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Jaswant Guzder – Internalization of race and difference: implications for psychotherapy in a diverse society (ASI 2014)

Racialized embodiment of ethnic difference has identity implications for visible minorities and may constitute a development line that runs parallel to that of gender identity with similar progression over the life cycle. Internalization of racialized identity and racism is a complex process that involves external agendas as well as intrapsychic realities. Yet the supervision of psychotherapists and family therapist rarely addresses countertransference or transference issues related to these realities. The social and political context of collectives and groups organizes resistance and openness to a discourse that allows these dimensions of identity to be discussed. This paper will elaborate through clinical examples of how these issues may present in therapy.

Sushrut Jadhav – Caste, Stigma, and Mental Well-being: From Transition to Conversion (ASI 2014)

Caste, Stigma, and Mental Well-being: From Transition to Conversion

Sushrut Jadhav, University College London, UK; Bhargavi Davar, Bapu Trust for Research on Mind and Discourse, Pune, India; Sumeet Jain, University of Edinburgh, UK; S. Shinde, Bapu Trust for Research on Mind and Discourse, Pune, India

Dalit “untouchables” in the Indian subcontinent are largely excluded from full participation in everyday social life. They have poorer health outcomes compared to the general population, and are subject to degradation, humiliation and violent atrocities. Yet there is a striking absence of research examining the stigma of Dalit caste identity and its impact on mental well-being of Dalit “untouchables.” The paper addresses the nature of stigma associated with being an “untouchable” and how this shifts following conversion to Buddhism. This pilot ethnographic and focus group study was situated in an urban Dalit slum of Pune city, Maharashtra state, India, by a multi-caste, multi-disciplinary team of health professionals and social scientists. Results suggest that the nature of distress related to caste discrimination is both psychological and cultural, with an internalization of the “gaze” of upper castes, and spatial-temporal dimensions within which both individual and institutional discrimination operates. Whilst Dalits who have not converted tended to aspire to a sanskritised identity, Dalit converted to Buddhism appear to have carved out a political identity to contest the stigma. The strategies employed to deal with discrimination include instrumental actions and political transformation. Dalit conversion to Buddhism suggests well-being is gained through the development of a dignity that results in a more articulate and political identity that contest existing ideas of modernity in India. The authors conclude that the phenomenon of conversion is not absolute. The paper suggest further research towards an examination of cultural landscapes that
mediate the stigma of “untouchability”; ethnographic studies of innovative movements that contest and invert Dalit caste identity; and comparison of caste-related and cultural-identity stigma, with stigma associated with more formal mental or physical disorders that have been extensively researched. Furthermore, a study of castes within Indian Buddhists may identify more chronic markers of caste-related stigma. This has implications towards interventions that directly address well-being of “untouchables” in India.

Eric Jarvis on the Cultural Consultation Service

“We live in a time of mass migration and of displaced populations and receiving countries are really strained to accommodate and understand new arrivals and it is causing questions, soul-searching questions around the world. Governments and medical institutions struggle to understand how to help people.”

Dr. Eric Jarvis, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University and Director of the Cultural Consultation Service speaks about the Cultural Consultation Service (CCS). Using examples from previous patients drawn from an incredibly diverse population in Montreal, Dr. Jarvis walks us through what cultural consultation is; how it is different from the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) and Cultural Competence; why Cultural Consultation is important; how a Cultural Consultation session is conducted; what does the service achieve; and what the future holds for the Cultural Consultation Service.

Cécile Rousseau: Refugee Advocacy

“There’s still a very ongoing and recent debate…Are you first an undocumented or are you first a child? The shrinking of rights is accompanied by a shift towards the privilege paradigm: whatever you receive from our society is a privilege and not a right.”

Cécile Rousseau, Director of the Transcultural Child Psychiatry Clinic at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, talks about advocating for refugee and migrant children’s rights. What are the shifting perceptions of refugees, what are the diverse voices within refugee advocacy, what are some processes of advocacy and what are its outcomes?

Roberto Lewis-Fernández on the Cultural Formulation Interview

“What should we know about you that contextualizes you and understands you from a cultural lens?”

Roberto Lewis-Fernández, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University talks about the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI): what are its uses, is it only for use with people from a cultural minority, and how can practitioners learn to use it?

Geshe Jinpa Thupten on translating Buddhist sources of knowledge

“In some sense I’m a universalist at heart and I generally believe that any particular insight into the human condition, any particular technique for cultivating greater happiness and overcoming of suffering and making people become more rooted, grounded, and centred, that may have been developed anywhere historically in different parts of the world in different cultures should now be made available to the larger community.”

Geshe Thupten Jinpa, General Series Editor of the Library of Tibetan Classics, talks about translating classic Tibetan texts for the Western world and the challenges entailed in bringing these texts out of their cultural context.

This podcast was recorded during the 2013 Advanced Studies Institute (ASI) Conference on Mindfulness in Cultural Context. The 2014 ASI theme is “The Politics of Diversity: Pluralism, Multiculturalism and Mental Health”. For more information and to register, please visit the Division of Transcultural Psychiatry’s main site.

Brendan Ozawa-de Silva on Secular Practices

“Meditation does not necessarily have to be understood as religious. Perhaps meditation draws upon universal features of the mind and body.”
Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Associate Professor of Psychology at Life University, speaks about Cognitively-Based Compassion Training and the secularization of contemplative religious practices.

This podcast was recorded during the 2013 Advanced Studies Institute (ASI) Conference on Mindfulness in Cultural Context. The 2014 ASI theme is “The Politics of Diversity: Pluralism, Multiculturalism and Mental Health”. For more information and to register, please visit the Division of Transcultural Psychiatry’s main site.

Lauren Leve on Buddhism in the New Nepal

“The structure of capitalism is changing in ways that force people, compel people to shape shift all the time.”

Lauren Leve, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at University of North Carolina, talks about how Buddhism is being transformed in contemporary Nepal.

This podcast was recorded during the 2013 Advanced Studies Institute (ASI) Conference on Mindfulness in Cultural Context. The 2014 ASI theme is “The Politics of Diversity: Pluralism, Multiculturalism and Mental Health”. For more information and to register, please visit the Division of Transcultural Psychiatry’s main site.

Chikako Ozawa-de Silva on Naikan

“Any contemplative practice is reflective of its own culture but that doesn’t mean that each cultural practice is only limited to that culture.”

Chikako Ozawa-de Silva, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Emory University talks about the contemplative practice of Naikan. Naikan, which means “inner looking”, is a secular form of a contemplative practice derived from Japanese Mahayana Buddhist practice.

This podcast was recorded during the 2013 Advanced Studies Institute (ASI) Conference on Mindfulness in Cultural Context. The 2014 ASI theme is “The Politics of Diversity: Pluralism, Multiculturalism and Mental Health”. For more information and to register, please visit the Division of Transcultural Psychiatry’s main site.

Charles Watters – Refugees and Mental Health

“I think having a capability approach towards refugees which acknowledges agency and aspiration while at the same time provides the mental health and social care support they need is the way forward”

Charles Watters, Chair of the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University, talks about his work with refugees. In order to access refugee services and programs, the negative aspects of the refugee experience are often emphasized: refugees are characterized as traumatized people who had to flee for safety, torn from their home country. Indeed, there can be a pressure for refugees to emphasize suffering in their encounters with service providers in order to be considered legitimate. But what is the mental health effect of this? Is it possible to promote empowerment and aspirations within the refugee population without refugees being wrongly considered an economic migrants?

 

 

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