Cultural identity typically addresses the question of who you are; and is often defined as a person’s feeling of belonging towards a specified group. While cultural identity can most commonly be associated with a person’s race or ethnicity, identity can also be related to areas like gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or even career and skillsets. Not only does cultural identity focus on terms such as the themes listed, but can also be about your qualities, beliefs, and values and how they integrate into your narrative and self.
Cultural identity concerns can come up for many people and can oftentimes present itself in therapy. These concerns can present themselves as challenges towards understanding who we are not only through an individual context, but also as a part of the many cultural identities that we identify ourselves through and the communities that we live in.
When a part of our cultural identity comes into question, it can cause distress in many situations. Having the recognition that you are not able to express yourself truly can be a significant indicator towards the impact towards your identity. Being able to address how these issues affect your identity as a whole can allow you to further understand your true self and allow the expression of that true self. A therapist might work with you to identify the qualities that define your cultural identity.
Whether these factors are related to racial identity, ethnicity, or even spirituality, it can be helpful to address these concerns with a therapist as a way of gaining the ability to understand yourself, your values and what makes you your own individual. At times, working with a therapist on your cultural identity can also help you understand how you can work towards your own definition of specific cultural expectations and even create an understanding of how to walk within the world adhering to your own culture. In these and many other scenarios, you might imagine your work with your therapist as a starting point of filling out a canvas; drawing out certain parts of you that define who you are and creatively working to fill out that canvas with the many avenues and corners that make up you.