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Culture, Ethnicity, and Mental Illness

Edited by Albert C. Gaw, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-359-9
  • Item #8359

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In recent years there has been a greater recognition of how cultural concepts, values, and beliefs influence the way mental symptoms are expressed, how individuals and their families respond to mental distresses and to psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, and how mental health care is delivered community-wide.

This comprehensive, clinically oriented volume examines the expression and treatment of mental illness in the context of culture. Written by 35 international experts in the field, Culture, Ethnicity, and Mental Illness covers the areas of the clinical encounter in which culture plays a prominent role, including psychiatric epidemiology, psychotherapy, culture-bound syndromes, and psychiatric assessment.

Culture, Ethnicity, and Mental Illness provides a cultural framework in the psychiatric care of a variety of groups in the United States, including African Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Hispanics, women, elderly people, and gay men and lesbians. There is also a chapter dealing with the impact of AIDS among minorities. Eight glossaries of ethnic terms, including foreign language characters, are included.


  • Preface.

    Cultural Matrices of the Psychiatric Encounter.

    Culture in clinical psychiatry. Psychiatric epidemiology. Culture-bound syndromes. Cross-cultural psychotherapy. Cross-cultural psychiatric assessment.

    Culture and Clinical Care.

    Psychiatric care of African Americans. Separation and loss in African American children: clinical perspectives. Psychiatric care of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Psychiatric care of Chinese Americans. Psychiatric care of Indochinese Americans. Psychiatric care of Japanese Americans. Psychiatric care of Korean Americans. Psychiatric care of Philipino Americans. Ethnopsychopharmacology. Psychiatric care of Mexican Americans. Psychiatric care of Puerto Ricans. Culture and psychiatric care of women. Psychiatric care of ethnic elders. Cultural considerations in the psychiatric care of gay men and lesbians. The mental health impact of AIDS on ethnic minorities. Glossaries of ethnic terms. Index.

About the Authors

Albert C. Gaw, M.D., is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California in San Francisco, California. Dr. Gaw also serves as the Medical Director for Long Term Care at the Community Mental Health Services of the Department of Public Health for the City and County of San Francisco. He further works as the Medical Director of the San Francisco Mental Health Rehabilitation Facility of San Francisco General Hospital for the Community Health Network of San Francisco of the Department of Public Health for the City and County of San Francisco.

The book is an excellent resource of postgraduate training in clinical psychiatry and related areas. It is essential reading for mental health providers of culturally diverse psychiatric populations.—Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

Culture, Ethnicity, and Mental Illness seems particularly useful for practicing psychiatrists. This book would also be useful as a text to teach clinical applications of cultural psychiatry to residents. Mental health professionals of various disciplinary backgrounds would also find it helpful. One might imagine seeing an Asian patient in a community mental health center or in private practice for a diagnostic evaluation. On completing the initial assessment and formulating a treatment plan, the clinician may benefit from turning to this text to expand and refine his or her thinking and grow wiser for the next patient who comes along.—American Journal of Psychiatry

This is an invaluable volume that should serve the clinical community well. It provides a clearly organized, broad view of the ways that culture enters the consulting room. It leaves the reader far more informed and reflective about this very important issue in mental health theory and practice.—Psychoanalytic Books

Rarely does such an impressive pioneering work as this come along. Dr. Gaw has accomplished his goal of providing a 'cultural framework in the psychiatric care of ethnic patients in the United States for practitioners, students, and teachers of the mental health professions.' The power of this work results from the synergy of a good organizational structure and the use of top clinician-scholar authors.—The Psychotherapy Letter

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