Willingness to see professional treatment for psychological problems differs across cultures, and a number of factors are typically involved in such decisions. Imagine for a moment that you have recently been suffering from significant symptoms of depression, much more than you ever have previously in your life. You cannot seem to shake these feelings no matter what you try, and your normal ways of handling your depressive affect are not working. You have noticed changes in your appetite, sleeping patterns, enjoyment of activities and work productivity. Those around you are concerned about you as they are seeing the changes as well. What would it take for you to seek professional help for your depression? What factors would be involved in your decision to seek therapy?
When constructing your response, try to answer not only the two questions above, but these questions as well: Would the gender, racial/ethnic background, religious and political beliefs or sexual orientation of the therapist concern you? Would the level of graduate education of your therapist matter to you (i.e., seeing a master’s trained therapist versus a therapist with a doctoral degree)? Would you prefer to see a younger or more mature therapist? Would it matter if the therapist had never dealt with the problems you are dealing with? How would those around you view your treatment? Would you prefer to see a therapist one-on-one or participate in group psychotherapy?