The Role of Language in Intercultural Psychotherapy

  • Meryam Schouler-OcakEmail author


In view of the growing proportion of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers worldwide, knowledge on the influence of culture and migration on identity and mental health presents a substantial basis for effective therapy. Both concepts of health and disease and expectations about treatment depend on the patient’s cultural background, traditional values, personal experiences and social worlds, all of which are in a constant state of flux. This article addresses important topics in psychotherapy with immigrants in general, and refugee and asylum seeker patients in particular. The following issues, selected according to their relevance and actuality, are highlighted: psychological aspects of psychotherapy, psychotherapy in the patient’s native language, intercultural psychotherapy, bilingual psychotherapy and the use of an interpreter in the psychotherapeutical process.


Patient with migration, refugee and asylum seeker background Psychotherapy Native speaker Bilingual 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Charité Psychiatric University Clinic, St. Hedwig HospitalBerlinGermany

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