Cultural Competence in Clinical Psychiatry
The foundation for this breakthrough approach rests on
- Culture?The unique behavior patterns and lifestyle that encompass a set of views, beliefs, values, and attitudes shared by a group of people that distinguish it from other groups. Culture and people influence each other reciprocally and interactionally?on a conscious or unconscious level.
- Cultural competence?Clinicians need to master cultural sensitivity, knowledge, and empathy; they need to be flexible, and they need to be skilled in culturally relevant doctor-patient relationships and interactions and to know how to use these elements therapeutically.
- The critical importance of cultural competence?Clinicians typically work in multiethnic-cultural societies, providing care for patients of diverse backgrounds. For this reason, virtually all clinical practice can be seen as transcultural. Even when clinicians treat patients who share cultural backgrounds similar to their own, it is inevitable that some differences exist.
Further, in the medical setting, three types of culture are present: the culture of the patient, the culture of the physician, and the medical culture in which the clinical work is practiced. Understanding these three cultural dimensions is essential to comprehending and carrying out culturally competent clinical work.
This practical and innovative guide?designed to help mental health care professionals meet the new requirements for cultural competence in clinical work?will find a welcoming audience among students, residents, educators, and clinicians everywhere.