Most psychology programs only require future counsellors to take one 13-week course on diversity, so many counsellors are not experts on cultural differences, yet we know that therapy is more effective and more satisfying when it is responsive to culture. Tom Rapacki specializes in adjusting counselling to clients' needs, values, and cultures. Tom was selected as one of the top four "master therapists" in Alberta for refugees and immigrants in research conducted at the University of Alberta in 2021. He is a strong advocate for immigrant mental health, social justice, cultural competency, and anti-racism
As a psychologist that specializes in cross-cultural counselling, Tom:
- Respects values that differ from "Western" values.
- Is an immigrant himself. Has lived in several different countries and is multilingual.
- Understands ways in which people from different cultures communicate, including indirect communication.
- Supports clients when they experience racism and prejudice, including systemic racism or racial trauma.
- Recognizes that every person is unique. He works to understand your own personal values, not just your culture.
- Works to explain counselling concepts by relating them to ideas from your own experience.
- Is skilled in communicating with people for whom English is not their first language.
- Reflects about his own racial and cultural identity --because everyone has a culture, not just immigrants and People of Colour.
- Has experience with issues unique to immigrants, such as language learning, culture shock, differences in values, and acculturative family distancing --disagreements that occur in families due to immigration and culture.
- Teaches, trains, and supervises others in cultural competency. promotion of social justice, and anti-racism.
In addition, Tom is the only psychologist in Alberta offering an evidence-based, culturally-adapted depression therapy for Asian-Canadians (in English & Mandarin), which is associated with higher satisfaction and better outcomes.
Ready to take the next step?
If therapy that respects your values, strengths, and culture is important to you, consider seeing a psychologist with cultural training and experience.