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Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2004 Sep;50(3):227-40.

Culture-sensitive counselling, psychotherapy and support groups in the Orthodox-Jewish community: how they work and how they are experienced.

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  • 1Psychology Department, Royal Holloway, University of London, Surrey, UK.



There is political and scientific goodwill towards the provision of culture-sensitive support, but as yet little knowledge about how such support works and what are its strengths and difficulties in practice.


To study groups offering culture-sensitive psychological and other support to the strictly orthodox Jewish community in London.


Semi-structured interviews with service providers, potential and actual users from the community, and professionals serving the community. Interviews asked about the aims, functioning and achievements of 10 support groups.


Thematic analysis identified seven important themes: admiration for the work of the groups; appreciation of the benefits of culture-sensitive services; concerns over confidentiality and stigma; concerns over finance and fund-raising; concerns about professionalism; the importance of liaison with rabbinic authorities; need for better dissemination of information.


The strengths and difficulties of providing culture-sensitive services in one community were identified. Areas for attention include vigilance regarding confidentiality, improvements in disseminating information, improvements in the reliability of funding and attention to systematic needs assessment, and to the examination of efficacy of these forms of service provision.

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