Cultural considerations

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The majority of evidence-based interventions are designed and tested in Western (usually North American) settings, and may not meet the needs of local cultures or communities (Weisz et al., 2013). In New Zealand it is particularly important to prioritise interventions developed by, and researched with, Māori and Pacific peoples. If this is not possible, an alternative is to incorporate Māori and Pacific perspectives or adaptations to existing evidence-based interventions in partnership.

Studies which have specifically investigated the effectiveness of interventions within New Zealand Māori populations are unfortunately rare, and particularly when it comes to infant, child and adolescent presentations. This is also the case with Pacific populations, and other minority ethnicities such as Asian children and families.

It has been suggested that each individual within a particular cultural group may have their own unique cultural beliefs, values, needs and opinions, and effective therapy is based on a comprehensive assessment of these needs and preferences (Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, 2016). It is also acknowledged that religious beliefs and practices are also likely to be integral to facilitating and maintaining mental health and wellbeing, and thorough assessment of this dimension is likely to add to the richness and effectiveness of a particular therapeutic approach.