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A Personal Narrative of a Cross- Cultural Experience in Therapeutic Recreation: Unmasking the Masked

Rodney B. Dieser


The purpose of this manuscript is to argue for the inclusion of cross-cultural competencies in therapeutic recreation (TR) practice and organizations via disclosure of two first-person accounts of cross-cultural interactions that ended with premature termination of treatment for substance dependency. The first narrative highlights a complex and difficult cross-ethnic interaction with a client who identified as an American Indian. In this first confessional, I disclose my struggle as a white therapist beginning practice to understand whether the client terminated treatment because of denial or because of the lack of cross-cultural sensitivity by the treatment team. The second narrative recounts my experience with an African-American man who prematurely ended treatment because the TR intervention, along with the entire treatment plan, did not align with his cultural background. Both confessionals are considered in the light of recent cultural competencies (CMHS) derived specifically for mental health services.


Center for Mental Health Services, Cross-cultural Interaction, Cultural Competence Standards, Diversity, Personal Narrative, Substance Dependency

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