Transcultural psychiatry

The definition of culture by the American Association of Medical Colleges is:

‘Culture is defined by each person in relationship to the group or groups with whom he or she identifies. An individual’s cultural identity maybe based on heritage as well as individual circumstances and personal choice. Cultural identity may be affected by factors such as race, ethnicity, age, language, country of origin, acculturation, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic status, religious/spiritual beliefs, physical abilities, occupation among others. These factors may impact behaviours such as communication styles, diet preferences, health beliefs, family roles, lifestyle, rituals and decision making processes. All of these beliefs and practices can in turn influence how patients and health care professionals perceive health and illness and how they interact with one another’

Read this definition again: judging by this culture belongs to an individual. Being aware of a difference in culture should not be confined to patients who are in a minority or who are not the same race as the clinician. Culture awareness should extend to all patient interactions. Someone who appears the same as you may hold beliefs that may affect how you treat them, for example when you find out they are a  Jehovah’s Witness or how they make you feel, for example you find out they are a member of a far right organisation.


Mental illness in a patient from a different culture

Link to blog posts featuring cultural issues

External links
— Wikipedia page on cross-cultural psychiatry

— YouTube page for the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry courses in Transcultural Mental Health and Psychological Therapies.

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