Cultural Competence In Assessment And Intervention With Ethnic Minorities: Some Perspectives From Psychology and Social Work

Contextual Considerations for Effective Mental Health Treatment of Asian Americans

Author(s): Donna Wang

Pp: 81-91 (11)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805130411101010081

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


To date, progress has been made in attempting to provide culturally relevant treatment to individuals who are Asian. Cultural variations such as expressing symptoms somatically, mental illness carrying a stigma and shame, collectiveness stressed over the individual, as well as the lack of mental health providers have been consistently highlighted throughout the literature. This chapter begins with a discussion of those barriers as a starting point for moving forward with possible strategies to increase the competency of mental health care, stressing the importance of the intersectionality of culture and context as a guiding framework. Specific suggestions are then provided for incorporating culturally sensitive concepts into mental health assessment, diagnosis and treatment. A brief overview of some of the benefits and research findings of certain indigenous treatments -tai chi, qigong and acupuncture- are offered as a consideration for alternative treatments to mental health. Lastly, policy, practice and research implications are discussed. In this chapter, I use the term “Asian” consistently throughout to broadly encompass many groups of people, with the understanding that other authors and sources have used different terms, such as Asian American, Asian/Pacific Islander.

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