Do General Treatment Guidelines for Asian American Families Have Applications to Specify Ethnic Groups? The Case of Culturally-Competent Therapy with Korean Americans


Korean American, Asian American, marriage and family therapy, cultural competence


To serve Korean American families effectively, marriage and family therapists need to develop a level of cultural competence. This context analysis of the relevant treatment literature was conducted to discover the most common expert recommendations for family therapy with Asian Americans and to examine their application to Korean Americans. Eleven specific guidelines were generated: Assess support systems, assess immigration history, establish professional credibility, provide role induction, facilitate “saving face,” accept somatic complaints, be present/problem focused, be directive, respect family structure, be nonconfrontational, and provide positive reframes. Empirical support (clinical and nonclinical research) and conceptual support for each guidelines are discussed, and conclusions are reached regarding culturally competent therapy with Korean American families.

Original Publication Citation

*Kim, Y.-K., Bean, R. A., & Harper, J. M. (2004). Do general treatment guidelines for Asian American families have applications to specific ethnic groups? The case of culturally-competent therapy with Korean Americans. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30(3), 359-372.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Marital and Family Therapy




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor