International Journal of Mental Health & PsychiatryISSN: 2471-4372

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Cuento Therapy: Cultural Attunement in a Spanish-Speaking Alcohol and Drug Recovery Treatment Program: A Qualitative Case Study

The Latina/o population is the fastest growing ethnic minority in the United States, yet the population faces barriers to access mental health services due to a number of reasons. This qualitative case study was undertaken to address barriers to mental health for Spanish-speaking clients by implementing Cuento (folktales) Therapy, first introduced by Costantino, Malgady, and Rogler. The current study was adapted from the original intervention with (n=10) adult Latina/o clients in an alcohol and drug outpatient recovery program in Los Angeles, California. Group members read culturally relevant folktales during a 6-month period. A pre and post-test was used to assess participants’ experiences in the alcohol and drug outpatient recovery program conducted in English and the adapted Spanish cuentos group. An Acculturation Scale was used to assess participants’ level of acculturation and language. Results of the study support that cultural attunement is important when working with Latina/o clients. Therefore, three themes emerged: (1) cuentos were experienced as a culturally relevant therapeutic modality, (2) the Cuento Therapy intervention also created a comfortable nonthreatening environment, and (3) the cuentos group facilitated participation in therapy of all group members.

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