Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Steve Earlam. MSc. Dip HE. MNCS (Accd). MFDAP
1st March, 20110 Comments
It appears there is little doubt that behaviour is shaped by culture even when disease can be processed by international classification but the term ‘Mental disorder ‘is an understanding of psychological malfunction based on the western approach of separating the mind from the body, it seems that the western approach based on an analytical scientific orientation clashes at times, with other cultures that may adopt a more holistic view of well-being. The emergence of Trans Cultural Psychiatry which encompasses socio-cultural factors has led to the consideration of some mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia being viewed within their cultural context and Kleinman (1988) suggested that in some societies there existed a strong possibility that the norms and idioms for expressing distress have changed substantially so that the expression, not necessarily the occurrence is more common. Marsella (1989) added that the experience of depressive disorders are not universal and vary as a function of ‘Westernisation’
The view that the west is right and for that reason should propagate the analytical approach to other cultures and societies may be ‘blinkered ‘is plainly apparent and seems to be rooted deep into cultural understanding. ‘Of course we are right’, we may believe, but isn’t it a myth compounded by the fact that it is what we understand, it is the way we have learned and lived within our own cultural cocoon and we must be right and other cultures and societies have got it wrong, and have much to learn from us. We have to escape from our mythical bubble and experience life with openness and explore wonderment and get excited about the fact that there are other inhabitants of the planet who perhaps do things differently to us but that we might actually learn from them if we can deal with our dissonance.
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