There are many benefits to bilingual therapy, including increased understanding, increased comfort, and more effective sessions. Read about each one below.
When a therapist and patient speak the same two languages, they understand each other on a deeper level. Some words, ideas, and feelings don’t translate well across languages, making them hard to express to someone who speaks a different native language. So when a therapist and patient share the same native language, the patient can clearly communicate what they mean, and the therapist can have an accurate understanding of what they are conveying. Rather than language being a barrier, it serves as a tool that increases understanding.
Speaking in one’s native language is naturally comforting. At its core, your native language represents your identity, culture, family history, and so much more. Speaking it allows you to be your authentic self. Studies have shown that speaking one’s native language is associated with experiencing greater emotion. Conversely, speaking in a secondary language evokes less emotion. When patients have the option to speak in their primary language, they will be more comfortable and connected to their emotions.
MORE EFFECTIVE SESSIONS
Counseling sessions are more effective when individuals are comfortable and feel understood. Patients may be more prone to open up and share honestly when they can speak in their primary language. Working with a bilingual therapist can help individuals find their path to growth and mental health more quickly than working with a non-bilingual therapist.