University of Hertfordshire


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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)378-388
JournalJournal of Family Therapy
Journal publication dateNov 2007
Early online date25 Oct 2007
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


Due to increased global mobility and displacement there is a growing cultural diversity within therapeutic encounters between therapists and clients. Literature on cross-cultural therapy traditionally focuses on the culture of clients. However, due to recent theoretical shifts in the family therapy field, the importance of including the culture of therapists in the discourse about cross-cultural therapy has been highlighted. Drawing on the experience of the author, as therapist, trainee and trainer, as well as recent developments in the literature, this paper reflects on cross-cultural training and practice within family therapy in Britain. The author argues that white is a colour too, thus challenging 'white' therapists not to leave thinking about and addressing cross-cultural issues in family therapy to their colleagues 'of colour', but to actively engage with the risks and uncertainties of cross-cultural learning and practice. Ways to facilitate this process are suggested. In particular a multi-dimensional approach that allows for complexity and contradiction is promoted and the potential of using the personal life experiences of therapists as a safe, non-pathologizing training tool is discussed.


This document is the pre-print version of an article accepted for publication following peer review, Lizette Nolte, ‘White is a colour too: engaging actively with the risks, challenges and rewards of cross-cultural family therapy training and practice’. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Journal of Family Therapy, Vol 29 (4): 378-388, October 2007, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6427.2007.00406.x, published by Blackwell Publishing. © The Author. Journal compilation © 2007 The Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice.

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