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Lecture 4

Psychology 46-333 Lecture 4: Notes on Cultural Issues

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Kenneth Hart

Lecture 4 on Cultural Issues Cultural Issues in Clinical Psychology APE - Class demonstration of cultural diversity  Ethno-cultural diversity increases in recent years (first-, second-, third-generation)  Majority group used to be Caucasian  Diversity also includes sex orientation, religious beliefs  A major contemporary issue is facing the challenge of diversity  Historically, most models of psychopathology (study of disorders) and therapeutic remediation (treatment) o Have been developed by heterosexual white males (hence a limitation to research; narrow insight) o Have reflected or expressed northern European (Western) cultural values o These theories emphasize an "individualistic" perspective for understanding abnormal symptoms and treatment o Historical lack of attention (a neglect) to life context factors (and this is being corrected)  factors including families and friends and their values o Disconnected client (ex. familial influences on alcoholic treatment outcome) "Rugged Individualism" has been an implicit value  Value has been placed on masculine traits of character  Ex. Marlboro ad with a man on horse Historical principles underlying models of psychopathology and treatment  Individualism  historical model  Internal locus of causality (internal problems) vs. contextual (external; cultural and social factors)  Models of the "self"  skin encapsulated ego (disconnected in and out of itself) o Focusing on the inside (the problem is within the individual)  Emphasis on self-sufficiency (rely on self to solve problems)  Also emphasis on personal responsibility  Independence  rugged individualism  Historical role of therapist  the role of dominance, authority and power as processes that influence treatment outcome  De-emphasis on interpersonal processes such as cooperation, empathy, harmony, etc.  Q: Are Western models of abnormal and treatment universal? No. o Issue is "generalizability"  awareness of cultural specificity Critics of Western Models (Individualism)  Feminist scholars  "Women's Growth in Connection"  treatment implication of feminist viewpoint  Multiculturalists, ecological psychologists (emphasis on social context), anthropologists, sociologists  criticize western models Multiculturalism Expresses the Postmodern Philosophy of Science  Is a new vision of psychology  the postmodern vision  As a science and practice  2 new assumptions: In regards human nature, there is no one universal "truth" "truth" is relative  what is true in one minority group in one culture may not be true of another minority group in another culture o Treatment must respect the unique beliefs and unique values of the culture of a client's family of origin Cultural Issue #1  The population is diverse, particularly in certain areas/cities o Ethnic and other diversity in US & Canada o 20% of US schoolchildren speak a language other than English at home Cultural Issue #2  Incorporating our cultural knowledge into our theories and therapies so that clients from the cultural minority group would not feel alienated or confused  Multiculturalism: The "4 Force" o Some argue that multiculturalism is the defining issue of the current generation of psychology o Defining paradigms (framework approaches) of previous generations have included  Psychoanalytic (1st)  Behavioural (2nd)  Humanistic/Existential (3rd) o But what happens when multiculturalism gets integrated into one of the first 3 forces? o Multiculturalism can strengthen and enhance the previous "forces" Professional Efforts to Emphasize Issues of Culture: 1  Journals and books on cultural topics  5 New APA divisions  Division 35  Society for the Psychology of Women 
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