Counselling in Cambodia: cultural competence and contextual costs

The term ‘counselling’ is often used to describe psychosocial interventions. The concept appears to have different meanings to different people. In this contribution to this journal, we will describe an attempt to introduce a classical type of counselling, ‘individual talk-therapy’, in a psychosocial and mental health program in Cambodia. We use this example to explore two different aspects. First, we show how talk-therapy can be effective in a cross-cultural setting. Overcoming cultural barriers is possible, and
in this sense we want to make a case for a ‘culturally informed’ design of intervention. Then, we will discuss the relevance of this intervention in the context of other interventions in the same setting. We shall also argue that this intervention is often not
applicable for practical reasons, rather than cultural ones.

van de Put, W. and van der Veer, G.