Indian society is collectivistic and promotes social cohesion and interdependence. The traditional Indian joint family, which follows the same principles of collectivism, has proved itself to be an excellent resource for the care of the mentally ill. Although even in today's changed scenario, the family forms a resource for mental health that the country cannot neglect, yet utilization of family in management of mental disorders is minimal. Family focused psychotherapeutic interventions might be the right tool for greater involvement of families in management of their mentally ill and it may pave the path for a deeper community focused treatment in mental disorders. This paper elaborates the features of Indian family systems in the light of the Asian collectivistic culture that are pertinent in psychotherapy.
Culture and schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Cultural Atlas eBook Purchase. Chekki D. Development of a framework of interventions with families in the management of schizophrenia. Verghese M, Uday Kumar G. China Learning Initiatives. Becvar D, Becvar R. Family Authority and Harmony In the Indian household, lines of hierarchy and authority are clearly drawn, and ideals of conduct help maintain family harmony. Although a significant number of therapists practice family therapy in India in government and private settings, the published literature on the subject is surprisingly sparse.
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We Asiah treat guests to our Family role in asian indian culture as Gods. As competition grows, political, social, ecological, and economic issues are hotly contested. Great thought was given to the texture and taste of each dish. Retrieved 12 January Need for family therapy services for middle-class families in India. User Contributions: 1. Therefore, the therapist may encounter difficulties in improving family communication pattern. Be attentive to nonverbal cues. E-mail: Show my email publicly. In the Indus civilization of to B. The language with the largest number of speakers in India Fakily Hindi and its various dialects. Multi-family psycho-education group for Paris hilton sex trailer community treatment clients and families of culturally diverse background: A pilot study. I was looking Family role in asian indian culture clues for purchasing a baby gift.
India offers astounding variety in virtually every aspect of social life.
- Oct 21,
- India constitutes the largest part of the subcontinental land mass of South Asia, an area it shares with six other countries, including Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
- Indian society is collectivistic and promotes social cohesion and interdependence.
- Bounded by Nepal and the Himalaya mountains to the north, Pakistan to the northwest, the Indian Ocean to the south, the Arabian Sea to the west, and the Bay of Bengal to the east, India occupies about 1,, square miles.
India offers astounding variety in virtually every aspect of social life. Diversities of ethnic, linguistic, regional, economic, religious, class, and caste groups crosscut Indian society, which is also permeated with immense urban-rural differences and gender distinctions. Differences between north India and south India are particularly significant, especially in systems of kinship and marriage.
Adding further variety to contemporary Indian culture are rapidly occurring changes affecting various regions and socioeconomic groups in disparate ways.
Yet, amid the complexities of Indian life, widely accepted cultural themes enhance social harmony and order. India is a hierarchical society. Whether in north India or south India, Hindu or Muslim, urban or village, virtually all things, people, and social groups are ranked according to various essential qualities.
Although India is a political democracy, notions of complete equality are seldom evident in daily life. Societal hierarchy is evident in caste groups, amongst individuals, and in family and kinship groups.
Castes are primarily associated with Hinduism, but caste-like groups also exist among Muslims, Indian, Christians, and other religious communities. Individuals are also ranked according to their wealth and power. Hierarchy plays an important role within families and kinship groupings also, where men outrank women of similar age, and senior relatives outrank junior relatives.
Formal respect is accorded family members—for example, in northern India, a daughter-in-law shows deference to her husband, to all senior in-laws, and to all daughters of the household. Siblings, too, recognize age differences, with younger siblings addressing older siblings by respectful terms rather than by name.
Many status differences in Indian society are expressed in terms of ritual purity and pollution, complex notions that vary greatly among different castes, religious groups, and regions. Generally, high status is associated with purity and low status with pollution. Involvement with the products of death or violence is usually ritually polluting. One of the great themes pervading Indian life is social interdependence.
People are born into groups—families, clans, subcastes, castes, and religious communities—and feel a deep sense of inseparability from these groups. People are deeply involved with others, and for many, the greatest fear is the possibility of being left alone, without social support. Psychologically, family members typically experience intense emotional interdependence. Economic activities, too, are deeply imbedded in a social nexus. Through a multitude of kinship ties, each person is linked with kin in villages and towns near and far.
In every activity, social ties can help a person and the absence of them can bring failure. Seldom do people carry out even the simplest tasks on their own. When a small child eats, his mother puts the food into his mouth with her own hand. When a girl brings water home from the well in pots on her head, someone helps her unload the pots. A student hopes that an influential relative or friend can facilitate his college admission. A young person anticipates that parents will arrange his or her marriage.
This sense of interdependence extends into the theological realm. The essential themes of Indian cultural life are learned within the bosom of a family. The joint family is highly valued, ideally consisting of several generations residing, working, eating, and worshiping together.
Such families include men related through the male line, along with their wives, children, and unmarried daughters. The joint family is also common in cities, where kinship ties are often crucial to obtaining employment or financial assistance.
Many prominent families, such as the Tatas, Birlas, and Sarabhais, retain joint family arrangements as they cooperate in controlling major financial empires. The ancient ideal of the joint family retains its power, but today actual living arrangements vary widely.
Many Indians live in nuclear families—-a couple with their unmarried children—-but belong to strong networks of beneficial kinship ties. Often, clusters of relatives live as neighbors, responding readily to their kinship obligations.
As they expand, joint families typically divide into smaller units, which gradually grow into new joint families, continuing a perpetual cycle. In the Indian household, lines of hierarchy and authority are clearly drawn, and ideals of conduct help maintain family harmony.
The eldest male acts as family head, and his wife supervises her daughters-in-law, among whom the youngest has the least authority. Reciprocally, those in authority accept responsibility for meeting the needs of other family members. Family loyalty is a deeply held ideal, and family unity is emphasized, especially in distinction to those outside the kinship circle. Inside the household, ties between spouses and between parents and their own children are de-emphasized to enhance a wider sense of family harmony.
For example, open displays of affection between husbands and wives are considered highly improper. Traditionally, males have controlled key family resources, such as land or businesses, especially in high-status groups.
Following traditional Hindu law, women did not inherit real estate and were thus beholden to their male kin who controlled land and buildings. Under Muslim customary law, women can—and do—inherit real estate, but their shares have typically been smaller than those of males. Modern legislation allows all Indian women to inherit real estate.
Traditionally, for those families who could afford it, women have controlled some wealth in the form of precious jewelry. In much of northern and central India, particularly in rural areas, Hindu and Muslim women follow complex rules of veiling the body and avoidance of public appearance, especially before relatives linked by marriage and before strange men. Purdah practices are linked to patterns of authority and harmony within the family.
Hindu and Muslim purdah observances differ in certain key ways, but female modesty and decorum as well as concepts of family honor and prestige are essential to the various forms of purdah. Purdah restrictions are generally stronger for women of conservative high-status families.
Sequestered women should conceal their bodies and even their faces with modest clothing and veils before certain categories of people, avoid extramarital relations, and move about in public only with a male escort. Poor and low-status women often practice attenuated versions of veiling as they work in the fields and on construction gangs.
Hindu women of conservative families veil their faces and remain silent in the presence of older male in-laws, both at home and in the community. A young daughter-in-law even veils from her mother-inlaw. These practices emphasize respect relationships, limit unapproved encounters, and enhance family lines of authority.
For Muslims, veiling is especially stressed outside the home, where a conservative woman may wear an all-enveloping black burka. Such purdah shelters women—-and the sexual inviolability of the family-— from unrelated unknown men. In south India, purdah has been little practiced, except in certain minority groups. In northern and central India today, purdah practices are diminishing, and among urbanites and even the rural elite, they are rapidly vanishing.
Chastity and female modesty are still highly valued, but as education and employment opportunities for women increase, veiling has all but disappeared in progressive circles. The Census counted only females per males, reflecting sex-selective abortion, poorer medical care and nutrition, and occasional infanticide targeting females.
In recent decades, demands for dowries have become quite exorbitant in certain groups. Marriage is deemed essential for virtually everyone in India, marking the great watershed in life for the individual. Among some south Indians communities and many Muslims, families seek to strengthen existing kin ties through marriages with cousins whenever possible. People use their existing social networks, and increasingly, matrimonial newspaper advertisements.
The advertisements usually announce religion, caste, educational qualifications, physical features, and earning capacity, and may hint at dowry size even though giving or accepting dowries is actually illegal. Among the highly educated, brides and grooms sometimes find each other in college or professional settings. So-called love marriages are becoming less scandalous than in previous years.
Among Indian residents of North America, brides and grooms often meet through South Asian matrimonial websites. Many self-arranged marriages link couples of different castes but similar socioeconomic status. Usually, a bride lives with her husband in his parental home, where she should accept the authority of his senior relatives, perform household duties, and produce children—especially sons—to enhance his family line.
Ideally, she honors her husband, proudly wears the cosmetic adornments of a married woman, and cheerfully fulfills her new role. For many young wives, this is a difficult transition. Death causes the restructuring of any family. Widows of low-status groups have always been allowed to remarry, but widows of high rank have been expected to remain chaste until death. Social inequality exists throughout the world, but perhaps nowhere has inequality been so elaborately constructed as in the Indian institution of caste.
Caste has existed for many centuries, but in the modern period it has been severely criticized and is undergoing significant change. Castes are ranked, named, endogamous in-marrying groups, membership in which is achieved by birth. There are thousands of castes and subcastes in India, involving hundreds of millions of people. These large kinship-based groups are fundamental to South Asian social structure. Caste membership provides a sense of belonging to a recognized group from whom support can be expected in a variety of situations.
The word caste derives from the Portuguese casta, meaning species, race, or kind. Among Indian terms sometimes translated as caste are varna, jati, jat, biradri, and samaj.
Varna, or color, actually refers to four large categories that include numerous castes. The other terms refer to castes and subdivisions of castes often called subcastes. Many castes are associated with traditional occupations, such as priests, potters, barbers, carpenters, leatherworkers, butchers, and launderers. Such degrading discrimination was outlawed under legislation passed during British rule and was repudiated by preindependence reform movements led by Mahatma Gandhi and Bhimrao Ramji B.
Ambedkar, a Dalit leader. After independence in , Dr. Within castes, explicit standards are maintained. Rules of marriage, diet, dress, occupation, and other behaviors are enforced, often by a caste council panchayat. Infringements can be punished by fines and temporary or permanent outcasting. Individuals and caste groups can hope to rise slowly on the hierarchy through economic success and adoption of high-caste behaviors.
However, it is virtually impossible for an individual to raise his own status by falsely claiming to belong to a higher caste; a deception of this kind is easily discovered. In rural areas, many low-caste people still suffer from landlessness, unemployment, and discriminatory practices.
A real good website, with reliable informations. One can still see second and third-century wall paintings and monumental Buddhist sculptures in caves in Ajanta Madhya Pradesh. Oxford: Berg Press, A curious feature of the caste system is that despite its origins in the Hindu theory of fate and reincarnation, caste organization is found among Indian Muslims, Jews, and Christians in modern times. Address for correspondence: Prof. Gordon and Philip Oldenburg.
Family role in asian indian culture. Orientation
Indian society is collectivistic and promotes social cohesion and interdependence. The traditional Indian joint family, which follows the same principles of collectivism, has proved itself to be an excellent resource for the care of the mentally ill. Although even in today's changed scenario, the family forms a resource for mental health that the country cannot neglect, yet utilization of family in management of mental disorders is minimal.
Family focused psychotherapeutic interventions might be the right tool for greater involvement of families in management of their mentally ill and it may pave the path for a deeper community focused treatment in mental disorders. This paper elaborates the features of Indian family systems in the light of the Asian collectivistic culture that are pertinent in psychotherapy. Authors evaluate the scope and effectiveness of family focused psychotherapy for mental disorders in India, and debate the issues and concerns faced in the practice of family therapy in India.
In a situation where the mental health resource is a scarcity, families form a valuable support system, which could be helpful in management of various stressful situations. Yet, the resource is not adequately and appropriately utilized. Clinicians in India and the sub-continent do routinely take time to educate family members of a patient about the illness and the importance of medication, but apart from this information exchange, the utilization of family in treatment is minimal.
Research publications on family therapy from India are also few. This paper discusses the features of Indian family systems in the light of the Asian collectivistic culture that are pertinent in psychotherapy and family therapy as used in India, and its further scope.
Families do not exist in isolation and family dynamics are often best interpreted in the context of their societal and cultural background. Culture has been shown to determine the family structure by shaping the family type, size, and form[ 3 , 4 ] and the family functioning by delineating boundaries, rules for interaction, communication patterns, acceptable practices, discipline and hierarchy in the family.
Culture, however, is not an external passive influence on the families but families themselves serve as the primary agent for transferring these cultural values to their members. It is imperative then, that therapists understand the impact of culture on family functioning as well as in conflict resolution and problem-solving skills of the family members. Classically, the cultures of Western Europe and North America with their complex, stratified societies, where independence and differences are emphasized, are said to be individualistic, whereas in Asia, Africa, parts of Europe and Latin America where agreeing on social norms is important and jobs are interdependent, collectivism is thought to be preponderant.
Such cultural differences mean that people in different cultures have fundamentally different constructs of the self and others. Relationships with others are emphasized, while personal autonomy, space and privacy are considered secondary. The point has been well discussed by Indian psychiatrists in the past.
Any generalizations about the Indian family suffer from oversimplification, given the pluralistic nature of the Indian culture. Such traditional families form the oldest social institution that has survived through ages and functions as a dominant influence in the life of its individual members.
Indian joint families are considered to be strong, stable, close, resilient and enduring with focus on family integrity, family loyalty, and family unity at expense of individuality, freedom of choice, privacy and personal space. Structurally, the Indian joint family includes three to four living generations, including grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews, all living together in the same household, utilizing a common kitchen and often spending from a common purse, contributed by all.
Change in such family structure is slow, and loss of family units after the demise of elderly parents is counterbalanced by new members entering the family as children, and new members wives entering by matrimonial alliances, and their offsprings.
The daughters of the family would leave following marriage. Functionally, majority of joint families adhere to a patriarchal ideology, follow the patrilineal rule of descent, and are patrilocal; although matrilocal and matriarchal families are quite prevalent in some southern parts of the country. While women are expected to accept a position subservient to males, and to subordinate their personal preferences to the needs of other, males are expected to accept responsibility for meeting the needs of others.
The earning males are expected to support the old; take care of widows, never-married adults and the disabled; assist members during periods of unemployment and illness; and provide security to women and children. The socio-cultural milieu of India is undergoing change at a tremendous pace, leaving fundamental alterations in family structure in its wake. The last decade has not only witnessed rapid and chaotic changes in social, economic, political, religious and occupational spheres; but also saw familial changes in power distribution, marital norms and role of women.
A review of the national census data and the National Family Health Survey NFHS data suggests that, gradually, nuclear families are becoming the predominant form of Indian family institution, at least in urban areas. The census, for the first time reported household growth to be higher than the population growth, suggesting household fragmentation; a trend that gathered further momentum in the and the census.
The family systems presently have become highly differentiated and heterogeneous social entities in terms of structure, pattern, role relationships, obligations and values. Such transitional families though structurally nuclear, may still continue to function as joint families. Social and cultural changes have altered entire lifestyles, interpersonal relationship patterns, power structures and familial relationship arrangements in current times. The families are frequently subject to these pressures.
Countries within the developing world are impatient and intend to achieve within a generation, what countries in the developed world took centuries. For example, in a household where a woman is the chief breadwinner but has minimal standing in decision making, the situation leads to role resentment and disorganized power structure in the family.
The resentment, however, passive and silent it may be, simmers, and in the absence of harmonious resolution often manifests as psychiatric disorders. Somatoform and dissociative disorders, which show a definite increased prevalence in our society compared to the west, may be viewed as manifestations of such unexpressed stress.
Therefore, rather than lamenting on the change in societal structure and loss of the joint family, the therapist should be aware of the unique dynamics of each family he treats, and should endeavor to find and utilize the strengths therein, while providing ways to cope with stress within the limits of the available resources. Social interventions with families to help them cope with problems have always been a part of all cultures in form of a variety of rituals, for example, the rituals surrounding death of family members.
Liebermann in Hungary began seeing and observing family members in therapy sessions. Bowen's observations on triadic relationship, fusion and distancing, nuclear family emotional process, multi-generational transmission processes and family constellation forms the basis of the family systems theory, which later came to be known as the Bowen's theory. By the mids, a large number of distinct schools of family therapy had emerged, some of which included brief therapy, strategic therapy, structural family therapy, and the Milan systems model.
Concurrently and somewhat interdependently with the systems theory, intergenerational therapies emerged, which theorized the intergenerational transmission of health and dysfunction and usually dealt with at least three generations of a family. After the lates, the field of family therapy saw many practical modifications of the earlier rigid theoretical frameworks, especially in the light of accumulated clinical experience in treatment of serious mental disorders.
In India, work in family therapy started in the late s, coinciding with the period of increased interest in psychotherapy in India. Vidya Sagar, who worked with families at the Amritsar Mental Hospital in the s, is credited as the father of family therapy in India.
His own writings on the topic are sparse, but he was able to involve families of patients in understanding and taking care of their patients with psychiatric illness, and to support each other through group participation. The similar practice has been followed at all the GHPUs, which have been established in India over the last 5 decades.
These units, though may not be conducing family therapy, are working with family involvement in treatment of the persons with mental illness. Another major boost to family therapy in India occurred in the late s and early s, when the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences NIMHANS , Bangalore started working actively on family members of patients with psychiatric disorders, which ultimately resulted in the formation of a formal Family Psychiatry Center in Early work from the center showed that families could be taught to cope with their burden through education, counseling and group support in an effective manner.
In the late s, the center developed Indian tools for working in the field of family therapy, notable amongst which are the Family Interaction Pattern Scale, the Family Topology Scale[ 44 , 45 ] and the Marital Quality Scale. At the turn of this century, it became the only center in India to offer formal training and diploma course in family therapy. The Schizophrenia Research Foundation at Chennai, which works with long-term care and rehabilitation of the chronically mentally ill patients, conducts a family intervention program, focused on education and coping of family members with the illness of the index patient.
The Indian Association for Family Therapy, founded since , has also been working in the field to provide a platform for private therapists. Although a significant number of therapists practice family therapy in India in government and private settings, the published literature on the subject is surprisingly sparse. Table 2 summarizes the findings of major family intervention studies from India. Two third of the group did very well or moderately well.
Table 3 summarizes the major points of various published studies on family therapy by Indian practitioners in last 15 years, that throw light on the process issues rather than the outcome. Ideally, any psychotherapy would include intake process, therapy proper and a termination phase. Assessment of the family forms an important part of the intake phase and different therapists employ different techniques for the purpose like the three generation genogram; life cycle chart, structural map or the circular hypothesis.
The life cycle chart explores the functions of the family and roles of different family members. A structural map shows the different subsystems in the family, the power structure and the relations between the family members. This can show if relations are normal, overinvolved, conflictual or distant. The circular hypothesis generally used in systemic therapy helps to understand the meaning of the symptoms for the patient and the role of the family members in maintaining them.
In the last few decades attempts have been to develop culturally sensitive tools to assess Indian family in treatment. The Family Topology Scale[ 52 ] is a 28 item scale that measures family types, and groups them into the five subtypes of normal, cohesive, egoistic, altruistic and anoxic. Another tool, the Family Interaction Pattern scale,[ 44 ] looks into the developmental phases of the family.
The scale has six subscales looking into leadership, communication, role, reinforcement, cohesiveness and social support. For assessing marital problems in Indian couples two tools are available: Marital Adjustment Questionnaire[ 92 ] and Marital Quality Scale.
Such emic assessment tools are invaluable in understanding the unique problems of the family in our culture. The therapy proper is the phase, where major work on the family is carried out. The school of therapy used depends on various factors. For example, the degree of psychological sophistication in the family will determine if psychodynamic techniques can be used.
The nature of the disorder will also determine the therapy, like the use of behavioral techniques in chronic psychotic illness. Therapist's comfort and training, and the time the family can spare for therapy are other determining factors. Dynamic approaches generally take months to years, where as focused strategic techniques can bring benefits over a few sessions. Endo-cultural issues may crop up at the initial phases, which threaten to jeopardize the therapy outcome. The therapist needs to be aware of them and be sensitive and considerate.
Therefore, the therapist may encounter difficulties in improving family communication pattern. The therapist may come to an impasse, if he attempts to challenge the authority of the father or sides with the wife rather than with the husband in couple's therapy. Additionally, given the diverse cultural and social background, the therapy needs to be tailored to the needs of individual family, keeping factors such as socio-economic status, educational level and family structure nuclear, transitional, joint, traditional into account.
New and unexpected problems arising out of the rapid changing social scenario also need to be addressed. Family and couple's conflict arising out of factors such as conflicts in families over dowry, or related to inter-caste marriage; sexual problems arising out of physical separation of couples due to job timing or placement; disagreement about child rearing practices both within couples and intergenerational ; conflicts related to husband's role in sharing in domestic chores for working couples; problems with unsupervised children, and loss or displacement of role or function of the elderly are only a few of the problems unique to modern Indian families.
Parent-child conflict from increased autonomy and individuation of the child are common in nuclear families. In recent times, increased demands on children or adolescents for academic achievements from parents, the culture clash with children going for night-outs, parties, raves and adolescent sexual experimentation have been reported by Indian therapists as common issues while dealing with adolescents.
It might be beneficial for the therapist to understand that in India and other similar collectivistic societies, the concepts of self, attitudes, values and boundaries are defined differently from those of the western world.
In collectivistic societies the self is largely defined through the collective identity with family identity forming a significant component of the self-identity. Typically, only in severe cases, the people seek support from outsiders, and even then at the cost of significant resistance from other family members, who may perceive help seeking from the therapist as a measure of failure of the family to solve the problem of their member.
Collectivist values make each member of the family responsible for the behavior and the life conditions of every other family member, even to the extent of denial of individual needs and aspirations. In therapy, this often leads to over involvement, lack of privacy and space for the client.
The concept can be used to help patients understand the process of psychotherapy and identifying one's hidden strengths. He has also emphasized on the use of concepts of Karma and Dharma in psychotherapy. The termination phase summarizes the original problem, reviews the beneficial changes and patterns of interaction that have emerged through therapy, and stresses on the need for sustaining the improvements achieved.
The follow-up sessions may be continued over the next 6 months to a year to ensure that the client therapist bond is not severed too quickly. Indian families are capable of fulfilling the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of its members; initiate and maintain growth, and be a source of support, security and encouragement to the patient.