What I and several others enjoyed most about Divya’s talk was her personal story of relocating from Rajastan and adjusting to life in Britain, a process that has been going on for 18 years for her.
Divya explained that she and many people are In a ‘Third Culture’, not entirely belonging to the Home or First Culture or in the Host or Second Culture. This creates many challenges and counsellors need to be aware of them when dealing with a Third Culture client.
The question, ‘Who are you?’ is of particular significance to Third Culture inhabitants, and is of course important to us all. An exercise in groups on that question revealed to us the many layers of answer, and also how those of us in the Home Culture have more power and confidence as a result of being ‘at home.’ Also, we may well have conscious or unconscious bias.
Another issue which Divya addressed was that of hospitality in her original culture, where a weary traveller may be taken in by a kind house-holder, listened to and cared for before continuing their journey. (‘Athithi Devo Bhave’ -which translated says ‘In a guest resides God’s soul.’)
She suggested this was similar to the work of the counsellor in dealing with a client. I found this metaphor helpful and moving and reminded me of how relatively inhospitable my ‘Home Culture’ of England generally is compared with the culture of many other countries.
I can see from my own experience with people from other cultures that the exchange of ideas and practices between cultures can be very fruitful and enlivening so it was good to be reminded that ‘no man (err… person) is an island.’ (John Donne. 1624)
Thank you Divya.
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