importance of specificity in addressing multicultural issues, proposing that overly broad categories risk cluelessness, just at a higher level of magnification. Taking off from Rosa's being born on a Spanish Caribbean Island, Urquiza Mendoza illustrates how applying the term Hispanic to all Spanish speakers misses the huge ethnic and cultural diversity contained within that overly broad term. In the third commentary, referencing some neurobiological findings on how the traumatized brain processes language, Huan Jacquie Ye-Perman (2018) discusses how choosing to speak in one's non-native language in treatment is not always about distancing and can often be a vehicle for differentiation and exploring new aspects of self-identity. My concluding reflections are on the specific aspects of stance and intervention that allow AEDP to embody fundamental elements, as described by Owen (2013), of the multicultural therapist’s paradigm—i.e., cultural humility, benefitting opportunities, and developing cultural comfort—and to seamlessly manifest them in the nitty gritty of day-to-day, moment-to-moment clinical work. I end with some reflections on what AEDP, with its motto of "make the implicit explicit, and the explicit experiential," needs to do to actively keep optimizing its interventions to meet the challenges of the multicultural orientation framework and to do justice to these vital considerations.

Keywords


multicultural orientation; sociocultural identity; bilingualism; language; trauma treatment; complex PTSD; AEDP; experiential therapy; attachment trauma; experience; trauma; experiential psychotherapy; language processing in trauma; clinical case study

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14713/pcsp.v14i2.2039

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