Catherine Willner, senior vice president-Florida for Elements Behavioral Health, is featured in Brickell Magazine, which is distributed throughout Palm Beach, Dade and Broward counties.
Willner addressed the importance of Latin families seeking addiction treatment from providers who understand both the Spanish language and culture. Traditionally, Willner noted, world-class treatment has only been available in English, leaving Spanish-speaking clients and their family members trying to comprehend the complexity and nuance of psychotherapy in a foreign tongue.
Add to that the fact that even highly trained therapists, if they lack cultural understanding, can misinterpret or misdiagnose Latin cultural norms. Willner cites the significant degree of family involvement and support found in most Latin cultures as an example. While this is a “positive and protective factor for the client,” U.S. therapists are trained to see it as “enabling,” and encourage clients to repair what is essentially a “healthy and normal factor in their daily lives.”
In the multicultural/bilingual addiction treatment program at Lucida Treatment Center, every staff member speaks Spanish and has received extensive training in cultural sensitivity.
“As a result, we’re much better equipped to meet the needs of our national and international Latin clients,” Willner said.