Innovative Culturally Integrative Models in Psychological Treatments of CALD Population

Mr Dragos Ileana1, Mrs  Annette  Ruzicka1

1World Wellness Group, Stones Corner, Brisbane, Australia

Historically, psychological approaches on treatment and their validity on wider population have been widely disputed since its first years of inception. Whilst most of the psychotherapy approaches have been researched and validated on Western population responding to specific symptoms from the spectrum, the applicability of these theories on CALD population remains a significant challenge for both consumers of services and the Allied Health Practitioners.  When the challenge around language barriers are enhanced by the cultural diversity and their explanatory models plus specific challenges in delivering, adapting and tailoring Western approach treatments to CALD consumers, the effect can be seen on multiple levels – from client’s attendance and response to treatment to further impact on wider systems costs and sustainability.

This paper will present the experience of World Wellness Group in the development of their Multicultural Psychological Therapies Program  based on a 4-Tiered  Model to meet cultural and language needs of CALD consumers via therapeutic approaches in an integrative manner in order to provide culturally responsive psychological services. The 4 tiers consist of ethnic matching, co-therapy with a bicultural worker, therapy via an interpreter and therapy in English.

With half of the Australian population being born overseas or having one or both parents born overseas, the provision of culturally responsive psychological therapies presents unique challenges in the primary mental health setting.

This presentation will be present the Multicultural Psychological Therapies Program model,  a case study and preliminary research results with the aim to outline to inform innovative and evidence based approaches in primary mental health care for an increasingly diverse Australian population.


Dragos is a clinical psychologist with expertise in working cross-culturally in the mental health, counselling and psychotherapy areas. He is the Acting Coordinator of the Transcultural Clinical Services at the Qld Transcultural Mental Health Centre, where, since 2010 he has been providing transcultural consultation to public MHS and non government organisations across the state and clinical care to clients from a diverse cultural background and with a wide range of mental health diagnoses.

He is a part of the Brisbane Metro South Trauma Leadership Group which aims to implement, educate and train mainstream mental health practitioners and services in culturally sensitive trauma informed and trauma trained care. He is an AHPRA clinically endorsed psychologist supervisor and has been involved in delivering training in culturally sensitive practice, to clinical psychology Master and PhD students from different Brisbane based universities.

In parallel, since 2012, he has been a part of the World Wellness Group Clinic, providing psychological treatments under Medicare, ATAPS and more recently Multicultural Psychological Therapies Group Program, assisting migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, as well as, other vulnerable CALD consumers who experience mental health issues in their visa processes, settlement and acculturation journey. He is one of the co-creators of MPTG Program and Assoc. Board Director at the World Wellness Group – overseeing the clinical program of the Allied Health Practitioners portfolio within a multidisciplinary integrative health care clinic designated for vulnerable population.

Annette is a member of the Australian Association of Social Work, and is an accredited mental health Social Worker. Annette has over 20 years of professional work in both generalised and clinical social work in mental health. Annette has a number of qualifications including Bachelor of Adult Education and Training, Bachelor of Social Work, Master in Social Work, Certificate in Nursing, and Graduate Diploma in Buddhist Psychotherapy & Counselling and is an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.

Annette has management experiences working in Queensland government in particular in the child protection area as a Director for Transitional Placements Unit and Manager for a number of Child Safety Service Centres in South East Queensland. Annette also has significant social work experiences working in hospital Emergency Department &, Community Mental Health. She is the current Manager of the Multicultural Psychological Therapies Group Program and a health practitioner at the World Wellness Group.

Annette speaks three languages (Sinhala, Tamil, and English) and values of social justice approach to respecting culturally appropriate health outcomes for clients and their families with mindful and clinical practices that enhance a sense of purpose, connectedness, with a quest for wholeness filled with hope and harmony. Annette’s aspirations to work in the human services resonates these values and reflects in her approaches to social work practice and theoretical frameworks.

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