The South Asian Couple Therapy Project (also referred to as South Asian Couples Counseling, www.southasianfamilies.com, is a program of research that was initiated as part of Dr. Saunia Ahmad's PhD research on examining the effectiveness of couple therapy with couples of South Asian background. This project is directed by psychologists Dr. Saunia Ahmad and Dr. David Reid, who is also a professor at York University, Toronto, Canada. The study involves close examination of South Asian couples during the process of receiving therapy and identification of technques and ideas that best assist couples improve the quality of their relationship.
We had couples that represented a broad range of South Asian backgrounds come in for marriage counseling that included Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, and other groups that fall under the South Asian diaspora (e.g. those from Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, whose ancestry can be traced to the Indian subcontinent). This included people that identified themselves as Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Buddhists. Age and length of relationship widely ranged, and included couples in a serious relationship and/or about to get married and looking for pre-marital counseling to couples who are over 20 years married. Presenting issues were quite diverse and ranged from mild to severe and included conflict and disagreements around finances, sex, children, household duties, cheating, in-laws, as well as instances of psychological and physical violence by one or both partners.
The results of the first study have been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Results indicate that the couple therapy provided was highly effective, and that couples, by their own self-report, demonstrated signficant improvement in the quality of their relationship. The work was completed by the therapists with a lot of dedication and intrinsic desire to help couples.
The knowledge acquired through the South Asian Couple Therapy project benefited by ability to grasp the complexity of individual and cultural issues in distressed relationships,and identify how to help partners overcome these challenges. One unique finding that emerged from this research was how to help couples resolve conflict in their relationship that were related to their extended family (i.e. in-laws).
We continue to provide both individual and couple therapy in my private practice to people of all ethnic backgrounds.You do not have to participate in research and you do not have to be South Asian in order to receive psychotherapy with myself. We have worked with people of several national and ethnic backgrounds that includes European, North American, Middle Eastern, South Asian, African, etc. Our clinical and research interests focus on improving existing psychological assessment and intervention models in ways that are more encompassing of cultural differences.
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